Common Signs Your Drive Belt Needs Replacement

Some vehicles have two drive belts, but most modern vehicles have a single belt, called a serpentine belt. It’s a reinforced, ribbed rubber belt that delivers power to your alternator, air conditioning, power steering, cooling system, and other components in your vehicle. Usually, these belts don’t require maintenance, and will last up to 150,000 miles. Of course they’re not going to last forever, and once they fail, your vehicle isn’t going to go anywhere. That’s why you should have regular inspections, and have your drive belt replaced if you notice any problems.

So, how do you know if you need to replace your drive belt? Here are a few clues.

Noisy drive belt

This is the biggest tip off that you have a drive belt problem that shouldn’t be ignored. If your serpentine belt is squealing, it’s time for an inspection. Maybe it’s just water on the belt, which isn’t a huge issue. If you’ve been driving through torrential rain, you can expect some squeaking. But if the squeak is due to leaking or spilled motor oil, that’s a whole other ball game. Oil is the kiss of death to the belt, so make sure you don’t have any leaks, and have YourMechanic replace the belt right away, instead of waiting until the inevitable damage forces you to have it done.

Belt wear

Before your belt fails, it will usually show signs of wear. If the ribs facing the pulley are missing chunks, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. Many belts will function quite well with a few bits missing. But if there are a lot of chunks gone, or if several notches appear close together, replace the drive belt right away – this is just a disaster waiting to happen. If one side is wearing unevenly, you could have a misaligned belt. This could be a problem with the pulley.

Cracks and rot are, of course, indications that you should replace the drive belt. Any crack that’s more than halfway through the belt has to be replaced immediately.

If your drive belt is damaged, don’t take chances. You could drive for miles without a problem, or you could end up stranded by the side of the road. Worst case scenario, a damaged belt could cause extensive damage to other vehicle components. When in doubt, it’s best to replace.


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Recent Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(5,264)

Rating Summary
5,038
126
27
19
54
5,038
126
27
19
54

Andrew

11 years of experience
841 reviews
Andrew
11 years of experience
Chevrolet Equinox L4-2.4L - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Grandview, Missouri
When he arrived he found that there was another issue that ended up being a much cheaper fix for us, when he could have said both issues needed fixed and we would have never known. He did find another problem that will need addressed eventually and because of his honesty we will use him again to fix that one also.
Mercury Milan - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Very friendly and explained what he was doing and showed me the badly frayed belt that was causing the problems

Theodore

16 years of experience
1587 reviews
Theodore
16 years of experience
Nissan 200SX L4-1.6L - Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement - Issaquah, Washington
Super professional. Straight to the point, completed the job in less than a hour. No complaints. Good mechanic.

Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Infiniti G37 V6-3.7L - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Basking Ridge, New Jersey
He was faced with a difficult situation due to unexpected rusted bolts, poor access, etc. but he got the job done on time and on budget.

Duane

25 years of experience
510 reviews
Duane
25 years of experience
Ford Focus L4-2.3L - Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement - Fallbrook, California
Serpentine belt and tensioner replacement. He also gave me great recommendations. He's really professional and courteous.

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