Drive Belt Buyer's Guide
- A vehicle’s engine has many mechanical parts attached to it. A drive belt is used to deliver power to these mechanical parts. Usually made of a rubber-based material, drive belts make use of friction to give power to engine components such as the water pump, alternator, power steering pump and air conditioner compressor.
- A vehicle can either have multiple V-belts or a Serpentine belt installed. This depends on your vehicle’s year, make and model. V-belts are multiple belts connected to the crankshaft while a Serpentine belt refers to one long rubber belt surrounding all your mechanical engine components.
- The price of a drive belt usually ranges from $50 to $100. To ensure that you are getting the right fit for your vehicle, enter the correct details into our search engine.
- Oil leaks, dirt, and excessive heat can damage your drive belt. Watch for symptoms of a failing drive belt and have it replaced right away. If your drive belt fails, your engine cannot function too.
The engine is the heart of your vehicle. It is mainly responsible for converting fuel into usable mechanical power. Your vehicle’s engine has many mechanical parts attached to it. Each one of these components is essential in keeping your vehicle running. These mechanical parts include the alternator, water pump, power steering pump, and the air conditioner compressor. Did you ever wonder how power gets delivered to these engine components? It happens with the help of a very important engine component called a drive belt.
What is a drive belt and what does it do?
Usually made of a rubber-based material, the drive belt’s main function is to deliver power to different engine components. This becomes possible with the use of friction and tension. When the crankshaft turns, the friction between the crank pulley and the belt causes it to move. In the same way, the friction between the belt and the engine component causes it to move and rotate. One good example is the air conditioner compressor clutch which connects to the engine crankshaft via the AC belt. A loosely fitted AC belt will cause problems to your air conditioning system.
What are the types of drive belts?
Although drive belts count as one of the simplest and basic car parts, it often gets misunderstood. One reason why this happens is because drive belts are actually a general term for different belts inside your vehicle engine. Although the serpentine belt is the most common one that is found in modern vehicles, some cars still have v-belts installed.
V-belts are multiple belts attached to the crankshaft. Older vehicle models come equipped with this type of belt. The advantage of v-belts is that if one belt fails, the rest of the engine component will still work. Since it is also short, it is less likely to slip. However, these belts usually wear off at the same time. You might end up replacing two or more at the same time or within a shorter time frame. Also, some of these belts need to get ordered in advance.
A lot of car owners interchange the term drive belt and serpentine belt. In technical terms, a serpentine belt is actually a type of drive belt. Most modern vehicles come with this type of belt. From the word serpentine, you would immediately know what it looks like. It is a long rubber belt that surrounds all the engine components or accessories. A serpentine belt is easier to replace than v-belts since there is only one belt to replace. However, if the belt fails, all engine components will lose power.
A timing belt’s function differs from the two types of belts mentioned above. but it also counts as a type of drive belt. This belt is part of the engine’s combustion process. It enables the crankshaft to turn the camshaft. This will make it possible for the engine valves to open and close synchronously with the pistons. From the word timing, this belt is important to ensure that there is synchronization between the pistons and the engine valves to avoid unnecessary contact or friction between the two. Most vehicles come equipped with a timing belt or timing chain.
Finding the right fit for your vehicle
The type of drive belt for your vehicle will depend on your vehicle’s year, make and model. Before purchasing one, consult your vehicle manual and your trusted mechanic. Enter the correct year, make, and model into our engine to ensure that you are getting the right fit for your vehicle.
How much does a drive belt replacement cost?
A drive belt usually costs less than $50. Some brands offer V-belts and Serpentine belts ranging from $50 to $100. If you are still unsure which drive belt to purchase, consult your trusted mechanic.
Common reasons your drive belt may fail
Oil leaks may be one of the common reasons your belt becomes damaged. Make sure you do not have any leaks in your engine. Aside from protecting your drive belt, oil leaks may mean that something else is wrong with your car engine. The elements, road dirt, and excessive heat may also be major factors in damaging your drive belt.
Symptoms of a failing drive belt
Since drive belts use long-lasting rubber material, it may take a while before it needs replacement. In most cases, your drive belt will need replacement after 50, 000 to 100,000 miles. The lifespan of your drive belt will depend on the quality of the rubber used.
Here are symptoms that can indicate that something is wrong with your drive belt:
Cracks on the belt itself
It is easy to spot a crack or wear on a rubber material. The problem is, drive belts hide inside the engine hood. It is a good idea, however, to physically check your drive belt for damage now and then. If you find any cracks and wear on the belt, it is best to have it replaced right away.
Since the drive belt connects to the water pump, a failing belt will cause the water pump to lose power. This may result in frequent overheating. Engine overheating can stem from other failing engine parts so it is best to have it checked by your trusted mechanic.
Malfunctioning AC and power steering problems
Aside from the water pump, the drive belt connects to the AC compressor and power steering pump. If your vehicle’s air conditioning is not working properly or if it fails completely, try to have your drive belt checked. A loose drive belt may also cause problems with power steering, compromising your and your passenger’s safety. If you notice one of these symptoms or both, have your vehicle checked right away.
If you notice a high-pitched squealing noise coming from the front of your vehicle, something may be wrong with your drive belt. The noise will not go away unless the problem gets fixed. You should contact your trusted mechanic.
There are many options in the market for drive belt replacement. Consult your vehicle manual before buying one for your vehicle.
Drive Belt Buying Guide: What You Need to Know
Your car is made up of different accessories that work together to keep your car running. Some of these accessories need to work at the same time. For this to be possible, your car's engine is equipped with a belt that operates every time you drive your car.
Unfortunately, just like other car parts, the belt eventually deteriorates because of varying engine temperature and environmental conditions. If your car's drive belt is already damaged, you should replace it immediately. Before buying a replacement drive belt, consider these pointers, so you won't regret your purchase.
Drive Belt vs. Serpentine Belt
If you're looking for a drive belt online, then you might have come across the term serpentine belt. Some stores refer to drive belts as serpentine belts, while others don't. Listed below are the differences between the drive belt and serpentine belt.
- A drive belt and a serpentine belt are both drive belts, but drive belt is used to refer to a non-serpentine belt.
- Nowadays, most automobiles use serpentine belts because they are long and continuous, and they drive several car parts at once.
- Generally, the term drive belt refers to any belt that drives a certain car accessory.
OEM or Aftermarket
The perks of buying original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket car parts have been subjects of many debates over the years. When it comes to drive belts, OEM belts are cheaper and made to fit your car. Also, an OEM belt is easy to install, so you can safely replace your damaged belt at home. On the other hand, aftermarket belts tend to last longer than OEM belts. However, they are expensive and may require professional installation. So you won't have a hard time choosing between the two, consider these two things: your car's make and model and your driving style. Never buy a car part just because it makes your car look good. Buy a part because it suits your driving style and your car's performance.
The Ideal Brand
The automobile industry is a continuously flourishing industry, so many people are investing in it. As a result, if you want to buy a new car part, you'll be bombarded by numerous brands that may or may not be the perfect brand for you. When buying a drive belt, always remember this: price influences quality. So, never buy a cheap drive belt if you're unsure of its quality. Always buy from trustworthy brands known for their products' quality and affordability.
Quick Fix: How to Replace a Drive Belt
Drive belts are responsible for running different car accessories. If one of your car's drive belts is already stretched and cracked, it has to be replaced immediately. This guide will show you how you can replace your car's old drive belt at home.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- New drive belt
- Socket wrench
Step 1. Park your car in a safe place. Then, turn the engine off. Once the engine is cool, open the hood, and secure it with the prop rod.
Step 2. Find your car's damaged drive belt. Drive belts are driven by your car's crankshaft pulley, and they stretch across the sides of the engine.
Step 3. Using your wrench or socket wrench, loosen the mounting and retaining bolts on the part driving the damaged drive belt.
Step 4. For you to pull the drive belt from the pulley, loosen it with a pry bar. Once it's loose, remove the damaged belt from the crankshaft pulley. Take note that you may have to remove the other belts to get the damaged belt.
Step 5. Position the new belt on the crankshaft pulley. Then, slip it on the pulley of the accessory. You can use your pry bar or screwdriver to tighten the belt.
Step 6. To ensure that there is exactly 1/2" deflection up or down the belt, adjust the belt tension.
Step 7. Install the other belts if you removed them. Don't forget to adjust them as well.
Step 8. Make sure that the new belt isn't slipping under the engine load by starting the engine and turning on the accessory run by the belt. If the belt is slipping, readjust the belt.
Step 9. Once all the belts are in place, close the hood, and enjoy your car's new drive belt.