When to Replace Your Serpentine Belt

serpentine belt

If you’ve ever wondered — or perhaps, are now wondering — “how long does a serpentine belt last?”, we’re here to help! At Deery Brothers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, our Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram service and repair experts know a thing or two about serpentine belts. So, when should you replace your serpentine belt? These car parts are pretty sturdy, and usually last 50,000 to 100,000 miles. That said, they can break down sooner due to high heat and friction. them down over time. Read on to learn more about when to replace a serpentine belt in your car, truck, or SUV!

What Do Serpentine Belts Do in a Vehicle? 

Serpentine belts, often referred to as drive belts, are long and winding thick rubber belts that send power to a vehicle’s power steering pump, water pump, alternator, and even air conditioning system. As a result, these belts must be in good condition to power the many systems in your particular Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram car, truck, or SUV. 

How Long Do Serpentine Belts Last & Why Do They Break? 

As mentioned, it’s common for serpentine belts to last between 50,000 miles to over 100,000 miles. Why is there such a range for the normal lifetime of serpentine belts? They’re exposed to a lot of friction and tension. That means, over time, they easily peel, crack, slip, and fray. Noticing any of the following signs in your serpentine belt? Contact our service center today!


  • General Wear and Tear: From cracks in your belt to uneven wear, search for any wear that looks abnormal. Contact us or consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more information on locating the serpentine belt in your vehicle’s engine bay.
  • Squealing Noises: Strange noises can indicate belt stretching or low tension. The belt tensioner could also be malfunctioning, or the connection between the belt and pulleys could be marred. 
  • Systems Failure: If either your A/C system or power steering system fail, your serpentine belt needs to be replaced immediately. You should not drive in these conditions. You should safely pull over, especially if your steering system is malfunctioning.
  • Complete Breakdown: Complete serpentine belt failure causes a breakdown. This is extremely dangerous for you and others on West Des Moines roads as it can cause loss of control to your vehicle. 

What is a Belt Tensioner? 

The majority of newer serpentine belts boast self-controlled belt tensioners, which make use of an internal spring and pulley system to hold a certain amount of tension on the belt, allowing it to work properly. Belt tensioners also help to keep the serpentine belt attached and in place. What happens when a belt tensioner isn’t working right and the belt loosens? Your vehicle’s cooling system, A/C system, or even steering can stop functioning completely. It goes without saying, you’re advised to make sure your serpentine belt is in good shape with regular maintenance/checks. Replacing the belt tensioner when the drive belt is replaced will help prevent mechanical failure. 

Schedule Belt Service near Adel 

Getting your serpentine belt checked out every so often here at the Deery Brothers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram service center is a great way to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Contact us today to learn more about serpentine belts or to schedule service. We look forward to getting your car into good working order sometime soon!

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Deery Brothers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram 41.615045, -93.889285.