Whether you’ve given yourself an education in auto mechanics or you’ve just taken the time to read your car’s logbook, you’re probably aware of the importance of the drive belt in your car. A crucial component, you simply won’t be able to drive without it.
Like many parts, it’s designed to wear but be a relatively cheap replacement. But is it something the average driver needs to worry about? In this blog, we explain what your drive belt is for, how it fails, and how often you need to think about replacing it. Read on and take the right steps to keep your car on the road.
Built to last
The drive belt is a thick belt of rubber that drives the multiple accessories in your car’s engine. It’s responsible for keeping everything form the alternator to your power steering, your water pump, your air conditioner and more running smoothly, transferring energy from the engine’s crankshaft to other parts of vehicle. Built from high durability rubber or polymer, often with high-strength fibres such as Kevlar embedded in them, they’re not the easiest thing in the world to break. Most drive belts have multiple channels in them as this increases the surface area and grip of the belt. The old “V” shaped belt is almost part of automotive history.
Not an every-six-months thing
That said, the high-pressure, high-speed environment of a modern automotive engine will eventually wear down even the most advanced belt. But it won’t be something you’ll see on your mechanic’s bill every service. A modern, high-quality drive belt can last between 100,000 and 160,000 kilometres, meaning that irregular drivers might be able to go the entire lifespan of their vehicle without ever replacing it. It is important to replace it as required, as a drive belt failure can be catastrophic to your engine, rendering your car undriveable. Your water pump may stop, causing your engine to overheat. Losing the belt also means losing power steering, making your vehicle that much harder to manoeuvre, and your battery will start draining as the alternator is disabled.
A professional’s help
Unfortunately, there are few early warning signs that you will know about before a drive belt fails – you just have to keep on top of your service schedule. A high pitched squealing noise may indicate that the belt is slipping and this will wear it out faster. The only way to know that your drive belt needs changing is to get it inspected. If you’re looking for the best service around, speak to the team at your nearest A Grade Automotive Network member business.