Take a look underneath your car and you will most likely find a belt or system of belts attached to pulleys on the front of your engine. If there is only one belt wound through several different pulleys, you are looking at a serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is different from other types of belt systems because the serpentine belt is one long, continuous belt that is connected to several different devices. Older systems employed the use of numerous belts to drive the devices in the engine compartment, but after the development of the serpentine belt in 1979, most cars began to use the system for efficiency and ease of use.

Serpentine belts are less prone to stretching and breakage than smaller and weaker individual belts. Tension is more equally distributed along the length of the belt, thereby reducing slippage and stretching. Because serpentine belts are typically longer, larger, and wider than individual belts, they tend to last longer and resist frequent breakage.

Read more: What is a Serpentine Belt?