“Replace belt” is listed on just about every preventive maintenance chart, regardless of a vehicle’s make or model. But that doesn’t mean it’s a change-it-and-forget-it item.
Although there is a recommended replacement cycle – every 300,000 miles for normal- and heavy-duty applications, and every 150,000 miles for severe-duty applications – a number of factors can lead to premature belt wear and failure, including excessive engine heat, a failing tensioner or even a minor misalignment in routing. And that means that any component that’s driven by the belt will likely experience a drop in performance or even failure. For vehicles equipped with serpentine belts, that includes the alternator, water pump, A/C system and powering steering pump.
Training drivers to include belts in their pre-trip inspections can help them identify belt wear before it leads to a costly malfunction. But with today’s serpentine belts, looking for cracks is not enough. Many belts, including Road Choice® serpentine and V-belts, are made of EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer. Unlike earlier-generation belt material, EPDM does not show visual signs of wear, such as cracking or chunking. Instead, belts made of EPDM lose their ability to grip over time and begin to slip.
For that reason, drivers need to be coached to inspect belts by touch, not just by sight, during pre-trip inspections. Ask them to:
- Feel around on a belt’s outer edge for lateral play or misalignment, which can lead to premature wear.
- Push down on a belt to measure its give. If it gives ¼ inch or more up or down, the tensioner may be failing. If so, both the tensioner and the belt should be replaced.
- Use their fingertips to brush around the outer edge of a belt. If they feel any fraying, the belt must be replaced.
- Feel the rib profile of V-belts; if it is scooped like a U, the belt should be replaced.
Of course, there are other signs of belt problems, including an overheated engine, a squealing noise from the front of a vehicle, and a loss of power steering or air conditioning. But if your drivers are careful in their belt inspections, they’re less likely to experience one of these “last-chance” warnings of belt wear or failure.
Road Choice Offers All-Makes Reliability
With its all-makes selection of serpentine and V-belts, Road Choice can meet your fleet’s belt needs. Road Choice belts offer reliability at a competitive price and come packaged in sleeves with helpful cross-reference information.
For fleets with newer trucks, Road Choice serpentine belts offer:
- Top performance, length stability and shock load absorption
- Distortion and collapse prevention, enhanced flexibility and transverse rigidity through their EPDM composition
- A gum-fiber backing that absorbs heat, improves flex life and enhances cord support
For fleets with older trucks, Road Choice V-belts offer the following features:
- EPDM composition
- Polyester-fiber tensile members
- Straight-ribbed design
- Exceptional flexibility
- Resistance to abrasion, oil and chemicals
- Stability from – 30o to 140o F
Download the Road Choice fan belt catalog to learn more about Road Choice belts and to view cross-reference information. And remember, you can only buy Road Choice belts and other products through the SELECT Part Store™ or our exclusive dealer network. Click here to find a retailer near you.