How to replace a car drive belt?

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Drive belt is a part, which passes rotational element from one car mechanism to another. There are several drive belts installed in modern automobiles. But each of them plays a part in general working capacity of a car. If abruption or weakening of a drive belt occurred, you may not be able to even start your car. Due to this, every driver should know how to replace engine drive belt of a car. In this article we describe the reasons of drive belt’s breakdowns and how to replace them on your own. Also we pay special attention to the problems occurring during replacement process.

1. What is needed to replace a drive belt and what types of this detail can be installed in car.
2. Process of drive belt replacement: complete instruction.
3. Frequent problems, which occur during replacement of a drive belt.
How to replace a car drive belt?

1. What is needed to replace a drive belt and what types of this detail can be installed in car.

As we already mentioned in introduction, there are several drive belts installed in a car. According to their purpose and functions, they should be divided in following two groups:
- belts responsible for work of VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) or VVEL belts;
- belts responsible for work of other ancillary components of a car.

But, according to construction, all drive belts in automobile are divided into three groups:

- timing belts, which are usually used in VVEL drive gear;

How to replace a car drive belt?
- Serpentine or flat belts, which are used for ancillary components;

How to replace a car drive belt?
- V-belts are also installed on ancillary components.

How to replace a car drive belt?
Let’s observe peculiarities of drive belts via specific examples. Appropriation and distinguishing characteristics of VVEL belts

This element passes drive torque from bent shaft to cast camshaft. Abruption of timing belt can lead to negative implications: major valve and piston damage or even engine cylinders block. Due to this, there are strict requirements to reliability and wearing quality of this detail. Damage of quite cheap VVEL belt may cause heavy expenses for purchasing new engine, which shouldn’t happen to any car owner.

But still, VVEL belt ages. So, to avoid such unpleasantness, it is necessary:
1. To install only original parts. Don’t save your money buying cheap details.

2. You should take the process of VVEL belt replacement serious and follow all expert recommendations. This refers to frequency of replacement and how to mark VVEL belt.

3. Replacing a VVEL belt you must also install tension and idler rollers. These elements wear out as intensively as belt.

4. It is also very important to keep a so-called “car log-book”, in which you can write down the race of your car after each VVEL belt replacement. In this case you won’t miss the date of next replacement.

How to replace a car drive belt?
Where else the drive belts can be used?

This category of drive belts is also called “auxiliaries belts”. These are:
- power steering belt;
- belt of electric generator installed in car battery;
- car environmental control belt;
- engine water pump belt.

Despite of the fact that abruption of auxiliaries belts won’t lead to serious implications as in case of LLEV belt damage, but still such situation can land a car owner into a hot water. That’s why replacement of belts must be made in time. As for the type of belt, which is better to use, we’ll compare them for you:

How to replace a car drive belt?

1. Ancillary components V-belts are not used nowadays, though they have many advantages. They are quite cheap and easy to install. This belt is meant for one component and in case of its failure all others will work with no problem. Instead of tension and idler rollers you can use for installation of V-belt ordinary runners, which just misalign opposite to each other. But in general, V-belts wear out quickly and occasionally require tension adjustment, which is not very practical for modern automobiles.

2. Serpentine belts are usual for modern cars. They are durable and their tension is adjusted automatically by roll tension machine. So, it is logical to consider that their cost is higher, than of V-belts. And replacing serpentine belts you must also replace rollers. If this belt fails, then further exploitation of car is impossible.

As you can see, there is no absolute answer about which belt is better for your car. Moreover, producers sometimes establish higher prices for their cars installing more expensive alternative in it without necessity.

Issues that cause driving belts failures

It is impossible to establish exact working life span of driving belt, because there are many factors that impact on it. It can occur that you’ll have to replace it in a month on one car and on another car you will use it for few years. It depends on:

1. Originality of stuff. Original driving belt are more durable, than universal and especially cheap ones. In any case you should select a belt for your car model. The average working life span of any driving belt is approximately 65 000 km mileage.

2. Conditions of usage. In this case driving style of car owner is as important as road pavement. The more often the car is used, the more intensive its components work and the faster the drive belts wear out.

3. Age of car and its components. The older the components are, the more frequently replacement of belts is performed. So, you should replace them only in case of their failure. Or you’d rather not let this happen. It is better to replace the belts when you see first signs of wearing out or the component with this belt started working incorrectly. In this case you should prepare yourself for driving belt replacement.

How to replace a car drive belt?

What do you need for driving belt replacement?

Set of tools that are necessary for replacement of a driving belt is quite small and can be found in garage of any driver. You need in particular:
- set of screw keys;
- cap keys;
- leveling jack;
- screwdriver;
- crowfoot wrenches;
- boring tool or helical screws (you need tools of small size);
- socket key.

2. Process of drive belt replacement: complete instruction.

We’ll describe this process using the example of VVEL belt replacement, because its installation is quite complicated and includes many nuances, such as marking of VVEL belt.

How to replace a car drive belt?
Before you started, you need to remove plugs from car battery. Also, while replacing process don’t twist the belt, because you won’t be able to place its marks correctly and your car will not start even with new belt. So, replacement of driving belt:

1. Remove protecting cover fixation of necessary belt. Use ordinary screw keys, because it is fixed with screws.

2. Undo the alternator mounting bolt and draw the unit aside.

3. Remove the alternator belt. It will be easy, because it has been eased off after removing fixations from unit.

4. Now you need to adjust marks of Variable Valve Event and Lift. Engage top gear of a car and turn the crank shaft very slowly until marks on its cog wheel match the marks on coupling case. Except marks on coupling case you can also look at engine metallic riffle.

5. Ease the VVEL belt stretching roller and then remove it.

6. After you fixated marks of crankshaft undo the pulley mounting bolt.

7. Remove VVEL belt.

8. Replace old tensioner with new one. It would also be good to inspect a cogwheel. If some cogs are missing, then you must also replace the cogwheel.

9. Take new VVEL belt in a way that all its lettering faced you.

10. Install the belt starting with lower cogwheel and then, holding the tension, you need to fasten it to upper and pump cogwheel.

11. Place back pulley and tension roller.

12. Install all components you removed before in reversed order. The process of drive belt replacement is over. All what’s left is to check belt tension load. You just need turn belt. The steering angle must not exceed 90°. Otherwise the installation is incomplete and incorrect.

How to replace a car drive belt?

3. Frequent problems, which occur during replacement of a drive belt.

Despite of apparent simplicity of drive belt installation, many drivers face problems and complications during this process. First, they might be connected with belt marks (if dealing with VVEL drive belts). In this case the work of car engine will be unstable, the engine rpm will fall or impossible to increase. It is not uncommon, when because of incorrect marks placement you cannot start your car.

In this situation it will be better to turn to experts in car service center, because if you couldn’t cope with the task on the first attempt, you’d better not risk the second time.

How to find out, if you placed the drive belt incorrectly? First, you’ll notice it by “deadness” of component, for which the just installed belt is responsible. If it was VVEL drive belt, then indicator “check” will inform you about it. Besides, there are other absolute criteria that will point on incorrect VVEL drive belt installation:
- starting a car the engine begins to vibrate (quite aloud and dangerous);
- an unpleasant knocking appears under cowl in the area of engine and its components;
- the engine works, but there is an excessive fuel consumption;
- various car components began wearing out fast, including VVEL driving belt.

All these facts confirm that it is better to turn to experts for driving belt replacement. Failure of this part can cause many problems, including engine breakdown. We hope our advices will help you to avoid this fate.

How to replace a car drive belt?

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