Your car is a complex piece of equipment which requires many parts to be functioning in harmony. A serpentine belt is just one of these, and it is the kind of thing that you are unlikely to notice until something goes wrong. But it is linked to some of the most important features in your vehicle including the power steering, air conditioning, water pump, and alternator. You are likely to notice some loud and unpleasant noises emanating from your vehicle. In extreme circumstances, it could be that the car breaks down entirely.
Whether you are looking for a new serpentine belt in the near future or you are simply looking for some more information about this part, you have certainly come to the right place. Let’s start off with our product selection, listing some of the most highly rated products. Following on from this, we will give you some more information about serpentine belts in general in our buying guide.
The Best Serpentine Belt
Our number one pick is this V-ribbed serpentine belt. The EDDM rubber used is both crack and temperature resistant, which means that it is likely to last longer in your car. In fact, many professionals rely on this belt as it is renowned for lasting longer than similar products.
While some belts cannot deal with accessory belt misalignment, this one is much better at adapting to the situation. As for the construction, it is highly flexible to deal with the countless bends that a serpentine belt goes through during its lifespan. Fit, function, and form have all been carefully considered to create an all-round great serpentine belt.
Uses advanced manufacturing technology
Lasts as much as 60% longer than standard retail belts
Temperature and crack resistant
Highly flexible construction
- Weight0.16 ounces
With over a century of history in the field, Bando are well-known for creating quality rubber products. And this one is no exception. Many of the top car manufacturers use it as standard. The rubber ribs are made from strong synthetic rubber to resist wear and last longer.
There is a single line of belts for both OEM operation and aftermarket care. The cords of this belt are designed in such a way that they will deal with extensive horsepower loads without being at risk of stretching.
Tough and durable tensile cords
Renowned OEM supplier
Made from strong synthetic rubber
Deals easily with high horsepower loads
- BrandBando USA
- Weight6.4 ounces
If you are looking for a smoother and quieter driving experience, this serpentine belt ticks both boxes. A variety of car models are supported in both the length and the fit of the belt. Its ease of installation has been remarked upon – and you can expect it to continue operating efficiently over the miles ahead of you.
As for the price, it is relatively affordable, so those on a tighter budget should take note of this one. This US-manufactured product is renowned for its OEM quality.
Strong and durable belt
Smooth and silent running
Length fits a variety of car models
Easy to install
- Weight7.2 ounces
One of the top-rated products available, this one is straight ribbed in its design. Two of the most important features that you should be on the lookout for in a serpentine belt are longevity and quietness, which this belt offers in bucketloads.
While it is an aftermarket belt, it has been designed to offer OE quality. It has been extensively tested and precision engineers – and many motoring enthusiasts have agreed and supported the quality of this belt.
New compounding and construction
Easy to install
Offers height strength and shear resistance
- BrandContinental OE Technology Series
- Weight4.5 ounces
Next up on the list, we have this serpentine belt, which is made from top-quality material. One of the advantages of this is that it reduces how much slippage occurs, as well as resisting the stretching which can happen with other models.
Another problem which some serpentine belts face is that they deteriorate quickly over time, but this one is designed in such a way that it resists this particular issue, which is caused by a combination of factors like oil, dirt, grease, and high temperatures.
Designed to resist deterioration
Backed by limited lifetime warranty
- Weight8 ounces
Designed to carry high horsepower loads without stretching, this is another serpentine belt from the popular brand Bando. As we talked about briefly earlier, this brand is known for being the OEM supplier for a number of the top car brands. As you can expect from a company which has been around for more than 100 years, the standards expected are high-quality.
Long life and wear resistance are two of the main positive qualities which these ground rubber ribs have to offer.
Precision ground belts
Designed to carry high horsepower loads
Renowned for longevity
- Weight5.6 ounces
The next choice on our list is this heavy-duty V-ribbed model. As we have already mentioned several times, longevity is an important quality for a serpentine belt to possess, and this one certainly ticks these boxes.
One of the best features of this belt is its resistance to potential damage, ensuring that the vehicle keeps running and the systems remain in good working order. And the good value means that it is well within the price range of a lot of motor enthusiasts.
High level of durability
Offers great resistance
- Weight0.64 ounces
Through its leading manufacturing process, Gates have created a serpentine belt which is compatible with a wide variety of vehicles. If you are experienced in the world of car adaptations, you can adjust it to improve performance.
Loud serpentine belts can end up being a major annoyance for drivers, but Gates have tried to address this issue by making one which puts quietness at its heart. Impact resistance is high to avoid rubber cracking as much as possible.
Reduces noise vibration and harshness
Design fits a variety of vehicles
High impact resistance
Avoids rubber cracking
- Weight7.2 ounces
Made using high-performance rubber, this is the type of serpentine belt which is designed to stand the test of time. As well as this, the belt has been ranked highly on the low noise scale, which is an important one for many drivers.
The dimension control of the belt transmits the load well through the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS).
Uses high-quality rubber
Long lifespan and low noise
Fits a variety of vehicles
- BrandMOCA AUTOPARTS
- Model7 ounces
Finally, we have this serpentine belt from Continental. Wear resistance is one of the best features of this belt thanks to its high-strength tensions members. As for the technology, it has a quiet channel which helps to stop the noise which is commonly associated with pulley misalignment.
Made for high efficiency
Great wear resistance
Quiet channel technology
Unique staggered-cog profile to reduce noise
- BrandContinental OE Technology Series
- Weight5.8 ounces
Best Serpentine Belt Buying Guide & FAQ
Now, we come onto the buying guide section. This is where we look at serpentine belts in more detail, and how essentially they are in the successful functioning of your vehicle.
Things to Consider When Buying a Serpentine Belt
Even though you may not know all that much about your serpentine belt, some products are inevitably going to be better than others. So, here are a few of the main points that you need to consider before you commit to buying a particular serpentine belt.
Good quality materials will help to improve both the durability and resistance of your serpentine belt. For the past few years, there has been heavy focus on EPDM (Ethylene Propylene-Diene Moner), which offers the kind of consistency which other materials cannot. Even if you don’t learn much else about serpentine belts, going for this material reduces your odds or experiencing any major issues, and makes it more likely that your vehicle’s functionality will continue unhindered.
- Compatibility with Your Vehicle
Obviously, if you don’t buy a part which is compatible with your vehicle, you are going to encounter some problems! The fan belt needs to work well alongside a host of other parts in your car, and the belt’s efficiency could be affected by incompatibility or a malfunction of one of the other parts. Make sure that you check all of the specifications closely – ensuring that you take all the sizing into account. You don’t want to go through all that effort and expense of buying and installing a part, only to find that it does not work properly – thus negatively impacting the entire performance of your vehicle. Don’t rush to any conclusions about why your vehicle is not working as it should. There is no point in rushing out to buy a brand-new serpentine belt, only to find that it was another part of your vehicle which was causing the issue.
- Other Components to Update
Bear in mind that the serpentine belt is just one component in a car, and there are plenty more which may be in need of an update. Remember that it may be one of the other components that is causing the serpentine belt to fail, so you may be too hasty rushing out to get a new one without properly diagnosing what is going on. If you are not all that skilled in car parts yourself, you should have a professional give your car a once over. They should be able to determine what is going on and what needs to be fixed.
- Buy from a Reliable Source
When you are buying such an important car part, you don’t want to rush out to get one which is simply not up to scratch. Of course, if your car has broken down, it can be tempting to rush out to get a new part as quickly as possible. But if you take the time to do the proper research, you are much more likely to end up with a quality part which stands the test of time. Use the guide above as a starting point. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the manufacturer directly if you are feeling at all unsure. And if you are buying from a third-party source, make sure that they are reliable and worthy of your trust and money. Ensure that the product IDs match, so you can be certain that what is in the box is what you are putting in your car.
For many people, the serpentine belt cost is going to play a factor in their decision-making process. However, don’t let it be the only thing to take into account. It is very easy to get lured into what you think is a great deal, only to find that it doesn’t measure up to scratch and you need to get a replacement much quicker than you once would have liked.
Why is Serpentine Belt Quality So Important?
Now, you may be wondering why it is so important why you choose the right serpentine belt in the first place. Hopefully, many of these reasons have become clear over the course of the blog post, but let’s give them an overview right here and now to make sure everything is entirely clear. The serpentine belt has an essential purpose in most vehicles, which is transferring power from the crank pullies to the various engine-mounted accessories. A worn or damaged belt can lead to the inadequate transfer of power, which can lead you to not having essential vehicle functions such as power steering or a working alternator – or even air conditioning!
If you buy a poor-quality belt, it is much less likely to stand the test of time and you are probably going to need a replacement before you know it. While you may think that you are saving money on the initial cost, this is not going to be the case if you need a replacement very soon after purchase.
When your serpentine belt isn’t working properly, it will be quite clear to you. You are likely to hear a series of loud noises coming from your car. It could be the case that other internal devices of your car like your ventilator don’t function properly. Eventually, your car could break down entirely, leaving you in a potentially dangerous situation. This is much less likely to happen to you if you purchase a quality product in the first place.
Best Serpentine Belt Brands on the Market
Buying from a reliable source is so important when you are getting a new alternator belt. You also need to do the proper amount of research to ensure that the product is compatible with your vehicle in the first place. Of course, many people feel like they are constantly in a rush these days, but you are going to waste more time making a quick buy, only to find that you have chosen something which is totally wrong for your vehicle. Buying from an established brand can help in your quest to make the right choice of serpentine belt, so let’s look at your options in more detail.
ACDelco - With over a century of history behind it, ACDelco is one of the most well-known and celebrated brands on the market. Owned by General Motors, they specialize in making good-quality parts at affordable prices. As you would expect from a brand that has been around for such a long time, the level of testing which has gone in is extensive to ensure that the parts live up to the name. Plus, they generally produce affordable parts too.
Bando - Another brand that has been around for over 100 years, Bando has kept its top reputation during the course of its history. In fact, the brand is so well thought of that it provides OEM to over 80% of top 10 cars in the US. If the big car brands trust Bando, it is a pretty good indication that you can too.
Continental Elite - Next on the list of top-rated brands, we have Continental Elite. One of the most celebrated aspects of this brand is its Quiet Channel Technology, which keep their systems running smoothly without any loud noises. The advanced rubber materials also help to ensure durability and long life.
Gates - The automotive parts of Gates are provided to more than 34 worldwide manufacturers. Innovation is at the heart of the brand, and they are well-trusted by many professionals.
Best Serpentine Belt FAQ:
Q: What is the serpentine belt?
A: A serpentine belt is a peripheral part in your car which enables the internal combustion engine to function effectively. It is closely linked to a host of important features in your vehicle including the power steering pump, air pump, alternator, air conditioning compressor, and water pump. Designed in a long continuous style, it is the force behind many of these overlooked parts of your car. Guiding the belt as it moves is usually a belt tensioner or idler pulley. Like all parts in a car, the serpentine belt will need replacing at some point in time. Every 40,000 to 70,000 miles is a good rule of thumb to follow. Upon closer inspection, it should be obvious when the serpentine belt needs replacing as you will see it becoming frayed or cracked.
Q: How do I know when my car’s belt doesn’t work?
A: When the serpentine belt in your vehicle goes wrong, this is something that you need to deal with as soon as possible. Your car’s functionality will be significantly impacted if the belt is damaged, worn, cracked, or snapped. There are several key signs which tell you if your serpentine belt is no longer in the best shape. First, the air conditioning in your car has malfunctioned. While there are a number of different possible causes for this, a bad serpentine belt is one of them. If you’re a/c is no longer blowing out cool air from the vents, look at the belt as a possible cause.
Another way to tell that there is an issue with the timing belt is if your car is suddenly making squealing sounds at the front. It could be because the belt is either misaligned or slipping off. Sometimes, a simple realignment is enough to solve the problem. On other occasions, the belt will be damaged and in need of replacement. If your power steering is no longer functioning, this is another possible sign that all is not right. You will notice that it is much harder to move the vehicle around, and it is no longer as smooth as before.
An overheating engine could be caused by the water pump not being activated by the serpentine belt, which could indicate that it is either damaged or worn. You can tell if this is happening as the temperature gauge on your dashboard will show the needle moving towards the red zone. This is obviously a serious issue which you need to deal with straight away. Otherwise, it is your entire engine which could end up suffering.
Finally, you can give your serpentine belt a quick inspection to see how it is looking. This is an easy part to access in most vehicles, and all you should need to do is open the hood to see if it looks visibly cracked or worn out. If so, you should look into getting a replacement at the earliest possible opportunity.
Q: When should I replace it?
A: Significant improvements in rubber technology have meant that serpentine belts last a lot longer than they once did. As a general rule of thumb, most will last between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. While most belts last a long time, there could be some external factors which are affecting its lifespan.
It is inevitable that over time, the belt will start wearing down due to the continuous exposure to heat and friction. The signs in the section above could point towards a replacement being due. Generally, you can tell when a belt is in need of replacement with a quick visual inspection.
If it has come to the stage when the serpentine belt in your vehicle is in dire need of replacement, you should be able to tell as the overall performance of the vehicle will start to decrease. You are likely to notice some weird noises coming from your car. And as anyone who has ever owned a vehicle should know already, you should never ignore your car when it is audibly trying to tell you something.
In fact, replacing your vehicles serpentine belt doesn’t have to be overly complicated, and can actually be accomplished just using hand tools. First, you are going to need to raise the hood to find the location of the belt in the first place. You will then need to disconnect the battery to ensure that certain parts of your vehicle are not in operation. Once you have found the belt, you can then start giving it a closer inspection to see if there are any signs of damage or cracking. You may find that the belt is still in decent condition, but it is rubbing on something. In which case, you will need to make the necessary adjustments to ensure that this is no longer the case and the belt will continue to move freely and unhindered. There is often a routing diagram which tells you exactly how the belt should be moving, so you can consult this if needed.
You will then need to go through a series of stages to relieve the tension of the v belt. There are plenty of guides online which will talk you through this process step by step. The last step is to replace the old and worn out belt with a brand new one.
Our Top Pick
Finally, let’s have a recap of the number one product we have chosen, which is this one from ACDelco. The EPDM rubber that it is made from is both temperature and crack resistant, which makes it more likely that it will stand the test of time. Plus, the construction is flexible enough to accommodate the many bends that the belt will go through during the course of its life. Many professional technicians have put their faith in this belt, and we have decided that it is worthy of our stamp of approval too as the best serpentine belt.