The first serpentine belt was used in a Mercedes Benz in 1985. The serpentine belt is also known as the multi-v, poly-v, or multi-rib belt. It is a belt that drives several peripheral devices in vehicle’s engine.
Some of these peripheral devices include the water pump, the alternator, the power steering pump, the A/C compressor, and the air pump.
The serpentine belt may be guided by an idler pulley and/or a belt tensioner. These could be spring loaded, manual, or hydraulic.
Older multiple belt systems used more space and were less efficient than the streamlined and continuous serpentine belt. It is also wider than the old single thinner belts. This increases its longevity and allows for higher tension.
The higher tension capability of the serpentine belt reduces slippage. This further increases the long-lasting nature of the belt while also allowing for better fuel economy and available power. A serpentine belt is also easier to maintain and to replace than multiple belts.
The only real drawback to the serpentine belt is that because it runs multiple peripheral devices, if it goes out, so do all the functions of the peripheral devices. However, regular visual checks of the integrity of the belt can prevent this. If you don’t know how, you can take it to a Utah auto repair center to be looked at.