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    How Serpentine and Timing Belt Systems Work Together

    As complex power transmission systems, understanding how interdependent components of the timing and serpentine system work together is not easy. Since the components of a timing and serpentine system are designed to wear at about the same rate, the system components require replacement at the same time.


    It’s important to understand that the initial cost of complete system repairs will save you and your customers both time and money in the long run. Gates System Smart Belt Education Display provides a visual representation so customers can better understand their vehicle’s systems.

    Serpentine System

    A healthy serpentine system depends on more than just the belt. The tensioner, internal springs, dampers, idler and decoupler pulleys are all critical to engine performance, and are designed to wear at the same rate as the belt. The tensioner controls belt alignment, and worn pulleys can cause noise, excess heat, or belt slippage, all leading to engine failure. By replacing all serpentine system components at the same time, you’ll equip your vehicles for the many miles ahead.

    Timing System

    About 90% of timing belt failure is caused by tensioner or pulley failures. By replacing these components at the same time as the belt, you can prevent major engine damage. In addition, replace your timing belt driven water pumps when changing the timing belt, as a faulty water pump can cause engine-overheating, breakdown, and result in costly engine repairs.

    Be System Smart Display

    The dual-sided, 3D interactive belt display shows how the individual components of the timing and the serpentine systems work together, enabling repair shops to educate customers on the importance of total vehicle system maintenance. By helping customers understand how components work and wear in unison, they can make informed decisions regarding total system replacement in order to prevent inconvenient breakdowns and expensive repairs.


    System education ties in directly with Gates Be System Smart educational initiative, which promotes inspection of the serpentine and timing systems at 60K miles and replacement of worn components at 90K miles, or as advised by the vehicle manufacturer. For more informationon our Be System Smart initiative, contact your local Gates representative.