How can I tell if it’s time for a UTV drive belt replacement? How does a side-by-side drive belt work? What’s the best UTV drive belt? If you’re searching for answers to these questions or just trying to learn more about UTV drive belts, you’ve come to the right place. Consider this your handy guide to everything side-by-side drive belts.
Drive belts get power from the engine to the transmission. Most UTVs use a CVT, which stands for Continuously Variable Transmission. That means a side-by-side has an infinite number of gear ratios available for every situation. Without the belt, the CVT wouldn’t work at all—that’s why they’re so important!
You’ll find the drive belt in the CVT behind the clutch cover, inside the clutch housing, looped around both sheaves. Drive belts are generally made from black rubber or rubber-like compounds surrounding aramid cords. They’re oblong in shape and lined with evenly-spaced ridges of teeth on both sides.
When you put your foot on the gas, the primary clutch squeezes the drive belt. The higher the RPM, the harder the belt is squeezed. That squeeze pulls the belt, which turns the driven clutch. Those combined actions transfer power to the transmission which moves the vehicle. Obviously, there are a lot of other complicated processes involved in moving the vehicle, but we won’t get into that here.
Drive belts are considered a wear-and-tear item, just like brakes or tires. Since the belt is engaged every time you put your foot on the gas, you can imagine how much damage can happen over time. You’re going to have to replace the belt eventually, but certain environmental factors or riding styles may have you replacing belts more often. While you can’t avoid replacing belts, you can work to extend their longevity.
There’s no way to know exactly how long your belt will last, but here’s a few indicators that your belt may have a shorter lifespan:
There are two pretty obvious ways to know when your belt is toast. First is the smell: burnt rubber. The second is a “thunk-ka-thunk” sound from down below. At that point, you know for sure something is messed up—especially if you get the nasty burnt rubber stink and then the horrible clunky sound right after.
Once you remove the CVT cover, you’ll find a wad of little rubber and cord bits from inside the belt and other little scraps hiding all over the place. Make sure you check your skid plate, air ducts, and engine for little bits that may have traveled. You want to get all that junk out before you replace the belt. (Tip: compressed air can come in handy to blow scraps out of hard-to-reach places.)
Some riders replace their belts on a tight schedule, like every 1,000 miles or so. Getting yourself on a schedule gives you more control over when and where you replace your belt. Pretty much anybody would rather replace a belt in their garage than on a muddy trail!
When you tear that OEM belt to shreds, do yourself a favor—upgrade to a GBoost belt. They’re made with ultra-strong aramid fiber cords to prevent separation. They’re also highly heat resistant, flexible, and strong enough to put up with more abuse than OEM.
They come in four flavors to suit any rider’s needs:
You can count on GBoost for high-performing, reliable UTV replacement belts every time. They’re made better to keep even the roughest riders on the trail longer. You can’t go wrong with GBoost.