Most modern cars have ditched the old-style V-belts, instead opting for a serpentine belt that provides mechanical power to several components like the alternator, power steering pump, and A/C compressor. The serpentine belt has a few advantages: it slips less than a V-belt, it saves space underhood by not requiring all the components’ pulleys to be offset from each other, and it reduces parasitic drag on the engine. Shop Advance for high quality serpentine belts you can trust from brands like Carquest, Driveworks, and Dayco. This is a great beginner level project you can tackle in an afternoon, and remember to replace the belt tensioner, which may wear out around the same time as the belt.
The serpentine belt has a few distinct advantages over the old system of multiple V-belts to power accessories like the A/C compressor or power steering pump. A single serpentine belt means less parasitic drag on the engine and is a simpler system than using separate V-belts and pulleys. It also is more space-efficient underhood, since components don't have to be offset from each other to accommodate multiple pulleys and belts.
The serpentine belt is wider than older belt designs, with a ribbed surface on one side and fabric cord reinforcement. While the serpentine belt can last for a long time, it will still need to be replaced a couple of times in the life cycle of a vehicle. If you're replacing the serpentine belt, it's a good idea to replace the tensioner at the same time - there's no lubrication point on this idler-style wheel that maintains the belt's proper tension, and it can be prone to failure. Shop Advance for a wide selection of serpentine belts. When you are ready to start the job, you can even borrow a loaner tool kit](/o/loaner-tools) from your local store to make the job go easier.