The Different Types Of Car Belts And Their Functions

The engine of a vehicle has plenty of various components that perform different functions. However, none of these parts would work had there been no drive belt. There are different types of car belts, and their job is to keep the engine running by transferring power to various parts. They do this by having constant friction with a number of pulleys. For this reason, a loose or damaged belt affects the performance of the engine component related to it.

Types Of Car Belts: How Many Belts Does A Car Have?

How many belts are in a car? Several types and we are going to discuss some of the most common among them. Here’s a brief discussion of the standard belts in a car and how they work.

1. Timing Belts

belts in a car
Car engine with timing belt. (Photo Source: highlinecarcare)

Also known as a Gilmer belt and camshaft drive belt, the job of a timing belt is to help crankshaft turning the camshaft. The rubber-made belt opens and closes engine valves with the pistons in a synchronized fashion.

In modern vehicles, this belt has taken the place of the timing chain. The failure of the belt causes less damage to the pistons and valves than the belt.

2. V-belts

how many belts are in a car
V-belt. (Photo Source: dreamstime)

When a car has multiple belts, they are called v-belts. Originated from the crankshaft, they run through various components including the alternator, power steering pump, AC compressor, and water pump and supply them with power to function. These are mostly seen in older    cars.

These belts hardly slip from their circuit, and the failure of one belt does not affect all engine functions. However, all v-belts wear out almost at the same time. So, you may have to replace all of them at the same time. Fluid contamination and regular wear and tear are the main reasons for the malfunction of these belts.


3. Serpentine Belts

car engine belt
A serpentine belt. (Photo Source: throttledlife)

A prolonged serpent-like belt that runs through all engine components and powers them up. It is the alternative of multiple v-belts in newer cars. The belt is a standard in modern vehicles.

As a single belt supplies power to almost all engine accessories, multiple components will be affected if the belt loosens or gets damaged. However, it is easy to replace and you have to spend on only a single belt.

A failed serpentine belt creates a screeching or squeaking sound. When it fails, it may cause the entire engine to stop functioning.

Drive Belt Vs Serpentine Belt

There is actually no difference between a drive belt and a serpentine belt. Most cars have one or two drive belts. It is also called a serpentine belt when there is only one drive belt in a car.

Whether it is a drive or serpentine belt, it is a part of the accessories that drive a car’s engine. The rubber-made component lasts for a long time, something between 40,000 and 70,000 miles. However, it is not rare to see them lasting for more than 100 thousand miles.

These are common types of car belts. The engine’s good health and operation mostly depend on the condition of these belts.