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How long have you had serpentine (accessory) belts last?

Globetrot1

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LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
I'm at about 97,000 miles on a 2008 with a 3.8L V6. I look at the underside of the serpentine belt on the pulleys every few weeks so I can see the ribs and look around the engine bay. There is not very much in the way of cracks and irregularities on the belt.

I have it on my list of things to do. Would you just push it out to 100,000 miles? What sort of service life have you gotten from your serpentine belts in your LaCrosses?
 

Frisbee

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I'm a real "belt and suspenders" kind of guy, so I typically keep a new belt in the trunk as a backup. When I get to whatever odometer reading that I start to think about needing a new belt (say, 100k miles, maybe even less), I put the new belt on and keep the old one in the trunk as an emergency backup.

I also make sure that I've got the proper hardware (e.g. wrench of appropriate size for the idler pulley) to install my replacement belt on the road, if necessary.
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2007LucerneCXL

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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
Rubber ages with years not milage alone, as it's a minor expense compared to letting loose while on the road no reason to wait IMO.
 

Globetrot1

Member
43
12
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Buick Ownership
LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
I'm a real "belt and suspenders" kind of guy, so I typically keep a new belt in the trunk as a backup. When I get to whatever odometer reading that I start to think about needing a new belt (say, 100k miles, maybe even less), I put the new belt on and keep the old one in the trunk as an emergency backup.

I also make sure that I've got the proper hardware (e.g. wrench of appropriate size for the idler pulley) to install my replacement belt on the road, if necessary.
I won't be doing it. I can't work on it where I live and I wouldn't want to worry about getting the tension right. I agree with keeping the old one in the trunk. I've always asked for the old one. I'm thinking of asking for a Gates belt, which is or is close to GM OEM. I'm figuring ... what ... 1/2 labor time and the cost of the belt? Does this sound about right, so around $ 100?

Rubber ages with years not milage alone, as it's a minor expense compared to letting loose while on the road no reason to wait IMO.
Yes. I just looked at it this weekend. It's in very good condition for its age. I live in a moister area. I've talked to people who live in Phoenix and all their rubber (tires, belts, hoses) on their cars have lower longevity. I'll try to push out another 3,000 miles and do it at 100,000, even if it still looks good. Now, if it suddenly looked more worn, I'd change it sooner.
- - - - -
Any ideas on the cost for this at a dealer or independent mechanic? I don't want a lube oil filter place doing it.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
It's a 5-10 minutes to change a belt and there is no tension to be set as that's what the belt tension pully is doing. Here's a video on the basic GM 3.8L series belt change as a FYI what's involved.

 

Globetrot1

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LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
Thank you. Very similar, if not the same, in terms of the engine pulley arrangement. I didn't realize the tensioner had a spring loaded aspect that brings it right back to where it should be.

My first 2 cars had 3 and 4 separate belts, respectively - power steering, alternator, air conditioning compressor, (and air injection pump)!
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oldschool

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'03 Buick LeSabre, '07 Allure CXL
I changed my belt last fall, car was 12 years old and had 320,000km. Original belt. I don't believe in spending money on things that can be inspected easily on a routine basis. Lift the hood to check the oil, have a quick look at the belt, if it looks like it's cracking in the grooved side then change it.
 

tombalas

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2016 Buick Lacrosse Leather
It really is never the rubber belt that fails due to age/rot; it is the idler pulley that wear out first, fails, and that causes the belt to just shred to pieces. I've had one car (a Saab) where the idler pulley failed at around 115,000 miles, and I had to muscle that thing home with no power steering, and since the Saab's water pump was belt driven, I nervously watched the engine temp needle start moving into the red. I've also had a Chevy that went over 240,000 miles without ever having an issue with the idler, so YMMV. But at 100,000, you've certainly gotten your money's worth on that belt and pulley, so it may be due for a change just for the peace of mind.
 

FirstBuick

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Cincinnati
I went ahead and replaced mine at 82000 when I did the water pump, which just made sense. I have a 2007 Ford Five Hundred with 166.700 on it with the original belt, still looks fine. I think it's just one of those judgement calls
 

Globetrot1

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Buick Ownership
LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
I changed my belt last fall, car was 12 years old and had 320,000km. Original belt. I don't believe in spending money on things that can be inspected easily on a routine basis. Lift the hood to check the oil, have a quick look at the belt, if it looks like it's cracking in the grooved side then change it.
Thank you. That's about 200,000 miles in imperial terms. It looks pretty good. I'd say 90 to 95% of its miles are on the freeway turning a leisurely 1,700 to 1,800 rpm. I often wonder if there's a spot I'm not seeing!

It really is never the rubber belt that fails due to age/rot; it is the idler pulley that wear out first, fails, and that causes the belt to just shred to pieces. I've had one car (a Saab) where the idler pulley failed at around 115,000 miles, and I had to muscle that thing home with no power steering, and since the Saab's water pump was belt driven, I nervously watched the engine temp needle start moving into the red. I've also had a Chevy that went over 240,000 miles without ever having an issue with the idler, so YMMV. But at 100,000, you've certainly gotten your money's worth on that belt and pulley, so it may be due for a change just for the peace of mind.
I agree. It's about peace of mind.

I went ahead and replaced mine at 82000 when I did the water pump, which just made sense. I have a 2007 Ford Five Hundred with 166.700 on it with the original belt, still looks fine. I think it's just one of those judgement calls
If so much is coming off the side or front of the engine for the water pump, then why not?

Thank you for all the responses on different longevity and other systems affecting the decision or need to do it.
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HotZ28

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1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
This is a nobrainer! Belt change & maybe the idlers & tensioner pulleys, if they seem to have loose bearings or the outer surface worn. With that many miles, you are driving on borrowed time without a failure! Preventive maintenance is the best option! Those parts are cheap compared to a failure, engine damage & tow service.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Agree on being proactive not reactive and trying to see how far any part can be pushed is really a owners choice. I remember people, before fuel injection, who wanted to see how far they could drive once the gas gauge hit "E", one day they were on the side of road going to get a gas can at the station LOL.
 

Globetrot1

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LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
This is a nobrainer! Belt change & maybe the idlers & tensioner pulleys, if they seem to have loose bearings or the outer surface worn. With that many miles, you are driving on borrowed time without a failure! Preventive maintenance is the best option! Those parts are cheap compared to a failure, engine damage & tow service.
Agree on being proactive not reactive and trying to see how far any part can be pushed is really a owners choice. I remember people, before fuel injection, who wanted to see how far they could drive once the gas gauge hit "E", one day they were on the side of road going to get a gas can at the station LOL.
Thank you. I am balancing out what everyone says. I got responses where people went upwards of 150,000 miles and said to keep an eye on it. I am getting these more cautious responses that the belt should be changed immediately.

We all sort of know our car's quirks. When my low fuel light comes on, I drive no more than 40 miles on it, though I rarely get to low fuel. My thought is that there are 2 gallons in there and I might pull in 20 mpg, hence 40 miles. I won't go that far. As it turns out, I wind up adding about 14 gallons right after the indicator comes on - on a 17 gallon tank. As for the belt, the one on my '92 Regal showed some scattered cracks in the ribs and I changed it at about 80K to 85K. (Even though they are both 3800s and W bodies, the cars feel quite a bit different from each other.)

I'm at about 97K. I will replace it at 100K, even if it looks great, and, if deteriorates rapidly, I'll do it as soon as I spot that. I lift the hood 2 or 3 times a month to check fluids and other things to the best of my ability.
 

Rt Jam

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Allure Super
It will like Tombalas said, it will be a pulley, accessory or bearing that fails before that belt.

I just did the idler on my 09 Malibu with 320,00km. Reused original belt.

All this talk about piece of mind, it's cheap insurance. Sure I get that but it all adds up to something that didn't really need to be changed. If it's inspected regularly it will give you warning, a good belt will not suddenly snap off in the middle of a trip. Same can be said for half worn tires or do you really need to keep topping off the fuel tank? It's your time and money, I'd rather save mine for something I need right now or don't needlessly spend it.
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Globetrot1

Member
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Buick Ownership
LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
I took a photo of the belt - (1) one from the top and (2) one from twisting the top belt out so the grooves on both sides can be seen.

This is at 97,500 miles. Normally, I'd be at 100,000 miles in short order. It looks like it will take more time to rack up those 100,000 miles these days.
KIMG7074.JPG

KIMG7076.JPG

How do they look? Would you comfortably go a little longer, checking under the hood every few weeks?
 

2007LucerneCXL

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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
So at 100k do unicorns come out and bless the car with their tears lol. Don't see the point, change it now and skip the 100k idea as it doesn't mean anything and take the old belt toss it in the trunk as a backup.
 

Globetrot1

Member
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Buick Ownership
LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
It was just to show a visual. Not much more than that, since I brought up the topic.

As for changing it, I don't work on my car, except for changing air filters, bulbs, etc. and it will be hard to find someone who does at this time. The car is barely driven.
 
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