It doesn’t matter if you drive a UTV, ATV or snowmobile, you’ll need to break your new powersports CVT belt in using two heat cycles. After following proper installation procedures, slowly bring the machine to normal operating temperature without exceeding 3/4 throttle for about 20 minutes. If at all possible, stay on a flat terrain. Let the machine and belt cool down completely – it should take about 30 minutes. Then run your machine through the same process a second time. Lastly, make sure to check the belt height according to the owner’s manual.
Dayco has more than 16,000 belt routing diagrams available on its Find Your Part search platform. If you come across a specific part number that does not have a diagram, and you can’t find it online or under the hood, feel free to use the Contact Us form and let us know the year, make and model and we’ll look it up and email it to you the same day. You can also call our tech hotline and be connected directly with one of our team members – (800) 848-7902.
Beyond looking at the belt directly for physical signs of damage – such as swelling, cracks, or disfiguration – pay attention to how your car is functioning. Noise is often a telltale sign of a bad belt, as is an issue with your power steering or a/c. Your vehicle could even overheat due to a bad or worn belt.
Belt wear can be difficult to detect because newer belts made with EPDM rubber tend to wear like tire tread, where there is material loss from the rib surface. A new belt will have a traditional “V” profile in the grooves between the ribs. On a worn EPDM belt, however, the groove profile will have the appearance of a “U”. One of the best ways to measure wear is by using a device like the Dayco Awearness Gauge, which helps you inspect a belt three different ways – by analyzing rib depth, checking rib profile and identifying cracks. If your belt has 90,000 miles or more, it is definitely time to change it. Check out our video for a step–by–step guide of measuring belt wear.
Without maintenance history of a car, the best possible way is to check CarFax for a repair history report, ask the previous owner, or look for a sticker under the hood indicating it has been changed. If all these fail, best course is to have a technician inspect it. Some OEMs recommend replacement as early as 30,000 miles, while others suggest maintenance around 100,000 miles. While timing belts are relatively inexpensive, if one breaks while the engine is running, it could cost thousands of dollars in damage so it’s important to be proactive. The best course of action is to change the belt if you cannot verify that it has been replaced at the OE suggested intervals.
Most timing belts will have two double dotted line marks and 4 to 6 solid marks. Double dotted lines are for the crankshaft, and the solid line is for camshaft alignment. Dayco includes detailed instructions with all timing kits so follow the instructions closely as they vary by make and model. Proper timing belt installation is critical to engine performance and long belt life. A belt installed incorrectly can cause immediate engine damage.
As long as nothing is removed from the routing system, like the A/C compressor, the OE stock belt length will still work. You can use our Find Your Part search or the Dayco app to find the recommended Dayco replacement belt.
When a belt breaks quickly after installation, it is likely due to one of the four reasons:
- It was not 100% seated in a pulley.
- Worn pulley bearings caused the belt to “walk off” the pulley surface.
- A damaged pulley could have ‘cut’ the belt.
- A malfunctioning tensioner caused belt misalignment and damage.
Be sure to check the tension and fit before completing the job and remember to change the pulley and tensioner when you replace a belt to avoid any issues like this.
There are two very distinct noises caused by different issues – one is a chirp, the other is a squeal. Your best course of action is to conduct a water test to see which one you are dealing with. With the vehicle idling, spray water on the belt’s rib surface. Then listen closely. If you hear a sharp, high-pitched, repetitive noise of short duration that is worse at low engine speeds (idle), you are dealing with a chirp alignment issue. If you hear a high-pitched noise that typically lasts several seconds and increases in volume as engine speed increases, you are dealing with a squeal, which is typically caused by a slip between the belt and pulleys. The noise will go away with the water spray if it’s a squeal, it will not if it’s a chirp. Check out our article on diagnosing belt noise for more.
There’s a few possible causes for a chirp: pulley misalignment, improper installation, extremely worn belt ribs, worn pulley bearings or contamination. We suggest the following solutions:
- Check alignment of all pulleys, either with a straight edge or a laser alignment tool.
- Ensure all accessory pulleys and brackets are tightened snug to mounting surfaces.
- Inspect and replace all accessories/pulleys that are difficult to rotate (i.e. rough/seized bearings) or show excessive wobble/free rock.
- Double check the power steering pulley and harmonic balancer, as they are often a common cause for misalignment.
A squeal is usually caused by low bely tension or contamination. To rectify the problem, we suggest the following steps:
- Properly tension manual applications during installation (35 lbs. per rib) and then re-tension after 5 minutes of run-in (30 lbs. per rib). This allows the belt to seat in the pulleys.
On vehicles with automatic belt tensioners, the tensioner pulley should turn freely without binding. The tensioner arm should move smoothly through its entire range of motion and there should be adequate tension. Always check the tensioner bearing for noise and wear. Replace any tensioner where the bearing feels rough or the pulley has signs of excessive run-out (wobble).
- With the belt removed, inspect all accessory pulleys and idlers to ensure free and smooth rotation. If there is binding or rough rotation (dry bearing), then the pulley and/or accessory should be replaced.
- Check for contamination. If the belt has been in contact with motor oil, power steering fluid, antifreeze or any other petroleum-based lubricant, it will cause the EPDM belt to swell, leading to noise. Other than washer fluid, replace any serpentine belt that has been oil soaked. NEVER try to solve issues with belt dressing.
Regular inspection of all drive belts, tensioners and accessories should be recommended once the vehicle passes 60,000 miles. And when the belt is worn and ready for replacement, which is typically around 90,000 miles, the pulley and tensioner should also be replaced. That’s because the drive works as a system. Replacing only the belt will often result in short belt life because the tensioner likely has worn springs or the pulleys’ bearings are worn and causing a slight misalignment. Even the pulleys themselves can wear and cause reduced belt life and/or noise. Replacing the entire front end accessory drive system will result in another 90,000 miles of trouble free driving.
Belt wear can be difficult to detect because newer belts made with EPDM rubber tend to wear like tire tread, where there is material loss from the rib surface. A new belt will have a traditional “V” profile in the grooves between the ribs. On a worn EPDM belt, however, the groove profile will have the appearance of a “U”. One of the best ways to measure wear is by using a device like the Dayco Awearness Gauge, which helps you inspect a belt three different ways – by analyzing rib depth, checking rib profile and identifying cracks. If your belt has 90,000 miles or more, it is definitely time to change it. Check out our video for a step-by-step guide of measuring belt wear.