Best Serpentine Belts: Top 5 Products for Your Engine
The serpentine belt doesn’t look like something that could bring down your vehicle if something goes wrong. In fact, to the untrained eye, it looks like something you could easily ignore until your mechanic tells you it’s time for a change.
But, if you don’t want to risk your safety and the safety of other motorists, you’d better pay a lot more attention to this tiny item that helps bring the vehicle to life! The serpentine belt has a lot of responsibility as it is the element that carries power to some critical components such as the air pump, power steering pump, alternator, and more.
Furthermore, if it breaks down or it’s not up to the highest standards, it can lead to total engine failure, and it can produce more damage to other sensitive components under the hood. That’s why it is crucial that you make sure only the best serpentine belts make it into your engine!
Luckily, we did the research, and below, you can read our reviews on the top five best products on the market.
As the true General Motors original equipment parts brand, ACDelco offers high-quality at reasonable prices. Their V-ribbed serpentine belt is made using EPDM rubber, which is temperature and crack resistant for a long life under your vehicle’s hood. It also provides a quiet performance, and the rib profile makes sure everything operates at optimum levels.
Since this is a component that needs to withstand constant friction and bends, the producer made sure the design is flexible. Moreover, the 4K378 is a product that can deal with accessory belt misalignment, which is why many professionals favor it.
- made with temperature and crack resistant epdm rubber for a long life and quiet, dependable performance
- is the belt of choice by professional technicians, lasting 50% to 60% longer than retail belts (low priced belts sold at car part stores)
- its precision dimension control of rib profile transmits load efficiently throughout the accessory belt drive systems (abds) allowing components to operate at optimum levels
- able to operate and accept misalignment in the accessory belt drive systems (abds) far greater than other serpentine belts
- its flexible construction allows the belt to withstand billions of topside and backside bends resulting in a long belt life
While it may be a bit more expensive than regular retail serpentine belts, the Motorcraft V-ribbed JK6982D is worth the investment (if it fits your car)! It is made from premium materials (polyester cords) that resist to wear and tear, minimize slippage, and don’t lose their properties when subjected to stretching.
The belt is also easy to install, and it only takes a few minutes to change (even for beginners). This happens because it is easy to bend around pulleys and is flexible enough to ensure efficient operation.
If you’re looking for something that’s both affordable and durable, check out the Bando 6PK1305 belt. Made with six ground rubber ribs (each measuring 84.1 inches) and equipped with strong tensile cords, this serpentine belt is designed to carry high horsepower loads without stretching. The synthetic rubber used to make the belt is also heat and crack resistant.
The entire product was designed with durability and resistance to wear and tear in mind. However, you need to remember that it doesn’t have teeth (to prevent slipping), and it doesn’t work with all vehicles (especially older models).
- 6 ribs x 1305mm or 6 ribs x 51.2 inches
- Strong tensile cords carry high horsepower loads without stretching
- Ground rubber ribs are compounded from high strength synthetic rubber for wear resistance and long life
- Bando has one line of belts for both OEM applications and the aftermarket
The 4060882 is the result of a new OE technology implemented by Continental to fulfill aftermarket parts requirements. This is a multi-V, 6-rib (88.2”) serpentine belt that’s appreciated by mechanics everywhere.
Its straight-ribbed construction ensures a quiet ride and a durable fit that will resist to wear and tear for years to come.
- 6-rib, 88.2" Multi-V / Serpentine belt
- Straight-ribbed construction widely recognized by professional repair technicians
- New construction and compounding improves durability for a longer lasting, quieter ride
- The aftermarket multi-v belt that's precision engineered for perfect fit, form and function with a true OE pedigree
- Continental is the OE supplier on millions of domestic and import vehicles
If you’re looking for a high-quality serpentine belt, then you could use a heavy-duty design that’s easy to install and resists to high temperature and cracks. The belt can be used to distribute a large load capacity, and it is precise and efficient in sending the right amount of energy to the accessories.
Measuring 1.08 inches wide and 20 inches long, the belt is not a good fit for all vehicles. It’s mostly used in SUVs, trucks, and other heavy-duty cars. However, where it does fit, it’s easy to install, and it doesn’t require any special expertise. Still, you may need an extra set of hands, to help you get the right tension.
- Patented material provides peak performance at prolonged extreme operating temperatures
- Heavy-duty construction resists cracking and wear, even at extreme temperatures
- Special compound provides unmatched flexibility, stability, load carrying capacity and belt life
- Problem solver designed for the toughest applications
- Consistently outperforms other heavy-duty serpentine belts on the market
What is a Serpentine Belt?
The serpentine belt is responsible for maintaining several crucial systems of your car such as power steering, the alternator, the water pump, and the air conditioning system. So, if it breaks, steering becomes a lot more difficult (the wheel is stiff), there will be no air conditioning, and the battery will have to deliver a lot more power to consumers. You should also keep in mind that older vehicles may have other belts, so you should read the vehicle’s manual before making any changes.
How to Choose the Best Serpentine Belts?
Given its importance, it is crucial that you know how to choose a high-quality serpentine belt for your vehicle, so here are the factors to consider:
It goes without saying that you should be looking for durable materials that resist to friction, stretching, and tension.
While older designs are mostly made from Neoprene (due to its durability), modern products feature EPDM (Ethylene Propylene-Diene Moner). This material resists better to high temperatures and cracks and has a longer life than Neoprene. It’s also more resistant to stretching and bending and can carry larger loads.
So, unless you are buying from a trustworthy brand, make sure only to buy a serpentine belt made from EPDM.
Compatibility with your Car
Each vehicle needs a specific length and size when it comes to the serpentine belt. This means that you need to check your vehicle’s manual (if you have it) or check the model number on the original belt.
This is important because these belts come in contact with several other components in the engine, like the pulleys. So, if the size doesn’t fit right in all the places, the engine may not work at optimal parameters.
Given that a serpentine belt is not a substantial financial investment (like, let’s say, a new set of tires), you should always buy from well-known brands. However, if you find yourself in a pinch, it is acceptable to buy from no-name brands, but not without proper research.
Find reviews and read other users’ opinions on the product. Also, make sure to ask for advice from a professional! This item may look small, but it is by no means insignificant when it comes to the well-being of your engine.
The products we reviewed all bear the name of the best brands in the industry: ACDelco, Bando, Continental Elite, and Gates.
As you can see from our reviews, there are V-ribbed belts, multi-ribbed belts, and so on. So. what’s the deal?
The pattern is an important aspect when it comes to structural integrity and durability. The best products come with intricate valleys and crosscuts that improve adherence and allow air to get underneath the belt to protect it from overheating and stretching.
How Do I Know I Need a New Belt?
You’ll just know.
When the belt fails or is about to fail, it sends signals to the entire vehicle. You’ll start hearing weird noises (coming from the engine), and the systems that receive power from the belt won’t be working as flawless as before.
The first sign is a squeaky noise produced by the fact that the belt’s surface is slipping. This happens when the surface gets worn, and there are cracks and/or tears in the material. Now, if you hear a growling noise, there may be some problems with the water pump. Since the belt sends power to the water pump, a defective unit can cause the belt to slip and produce more damage in the process.
Another sign that spells problems is a weak belt tensioner, which can translate into electrical issues. For instance, if your headlights dim when you accelerate, it’s time to check if everything is in order with the belt and alternator.
Finally, keep in mind that a belt should be changed every 100,000 miles or after eight years of use. So, if you’re buying an old vehicle, check out the belt’s aspect.
Replacing the Belt
The process of replacing an old belt with a new one is not rocket science, but you need to make sure you know how to do it. Also, all the ribs on the belt must be perfectly aligned with the ribs on the pulleys it drives, so you will need to inspect each component carefully. Depending on the build of your vehicle, this may require some contortion, but with a good light for mechanics and some imagination, it is doable.
Keep in mind: if the belt is misaligned or installed wrong, it may slip and/or break, causing damage to the engine.
So, if you’re not sure about how to install it, hire a professional and learn from them. Also, if you did the installation, but you’re not sure it’s right, ask a mechanic to have a look. It doesn’t take long, it’s not expensive, and it will ease your mind!
The serpentine belt is a crucial component of your vehicle’s engine and must be kept in the best possible condition. It’s also an element that doesn’t need much maintenance if you make sure to buy a high-quality product designed for durability and resistance to heat and cracks.