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V Belt versus Serpentine Belt

V Belt versus Serpentine Belt — What’s the difference?

V belts were used to drive components like the v beltalternator, power steering pump, AC compressor and water pump in traditional forward-facing engines where space wasn’t an issue.

However, as engine compartment space became more scarce, carmakers moved away from V belt designs in favor of serpentine and polygroove designs.

V belt versus polygroove belt

A polygroove belt has multiple but smaller “V” ribs that are arranged in a wider format. That allows carmakers to drive multiple components with a single belt (see image below)

v belt versus serpentine belt
What’s the difference between a polygroove belt and a serpentine belt?

A serpentine belt drives components using both the ribbed and backside portion of the belt, while a polygroove belt only drives components from the ribbed side.

Many people refer to polygroove belts as serpentine belts. All serpentine belts are polygroove, but not all polygroove belts can be used as serpentine belts because they don’t have a special backing fabric.

how serpentine belt works
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