How Long Does a Serpentine/Drive Belt Last?

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.


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Recent Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(4,523)

Rating Summary
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4,323
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Andrian

32 years of experience
184 reviews
Andrian
32 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz S550 - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Hollywood, Florida
Adrian is the Best! Should call him big smooth. He came out and got the job done. He was also quick and did everything i request. Master Mechanic!!! Would defintley recommend for Mercedes s550 or any car. This guy knows his stuff. J.L (Mercedes S-550)
Hyundai Tiburon - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Hollywood, Florida
Adrian was extremely professional and courteous. He took care of everything quickly and was a pleasure to work with

Adam

17 years of experience
88 reviews
Adam
17 years of experience
Buick Rendezvous - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Car repairs can be stressful and confusing, Adam explanations and recommendations were very professional.
Jeep Wrangler - Serpentine/Drive Belt - West Palm Beach, Florida
Adam was knowledgeable, courteous, and professional. The overheating issue w/ my Jeep has been corrected.

Christopher

10 years of experience
73 reviews
Christopher
10 years of experience
Toyota Corolla - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Cypress, Texas
Christopher was here for about 2 hours and he did quite a bit of work. The worksite was left clean, which was much to my liking. He had to change out the transmission oil and engine oil in my Mother's car. Who would have known that you could have this done in your own garage, with no mess or hassle.
Jeep Wrangler - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Katy, Texas
Chris really went out of his way to get my Jeep back on the road. He had to order a part and even though the scheduling system had me waiting almost a week for him to return, he actually showed up the next day! Great service, great communication!

Jonathan

26 years of experience
26 reviews
Jonathan
26 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Marietta, Georgia
Ward showed up on time and completed an overly complicated (Due to design and engine room workspace) drive belt swap out on my Hyundai Sonata in a reasonable amount of time.He answered all questions I had well,even about auto repair issues not necessarily related to the drive belt.Thanks to Ward and his young son helper for coming out in the early evening darkness (Equipped with headband flashlight) to do this job.
Hyundai Genesis - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Roswell, Georgia
Diagnose the problem and came back the next day to replaced my alternator. I did not have to leave the house.

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