The Different Vehicle Belts

Drive belts are what deliver power to the different components of your car’s engine. Without these belts, nothing in your vehicle would function adequately. Here is a basic breakdown of the various belts in your car and what they do.


V-belts come off the crankshaft of a car’s engine and drive the alternator, the air conditioning compressor, the power steering pump and the water pump. These belts are small and short and will not impair the vehicle if one slips. V-belts usually wear at the same pace, so if one needs to be replaced, the others won’t be far behind.

Serpentine Belts

Serpentine belts are long single belts that are most common in newer cars. They are easy to replace and relatively inexpensive. When a serpentine belt fails, the entire engine will be out of line, so you will need to have your car serviced by a mechanic right away.

Timing Belts

A timing belt is made of notched rubber that enables the crankshaft to turn and operates the engine valves in synch with the pistons.

Signs That Your Belts May Be Failing

If you notice squeaking or squealing coming from your engine, you may have a belt that needs to be replaced. Some other common signs that your belts should be checked by a mechanic are:

  • Hard to start the engine
  • Feels rough while idling
  • Chirping sounds coming from the engine
  • Slapping sounds coming from the engine

Constant driving can take a toll on your car’s belts. Debris like oil, dirt, dust and sand can cause damage to your belts, so it is essential to have your vehicle serviced regularly. If you suspect you’re having an issue with one of your car’s drive belts, take it to your mechanic right away. Driving with a loose or failing belt can cause further damage to your engine.