Need a new drive belt?
Your drive belt is an essential part of your vehicle, responsible for running multiple components within your engine bay. Depending on the vehicle, the drive belt may be connected to engine accessories such as:
- The air conditioning compressor
- Power steering pump (this may have a separate belt)
- Radiator fan
- Water pump and more
If you’ve noticed some odd behaviour like malfunctioning AC, car overheating or odd steering, you may have a bad belt and need to fit a replacement.
The drive belt is not to be confused with the timing belt, which synchronises the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft. This ensures that the engine timing is correct, hence the name. A failed timing belt can cause extensive damage to the engine and call for a complete rebuild.
Luckily, a broken drive belt is unlikely to harm the engine – but it can make getting where you need to go tricky. Especially if it affects the hydraulic power steering, which can cause safety concerns while driving.
Noticed any of the aforementioned signs of belt breaks? Read on to find out what to do next.
Natrad has a range of drive belts suited to a variety of vehicles; just speak to your nearest store today for more information.
What is a drive belt and what does it do?
The drive belt connects your engine to various accessories within your engine bay. The accessories may differ depending on the car make and model, but most commonly, they include the AC compressor, alternator, fan clutch and water pump.
The belt transfers power to these moving components, which allows them to keep your vehicle operating correctly. It is essential to maintaining the power output and cooling of your vehicle.
Unlike the timing belt, a broken drive belt will not destroy your engine. However, it may severely damage the components connected to it if it severs. It’s important to check the rubber belt regularly and schedule preventative maintenance to avoid costly repairs.Similarly, if the belt is not correctly tensioned, it may slip off or cause strain to system components, causing failure of both the belt tensioner and connected parts.
Types of belts
The drive belt is also known as the serpentine belt or accessory belt. Serpentine belts can come in different configurations and materials depending on the vehicle’s needs. Natrad stocks a range of OEM quality belts for a variety of vehicles. Read below to find out more:
Natrad’s range of Optibelt V-belts have a cross-section that is tapered in a “V” shape, hence the name. Some have a flat surface, and some have ridges that help make the belt durable, efficient and smooth running. It is the ideal cost-effective belt for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
Optibelt’s ribbed belt range does not have a flat surface. It uses several raised horizontal ribs for added durability and temperature resistance. Designed as a high-performance belt, the RBK design has inbuilt wear indicators, which can reveal red rubber markings when the black layer wears down. Wear indicators eliminate the need for special tools and belt removal to identify its condition.
Natrad also stocks high-quality timing belts and timing belt kits from Optibelt. We’ve got all of your belt needs covered!
Parts & products specialists
We have access to Australia's largest range of engine cooling and air conditioning parts.
Signs & symptoms
It’s best to replace your drive belt as the manufacturer recommends, which can be found in your log book or owner’s manual. Many suggest at around every 100,000 kilometres.
However, if you notice anything odd while driving, the drive belt may have failed. Read below for signs and symptoms:
- Squealing or squeaking from the front of your car
- Visible cracking or wear (or red rubber visible on RBK belts)
- Engine overheating
- AC working poorly
- Visibly worn pulleys or gauges
- Power steering malfunction
If any of these occur, make sure to inspect the cause of the problem as soon as possible. Nip into your nearest Natrad store for specialist advice and repairs.
If you are unsure what is causing your car issues, or if you’re unsure about the condition of your drive belt, talk to a Natrad technician today.
Our team of specialists can inspect your vehicle, identify any problems with the drive belt and provide high-quality replacements specific to your needs. With a range of belts available for a variety of vehicles, we’ll be able to supply the ideal option for you.