Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

How long does a serpentine belt last?

How long does a serpentine belt last?

Serpentine belt life

A factory installed EPDM serpentine belt has an average life of about 100,000 miles. Belts installed prior to the 2000 model year were made from neoprene and had a life of only 60,000 miles. At that point they’d develop heat cracks.

EPDM belts don’t crack like neoprene belts so you can’t tell their condition with a visual inspection. You have to use a belt wear gauge.

How to use a serpentine belt wear gauge

Obtain a belt wear gauge tool

Insert the toothed portion into the ribs of the belt. If you can see light between the ribs and the tool, the ribs have worn down beyond serviceable limits and the belt backing is riding on the pulley ribs. The belt is worn and must be replaced.

Or, lay the V shaped bar of the gauge into a groove between two ribs. If the bar stands above the groove, the belt is good. If the bar sinks into the groove so you can no longer feel it with your fingers, the belt is worn past its limits.


Replace the belt and the auto belt tensioner at the same time

Belt tensioners wear at about the same rate as the belt. They’re designed to be replaced as a set. If you replace the belt but reuse the old tensioner, you’ll wear out the new belt faster due to lower tension, which causes belt slipping and misalignment.

serpentine belt wear gauge©, 2022 Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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