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What Is a Drive Belt & How Much Does It Cost to Replace It?

Educational  ·  September 1, 2020

What Is a Drive Belt & How Much Does It Cost to Replace It?

The drive belt is one of the critical parts of your car. It is found under the hood and has the primary role of delivering power to multiple engine parts. 

The challenging thing about the drive belt is that you never really know when it's going to fail. You can never be sure when you need to replace it unless you visually inspect it from time to time, and who does that? In a worst-case scenario, the belt might snap while you're driving, and you'll suddenly find your car completely immobilised.

That might sound scary, but don't worry about it! In this article, we're going to go through everything you need to know about drive belts. By staying informed, you become better equipped at sensing troubles before they turn into full-scale problems. So, let's get started!

What is a drive belt? What does it do?

First of all, let's understand what a drive belt is. Sometimes known as a 'fan belt', your drive belt runs on the outside of the engine. When the engine is running, it'll turn the drive belt, which in turn powers other accessories, including the air conditioning, power steering, and more!

The drive belt is used alongside an idler, tensioner, and other pulleys. Together, they form the drive belt system.

Depending on the design of the belt, it might also be called a 'serpentine belt'. That's because of how the belt runs between different accessories in a snake-like fashion.

How long does a drive belt last?

Like many other auto parts and accessories, the total distance travelled by your car determines the lifespan of a drive belt. Typically, a new belt can last for as long as 80,000 kilometres (50,000 miles). Of course, you can always buy a higher-grade drive belt made of better materials which can last for 150,000 kilometres or more! 

A more durable type of belt is made of EPDM (ethylene diene monomer), a synthetic rubber material. Of course, with higher durability comes a heftier price tag. Remember, even a basic drive belt will last you quite a while!

How do I know if my drive belt needs to be replaced?

As mentioned before, it's kind of tough to know precisely when you need to replace a drive belt. That's because the warning signs aren't so clear, and unfortunately, there's no 'check drive belt' light on your instrument panel to help you out.

Thankfully, there are a few signs that tell you there might be something wrong with your drive belt. They include:

If you notice any of these problems, go to your mechanic’s garage to have the drive belt inspected or changed immediately. Make no mistake: if that belt breaks, your entire car will be immobilised. The drive belt replacement cost will be negligible compared to what you'll spend if that belt breaks while you're on the road!

How much does it cost to replace a drive belt in Australia?

Drive belt replacement cost differs according to the type of vehicle you drive. Some cars will only need one belt, while others may have up to four in total. For that reason, a standard drive belt replacement in Australia could cost anywhere starting from $159 up to $1,500.

Why the big difference? For one, it's the type of belt material that you choose. Next, the price is also influenced by your car engine's design and the effort required to replace your drive belt

Simply put, a simple replacement will cost you less, but a complicated one that takes more of your mechanic's time and effort will cost you much more.

Whether it's about your drive belt or any other car part, you should keep yourself educated and informed about your vehicle. Follow for more helpful blog articles like this one so you can become a well-informed car owner and make the best choices for your prized vehicle! And if you’re replacing any part and require some spare parts, do your search online, and better yet, use Carpart’s free Auto Part Finder

By Ray Hasbollah

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