A serpentine belt is used to operate various components located within your engine compartment; These components could be your air conditioning pump, power steering pump, water pump, alternator and cooling fans. Older vehicles used belts similiar to a serpentine, however these belts were referred to as V-belts. Sometimes up to four belts were used to operate the previously stated components, in newer vehicles usually one belt (a serpentine belt) is used to run all of them. If this belt breaks, you will be unable to operate your vehicle, thus leaving you stranded.
How does a serpentine belt work? After you start your vehicle, the belt drives the pumps required to run your air conditioning, power steering, charge your battery, and cool the engine (water pump, cooling fans).
How often should i change my serpentine belt? Generally a serpentine belt will last from 60,000 to 100,000 miles depending on driving habits, geographical location, and climate. When signs of wear start to show (4-8 cracks per square inch) on the belt, it’s time to have a new one installed.