DENVER (Oct. 14, 2009) — Gates Corp. has introduced a belt wear education program aimed at helping automotive service technicians and motorists identify signs of wear on vehicle serpentine belts.
The program includes a new Web site, gatesbeltwear.com, as well as the availability of a free serpentine belt wear gauge—which can be ordered via the Web site—that can aid in diagnosing the wear on serpentine belts. Gates said the Web site features a video, tech tips, diagnostic illustrations and other useful information.
“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),” said Ben Smith, Gates' 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. Cracks and chunk-outs rarely occur with EPDM belts and instead, like tires, they wear out gradually over time as they experience rubber loss, the company said. When this happens, a belt loses its ability to grip or function properly and can slip, putting a strain on engine components, causing them to malfunction and eventually fail, according to Gates, which cited statistics from the Car Care Council that one out of five vehicles needs a new drive belt.
Gates, a global manufacturer of industrial and automotive products, systems and components, has operations in 25 countries and is part of the Industrial & Automotive Group of Tomkins Plc, a global engineering company.