Serpentine Belt


#1

So, I had someone at work ask me today how long serpentine belts last. I honestly didn’t know what to tell him other than googling it. He found this on google: “2005 and newer vehicles have serpentine belts made of a superior product (EPDM – ethylene propylene diene monomer) that can last the life of the vehicle” Is this a true statement? I know my wife’s Acura has 120k on it and we have yet to change the belt (still looks good, is quiet, and the tension is tight).

So, at what mileage are you all finding that these need to be replaced on the newer cars? My manual doesn’t state anything about a “time” to replace them, and thought I would see when you’ve been seeing problems with them.


#2

My newer cars state to “check” the belt at certain intervals. I am not sure about them lasting the “life of the car” (Define the life of a vehicle!). On my 2005 Camry, I changed the original belt at 60K Miles mostly because I could see very fine cracks. I put a belt of better quality, but changed it again at 140K miles. Being stuck with a broken belt at 2 AM somewhere out in the boonies is not fun.


#3

I never buy into the lifetime angle that is applied to many parts or lubricants.
Extremes of heat and cold, oil and coolant leaks or vapors, tensioner bearing wear, wobbly harmonic balancer, worn water pump if applicable, etc all play a part in belt longevity.

When a belt looks glassy or starts developing a lot of substantial cracks in it then it’s time for the belt to go.
Some people luck out by motoring on; others are sitting on the side of the road at midnight in the middle of nowhere reconsidering that “lifetime” belt statement.


#4

I agree, guys! To check the belt, do you look for cracks on the underside of the belt (part that makes contact with the pulley’s)? Can you check the side facing you for cracks, or will that not reveal any?


#5

I just change mine out anywhere around 40K or so. I changed our Acura belt out at about 40K. Its not something you want to mess with on the road so I’d rather do it on my terms. Suit yourself though for the $70 to even have someone else do it.


#6

I used to replace belts but now my coworkers replace them well before necessary. They generally convince customers to replace the belt due to insignificant cracks.

$70 for new belts sounds like a unique situation. Some techs try to get one hour labor to replace the belt, easy money, (1/2 an hour is plenty). That is $100 plus in labor plus up to $60 for the belt.

EPDM belts are intended to last 10 years/150,000 miles and they do. I have not seen a vehicle towed in in the last ten years with a broken belt and before that belt problems were usually caused by tensioner or idler pulley failures.

If you plan to keep the vehicle for ten more years replace the belts, if you only have a short time left don’t worry about it.


#7

Quality belts do have a long lifespan. Much of the reason for this is the adoption of the pulley systems on vehicles…they are much more forgiving and conducive to long low wearing belts. The days of V-Belts are over and for good reason…those belts wore out and snapped all the time…they would even erode themselves down further and further into the “V” till they were like dental floss. New systems use nice flat ribbed pulleys n belts.

I don’t adhere to any schedule…just visual checks. Just inspect what the belt looks like and change when its looks cracked or glazed…even glazing doesnt happen much anymore…lol. LOL Im getting old. Anyway, I’ve never had a belt failure in any modern vehicle.

Blackbird


#8

A lifetime serpentine belt does not exist.


#9

I would have to agree…no doubt. Depends what “lifetime” means to you. We all know people or machines that didn’t live out their convention of a “Lifetime”. Lifetime to some car users is 5 yrs and in that example the belt would be ready to have lunch at that point in time…with plenty of life left to make it to dinner.

Blackbird


#10

I’ve change a couple at 80K miles that looked OK but I didn’t want to push it and stand myself or my wife. They are cheap, just replace it for piece of mind.


#11

I try to play safe by changing mine at the 90k service.


#12

If you have a timing belt, just change both together. Usually at about 100k


#13

Takes 20 Bucks And 2 Minutes To Change The Belt On My GM Cars. I Change Mine When They Still Look Good At 100K.
CSA


#14

You can’t determine if a EPDM serpentine belt requires replacement by looking for cracks, chunking, or glazing

http://www.gates.com/products/automotive/tools-and-sales-aids/belt-wear-diagnosis/neoprene-vs-epdm-belts

If you look to the right of the page, you’ll see a belt wear gauge that some parts stores give away for free.

That’s the proper way to check for belt wear.

Tester


#15

At my age most things will last me a lifetime.


#16

Ditto. After two myocardial infarctions, “a lifetime” takes on a whole new meaning. :smile:


#17

Jman136 ;
When in doubt , replace it.
It’s just that easy and you could have been finished with that job by the time we all posted.

— I waited too long ! —
2008 Ford Expedition 5.4l 3v.
Belt continued to look good at each oil change.
One day while driving down 66 ( a year ago ), the A/C compressor cylcled ‘on’ during acceleration high rpm, and that extra split second of resistance seems to have caused the belt to jump over a couple ribs.

  • those jumped ribs soon got sliced off and that spaghetti got wound up in the remaining belt and pulleys and shredded the entire belt.
  • soon I had all the warning lights on and no power steering as I wrestled it to the Albertson’s parking lot. Knowing what just happened, I popped the hood to see what damage was done from a shredded belt.
  • I had to splice repair the harness to the fan clutch but other than that it only needed only a new belt. . . and, as fate would have it, the Albertson’s I spoke of is in the same shopping center as . . O’Relley’s !

#18

The belt on my Matrix started squeaking at 27K miles and 5 years.
A common problem with this model due to poor quality of the OEM belt.
Replaced with a Goodyear Gatorback that’s been good for 29K miles and 5 years so far.


#19

Let’s say someone replaces the OEM belt at 70,000 miles with the EPDM belt. The belt is maybe 5 years old. Most people will have sold the vehicle long before 15 years or 220,000 miles pass by. For the guy that buys the belt, it is a once in a lifetime purchase.


#20

I replaced the belt on my Toyota at 52,000 miles as it showed some cracks. Cost me all of $42.50. Now I’m good for at least another 50,000 miles.