Despite being subject to inevitable wear and tear during the lifespan of the engine, the front end auxiliary drive (FEAD) system has not traditionally been subject to any particular maintenance or replacement schedule. However, some vehicle manufacturers are now beginning to introduce FEAD system maintenance into their service schedules, which opens the door for the independent sector to apply similar service principles to the auxiliary belt and the associated components, such as tensioners and idlers, that together make up the FEAD system and take advantage of a genuinely new revenue opportunity.
There are a number of very important reasons why technicians should examine the FEAD system. These include the fact that although it is not directly a safety critical component, the auxiliary belt in the Mercedes Sprinter drives so many vital components – alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, vacuum pumps etc. – and even if its failure does not directly stop the vehicle, it could certainly leave the driver without power to some parts of the vehicle that could make it in effect, un-driveable.
Dayco provides a small tool named the ‘a-WEAR-ness gauge’ with which technicians can quickly and accurately carry out three visual checks (wear in both the profile and the depth of the belt groves, plus any cracks in the belt) that will clearly reveal the condition of the belt.