Gates Corp. on Tuesday, Oct. 6, announced the introduction of a new belt wear education program designed to help automotive technicians and motorists identify signs of wear on serpentine belts.
As part of the program, Gates has launched the website www.gatesbeltwear.com and announced the availability of a new serpentine belt wear gauge that can aid in diagnosing the wear on serpentine belts. The gauges are free and can be ordered via the new website, which also features a video, tech tips, diagnostic illustrations and other useful information.
Gates says new belt materials used by OEMs do not show traditional signs of failure; the new gauge and measurement technique help easily identify worn belts that may not be performing properly and require replacement.
“Gates has introduced this education program to enable technicians and motorists to properly understand and assess wear on serpentine belts made from EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer),” says Ben Smith, manager of automotive product marketing. “Awareness and understanding of EPDM belt wear is important because worn serpentine belts will not perform properly. Excessive wear leads to increasing slip that can reduce performance of the alternator, water pump, A/C or power steering, and can damage these critical components.”
Unlike Neoprene belts, longer-lasting EPDM belts, installed on new vehicles since the late 1990s, typically do not show obvious visual signs of wear, according to Gates; cracks and chunkouts rarely occur with EPDM belts, and instead — like tires — they wear out gradually over time as they experience rubber loss. When this happens, a belt loses its ability to grip or function properly and can slip, which puts a strain on engine components, causing them to malfunction and eventually fail, the company says.
According to the Car Care Council, one out of five vehicles needs a new belt, which Gates says is a significant figure given that there are more than 240 million vehicles on the road today in the United States.