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What Is The Difference Between the Serpentine Belt and Timing Belt?

The average car has over 30,000 parts, so it can easily confuse some of them. To be specific, your vehicle has multiple belts that most drivers confuse. They are the serpentine belt and timing belt. Even though they may look similar, they both serve different purposes for your automobile. 


The serpentine belt is a long belt that runs continuously, and you can usually find it on the outside of the engine block. It is a long, black, thin, snake-like rubber belt. It also has vertical ribbing. The serpentine belt transfers the power from the engine to various parts of your car, including the water pump, power steering pump, alternator, oil pump, air conditioning compressor, and more. All of these accessories are very important to keep your car running as it should.


The timing belt is located inside the engine, and it is responsible for keeping the crankshaft and camshaft in sync. The timing belt ensures that the engine intake and exhaust valves open and close on time to guarantee the pistons do their job correctly. The most prominent feature of a timing belt is its ribbed horizontal teeth. The space between each pair of teeth should be evenly spaced to ensure perfect timing. The timing belt is made to be very durable to last up to or beyond 100K miles. 


As you can see, both these belts have essential but separate roles. You can distinctly tell which is which by looking at the ribbing and their location. However, the failure of a timing belt is far worse than the breakage of a serpentine belt because engine damage is not cheap.


Over time, both these belts will naturally wear down, requiring replacements. If you need help inspecting your serpentine belt or timing belt, feel free to stop by X-tra Mile Auto Care today.