While belt wear and breakdown is a frustrating and costly issue to remedy, there are many reasons why this issue arises in the first place. The key to understanding where the product decline comes from is often how the system interacts as a whole, and if there are vibration and shock issues from the engine exacerbating the wear.

The Group Training Academy and Shop Owner teamed up to explain why the culprit isn't always the broken part itself, and more often than not can't be solely to blame. The system in which the part is placed is almost always at least partially responsible for the wear and damage of its individual parts. Automotive assembly systems are complex and sometimes painfully intricate which makes finding the true problem sometimes very difficult.

The saying, "the team is only as strong as its weakest link" holds very true to automotive systems. Serpentine belts are often thought to last up to 90,000 miles; this may change significantly, though, once the vibration and shock from the car engine are taken into account. Parts are being introduced with more sturdy materials that reduce noise and vibration issues, but the system still must maintain harmony and avoid things like fluid leaks to stay in good shape.

To avoid engine shock and vibration-related issues, installing new belts tensioners and pulley systems will more than likely extend the life and performance of the system as opposed to simply replacing a belt while leaving the rest of the existing system in place.

To contact the author of this article, email ecouncilor@globalspec.com