Engine drive belts are an important part which controls the operation of your power steering, electrical system, air conditioning, and your cooling system. Here is some important information that can help you maintain your drive belts.

Power steering pump
Steering Pump
Alternator Photo
Air conditioning compressor
Air Conditioning Compressor

Today’s vehicles usually have one of two types of drive belts.

Serpentine-beltSerpentine Belt

When checking the engine drive belts, you are going to look for two things with your inspection.

Look for the proper belt tension and look for any sign of wear. (Cracks, frayed edges, or glazed back side of the belt)


Worn belts (cracks and glazed present)

Good results for drive belts should be as follows:

Visual – No glazing or shiny areas on the back side of the belts, and no dry cracks on the pulley side or between the ribs of the belt. If you can read the brand name on the belt and its not squeeling then it’s probably not loose.

Tension – Should be able to twist no more than 1/4 of a turn on either type of belt.

Good belt
Good condition (see writing on belt)
Belt tension
Good belt tension 1/4 turn


Even though adjustments and or replacement should be performed by a reputable and certified repair shop, being aware of your belt condition can prevent you from being stranded if the belt breaks or causing a problem like loosing the power steering or charging system from a loose belt that could be repaired by a simple belt adjustment.