Is it time to replace the serpentine belt on your Toyota? You may be trying to decide whether to buy an OEM or aftermarket replacement belt. Which option delivers the most value? That's what this guide is for.
In this guide, we'll explore the important factors to consider when shopping for a replacement serpentine belt. We'll also compare OEM and aftermarket serpentine belts. You'll find that OEM is the much better option. Read on to find out why.
What Is An OEM Serpentine Belt?
The auto manufacturer, or its qualified vendor, manufactures OEM serpentine belts. That means OEM serpentine belts are exact replicas of the stock belt in your engine. Toyota has a large selection of serpentine belts. Each selection is made specifically for a certain model or small group of models. For example, this Toyota serpentine belt is for certain 2013-2019 models, including the:
What Is An Aftermarket Serpentine Belt?
Third party companies produce aftermarket serpentine belts. The auto manufacturer (Toyota) has no control over any of the aftermarket belts on the market. The design and dimensions of an aftermarket serpentine belt may differ from its OEM counterpart.
Now, let's talk about the 3 most important factors of a serpentine belt.
1. The Quality Of The Materials
Serpentine belts may be simple parts, but they undergo a lot of heavy use and abuse. A serpentine belt spins nonstop as long as the engine is on. That generates high temperatures. Such heavy use and abuse will damage a lot of materials. For example, a serpentine belt made with the wrong materials may:
- Develop cracking
That's why it's important to get a serpentine belt made with the right materials. With OEM serpentine belts, you don't have to worry about the quality of the materials. Toyota took great care to build its serpentine belts with quality reinforced rubber that won't shrink, fray, or break.
Aftermarket serpentine belts are a hit or miss when it comes to material quality. It's pretty common for aftermarket serpentine belts to fail early due to cheap materials.
2. The Dimensions
The serpentine belt is such an important part. Without a functioning serpentine belt, many of the parts within your engine won't run. That's why you want a belt that comes with precise dimensions. In other words, OE dimensions. A belt that's the correct length and width will perform optimally.
- If you use a serpentine belt that's too tight, it will wear out quickly.
- If you use a serpentine belt that's too loose, the belt will slip and the pulleys won't rotate at the correct speed.
- If you use a serpentine belt that's too thin, the belt may break.
- If you use a serpentine belt that's too thick, the belt may fall off.
OEM serpentine belts always come with the right dimensions. Aftermarket manufacturers design their serpentine belts with their own dimensions. Some manufacturers follow OE dimensions, but not all of them. It's better to play it safe and go the OEM route.
Belts are affordable, but you still want to get one that's warrantied. It shows that the manufacturer stands behind its products. Many - if not all - aftermarket serpentine belts don't come with a warranty.
Toyota offers a comprehensive parts warranty policy. It's good for 12 months and unlimited miles. So if for some reason your OEM serpentine belt fails early, you can get it replaced for free.
The Bottom Line
OEM serpentine belts are the better option when it comes to:
- Cost savings
We offer wholesale pricing for all OEM Toyota parts, including serpentine belts. Look up your Toyota model to find the right part number! If you need help finding the right part number for your model, you're welcome to contact us.