Cars have always had a fan belt. Almost every car had a radiator fan driven by a belt, and often one or two more belts. Those belts drove the water pump, alternator, power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, air injection pump, and an occasional supercharger. Almost all modern cars have a single belt called a serpentine that drives all of those accessories, and is therefore also called an accessory belt. As you might guess, Serpentine refers to the snake like route around the accessories.
The Serpentine belt is always inspected at any service at Karmakanix, and we let you know about the condition. Some serpentine belts are relatively easy to replace. But some cars require removal of the front of the car to replace the Serp belt, as we call it. So any recommendation for replacing the serpentine belt is not to be taken lightly. When your Service Advisor tells you of its current condition, we can often estimate about when it might be replaced. We refer to rubber product condition in these terms: Starting to crack, cracked or cracking, and badly or very cracked. Hopefully we don’t have to say “broken”.
All of our standard tasks for timing belt replacement include whatever serpentine belt or belts, and the tensioners and rollers for such belts. These parts have to be removed during the job regardless of whether or not they need replacing. If they were replaced recently enough and in great condition, those parts get reinstalled. Most serpentine belts need to be replaced about once or twice during the life of a timing belt, or about every 30- 40,000 miles. Karmakanix uses mostly Contitech products for our serpentine belts.
All of our observations and recommendations are written in your customer profile, most along with the date of entry. Ask your Service Advisor for some good advice. We can tell you when your serpentine last got replaced. And most of them are not too hard to see, just drop by for a friendly look.