Changing V-belts – that’s how it’s done! | ATP Auto Parts

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What does a V-ribbed belt do and how do I know that it is defective?
Here you will find all the important information about this important component. There is also a step-by-step guide on how to change a V-ribbed belt and we explain the difference between V-belts and V-ribbed belts.

V-belts or V-ribbed belts?

Even if only ‘V-belts’ are often used today, that’s how it is usually meant the V-ribbed belt. Today you only find in older models V-belts, newer cars have V-ribbed belts. They differ from V-belts mainly in their structure and the resulting functionality. The V-ribbed belt has so-called ribs on the underside, while the V-belt is smooth on the underside. Thanks to this special shape on the underside and the resulting greater friction on the rollers, it can transmit and generate significantly higher torques than the V-belt.

What does a V-ribbed belt do?

The V-ribbed belt is used for this to connect different components of the engine togetherand by means of engine power so-called ancillaries to drive There are, for example, the alternator, the cooling water pump, the hydraulic pump for the power steering or the air conditioning compressor. Of course, this means that the V-ribbed belt always runs and is under load when the engine is running. Other components are also required to operate the engine with a V-ribbed belt. These include tension rollers, deflection rollers, torsional vibration dampers and the overrunning alternator pulley.

When should you change the V-ribbed belt?

There is from Manufacturer specified intervals, in which you should change the V-ribbed belt. This happens either after a certain period of time, or after a certain number of kilometers that your car has covered. You can find the change intervals in the vehicle manual or service booklet. It is also advisable to change the V-ribbed belt when changing the power steering pump. Of course, this also applies to Exchange of other ancillaries, to change them you have to remove the V-ribbed belt. When changing the V-ribbed belt, you should also think about the belt components mentioned above, such as tension pulleys and deflection pulleys, etc. These parts are Wearing parts that you should change at the same time.
And of course you should change it if the V-ribbed belt is defective.

How do I know that the V-ribbed belt is defective?

Signs that there may be problems with the V-ribbed belt are one sudden heavy steering. In addition, the Air conditioning suddenly fail, and the light from the headlights suddenly dims. Also a loud one Squeaking noise from the engine compartment indicates a belt defect.
In addition to these signs, you can of course also identify mechanical defects on the V-ribbed belt itself.

The best way to recognize a mechanical defect is to take a closer look at the belt on both sides. In addition to eruptions from the ribs, cracks in the ribs, abrasion on the back, or of course a complete tear off can indicate a defect. Since the V-ribbed belt drives the alternator, which in turn is responsible for charging the battery, it may happen that the battery drains very quickly. You can also recognize this by a lit battery indicator light in the cockpit.
Since the water pump is also driven by the V-ribbed belt, the engine’s cooling circuit can no longer be maintained in the event of a defect. This leads to a rise in cooling water temperature, which can lead to the engine overheating and serious consequential damage such as a defective cylinder head gasket or even a piston seizure.

When do I have to go to the workshop?

By the way, there are also cars with so-called Elasto belts. What makes it special is that there are no tension rollers or other tensioning devices. Changing these belts requires special tools and a lot of strength. The only option here is to go to the specialist workshop.

What do you need to change the V-ribbed belt?

  • Tools: Ring or open-end wrench
  • arbor or drill
  • A clean rag

Here’s the step-by-step guide:

  1. On the alternator you will find the tensioning pulley with a tensioning lever. Use an open-end wrench to push the clamping lever in the direction of the opposite mount so that the holes are parallel to each other.
  2. Fix this position with a pin or the drill.
  3. The V-ribbed belt should now have completely lost its tension and can be removed from the deflection pulleys.
  4. Now that the idler pulleys are exposed, you can wipe them with a clean cloth or rag to prevent dirt residue from abrasively damaging the new V-ribbed belt
  5. When you install the new V-ribbed belt, make sure that it is routed exactly like the old one. It must neither protrude nor be displaced.
  6. Once the serpentine belt is in the correct position, you can remove the mandrel or drill, depending on what you used. The clamping lever should now automatically fall back into its old position due to the spring pressure. Make sure this is done slowly.
  7. Now you can test with your finger whether the V-belt is properly tensioned. If it can no longer be pulled in your direction, the right tension has been reached.
  8. Start the engine and check the power steering and air conditioning. Listen to the noise your car is making. If everything sounds and works normally, you have successfully changed your serpentine belt!

A job that you can definitely do yourself with a little skill. And you save a lot of money! It is best to also look around in the ATP car parts online shop for cheap new V-ribbed belts suitable for your car model. If you buy them yourself, you will definitely get away cheaper than in the workshop.

Have you ever done a repair like this yourself? do you find them difficult Do you have any other tips for other readers? Write us your experiences in the comments!

Good ride!

Your ATP team


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