How to Purchase the Best Accessory Drive Belt
The drive belt is one of the most important parts of your car. The drive belt is part of the accessory drive belt system that consists of belt pulleys, tensioner, and the drive belt itself. This serpentine belt (also known as the multi-rib belt, poly-v belt, or multi-vee belt), is a single, continuous belt that drives multiple peripheral devices in your automobile's engine such as the air pump, air conditioning compressor, water pump, power steering pump, alternator, and so on.
Main Factors in Buying a Drive Belt
When it comes to buying the best accessory drive belt for your car, there are more than a couple of things you should be aware of.
- The Purpose and Fragility of the Drive Belt: The drive belt is responsible for transferring kinetic energy from the crankshaft to various components of the car. It's also the likeliest part to fail in a drive belt system. It typically wears out between 35,000 to 50,000 miles. If your drive belt is full of stripping, concentrated wear in various spots, and cracks, then it's about time to buy a new one before it altogether snaps.
- Tight Grips and Polyester Cords: High-quality drive belts are typically made of polyester cords that ensure it has a longer life span that most other serpentine belts out there. It should also be made of bottom cogs to provide maximum grip and flexibility required for the arduous task of crankshaft kinetic energy transfer. Look for a belt with a raw edge belt design with superior gripping power and highly engineered rubber compounds that are heat-resistant and can prevent ozone deterioration.
- Noise Reduction and Misalignment Protection: It's also preferable for you to search for serpentine belts that have a "W" profile rib to conform to any slight misalignments to avoid potential belt noise as well as wear and tear. There are also belts made with noise-resistant aramid fibers embedded right into the rubber to ensure quiet operation even when running with misaligned or worn pulleys. The quieter the belt, the longer it lasts.
- Get the Right Size and Fit by Specs: Research on the compromised drive belt you're replacing from your dealership in order to match its specs with any non-vehicle-specific drive belt you're buying through an online distributor. Check the degrees of the drive belt angle, depth, effective length, outside circumference, inside circumference, and top width. Otherwise, get the product number or ID of your drive belt and start hunting for an OEM replacement instead.
- Replace the Belt as Part of a Comprehensive Update: Aside from replacing your serpentine belt, it might be time to replace all gasket adhesives and gaskets as well. By doing multiple replacements at once, it's easier to keep up when you've done replacements. In particular, you might want to have the rest of your accessory drive belt components checked out, from the pulleys to the tensioner, to ensure that the whole system is working like clockwork when all is said and done.
Shopping for a drive belt isn't a walk in the park, but the fact that there are many considerations and features to look out for should help a lot in narrowing down your search. Even if you're merely looking for an OEM drive belt duplicate replacement of the part you've lost, it helps to know what a healthy and brand new belt is capable of so that you can avoid getting gypped by a substandard product.