The chance of belt failure increases dramatically in the fourth year of service for a typical V-belt, and the fifth year for serpentine belts.
Eight out of ten V-belt failures and ten out of ten serpentine belt failures end up causing a breakdown!
A broken belt is always bad news because when it breaks all drive power to whatever it turns is lost. That means the water pump quits circulating coolant through the engine, the alternator quits producing amps, the power steering pump ceases to assist steering, and the air conditioner quits cooling. Many newer vehicles have a single serpentine belt that drives all of the engine's accessories, so when it fails everything stops working.
Signs of improper belt tension are:
- Belt squeal
- Your battery keeps running down
- Sidewall belt wearing
- Premature cracking on the under side of a V-belt
- Noisy alternator or pumps
For optimum protection, replace V-belts every three to four years, or every 80,000 - 100,000 kilometers. For serpentine belts, every four or five years, or 100,000 kilometers.
So get your belts checked regularly and avoid an inconvenient breakdown!