Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Long Does a Serpentine/Drive Belt Last?

How Long Does a Serpentine/Drive Belt Last?

serpentine drive belt

In order to operate, your car needs more than just a working engine and transmission. The “accessories” attached to the engine aren’t really optional. For instance, you need the alternator to supply electricity to run the engine, your radio, the HVAC system and more. Your power steering pump provides steering assist to make maneuvering your car easier. The power for all of those things comes from the engine via the serpentine/drive belt.

Most cars today have a single belt, called a serpentine belt. In the past, two or even three belts were used. The serpentine belt connects all the accessories on the engine to the main drive pulley, which is turned by the engine. As the pulley turns, the belt moves. This turns the pulleys on the attached accessories, providing them with the power to operate.

The serpentine/drive belt on your car is a crucial consideration, and it should be inspected at every maintenance interval (every oil change). The belt is in use every single time you start your engine, and it is used for as long as the engine is running. As you can imagine, that puts a lot of wear and tear on the belt. With that being said most serpentine/drive belts can last for a very long time before they need to be replaced.

The lifespan of the belt will depend mostly on the type of material it’s made of. Older style belts generally last about 50,000 miles, while those made from EPDM can last up to 100,000 miles. The best option is to just ensure that your car receives regular maintenance and that the belt is inspected every time. If it breaks, you’ll find that your driving experience is more than a little bit changed. Without this belt, your power steering pump won’t work, your A/C system won’t work, and even your alternator won’t operate. That means you’ll be running on battery power until the engine drains it, and then you’ll be stuck on the side of the road.

While your belt should last for a very long time, there are a few signs of aging and wear that you should keep an eye out for to prevent yourself from being stranded. These include:

  • Squealing from under the hood (this can indicate a stretched belt)

  • Cracks in the belt

  • Nicks, cuts or tears in the belt

  • Missing grooves on the belt’s inner surface

  • Power steering assist doesn’t work (indicates a problem with the belt or the power steering system)

  • Battery light is on in the dash while the car is running

If you experience any of these symptoms, YourMechanic can help. Our mobile mechanics can come right to your home or office to inspect and replace a broken or worn serpentine/drive belt.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...

Related questions

Q: Smog pump making noise

Hi there. You’re on the right track. When the belt is off, spin each part by hand and try to reproduce the noise. Use a drill if you are uncertain at slow speeds. Whichever part is noisy, usually needs replaced....

Q: My car has high miles and tonight it began "missing" and the engine does not seem as "smooth" as usual.

Hello. The symptoms you describe can be caused by a wide variety of issues. If the Check Engine Light has come on, then I would recommend retrieving the trouble codes as the possibilities could be many. Issues with the fuel...

Q: Car runs fine when idling but while driving it sometimes shuts off and I have to wait a few minutes to fire it up again.

Hi there. When the engine stalls out, the power steering and the power brakes will stop working for they need the engine to operate to make them work properly. For the stalling issue, check all of the sensors on the...