Types of Serpentine Belt Wear

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There are different types of wear on serpentine belts in your car engine. Learn all about it in this free auto repair video clip.

Part of the Video Series: How to Change a Serpentine Belt
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Video Transcript

In this clip we are going to talk about several types of wear you will find on your drive belt. I have an old belt here which is pretty much trashed and as you can see, the first thing I am going to talk about is going to be cracks in particular. You can see this belt is full of cracks all over the place. The rule of thumb is three cracks within 3 inches on one rib indicates 80 percent of the belt life is gone. This belt is junk; number 1, just for the multitude of cracks on it. There is another thing I would like to point out to you is going to be chunking. You see bam! There’s a big chunk missing. If you have a chunk missing longer than a half inch, a belt is garbage. Little tiny bits of the rib can be missing. There’s nothing wrong with that but anything this size or greater is going to indicate the belt is no good. There is another thing you want to look for; I’m going to compare this old belt with a new belt. You can see the difference what is left as far as life goes in the ribs. You can look at the new belt and see how skinny the depth is between the ribs and how these ribs here are worn off my like a V. That indicates that pretty much the tread of the belt is excessively worn. Another thing you are going to want to notice as you look at the old belt, you see shiny bits of stuff all inside of it. That is foreign material; rocks, road debris, any kind of particulate that may be coming from the engine. This kind of stuff is going to impregnate itself in the belt and it doesn’t really damage the rubber. But if it eats into the nylon reinforcement on the back as you can see, that will destroy the belts. All the belts strength comes from the nylon. If that gets damaged, the belt will snap right away. One more and the last thing to look for is any kind of abrasion or fraying to the back side of the belt; as you can see this belt got damaged at one point and time. Any, any abrasion or fraying is going to ruin the belt. This would not be able to be put on a car that wouldn’t last a few moments. Those are a couple of things to look for as far as belt wear and tear.


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