Check serpentine belts for wear
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Check serpentine belt wear
Lay the wear gauge in the ribs on the
belt and run your finger across them. If
the gauge sits flush with the top of the
ribs, the belt is worn out.
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Close-up of EPDM serpentine belt wear gauge
The gauge measures groove depth to determine wear.
Starting in 2000, some carmakers
began installing a new kind of serpentine
belt made of ethylene propylene
diene monomer (EPDM). The
new belts last much longer and handle
the heat better than the older
neoprene formulations. That means
fewer belt changes over the life of
your vehicle. In fact, EPDM can go
almost 100,000 miles between
changes! But since EPDM doesn't
crack like the old neoprene belts,
you can't do a visual check. The only
way to gauge belt wear is with—you
guessed it—a belt gauge (photo).
DIYers can get a free belt wear gauge
If it's time to chuck your EPDM
belt, replace it with the same kind.
Don't be fooled by low-price belts.
They're usually made from neoprene.
Also, if your car has a neoprene
belt and it's cracked, consider
replacing it with EPDM. Yes, it's that