Let's start this post today with a simple fact: heat damages CVT belts.
That’s right, those costly belts that are engineered to withstand high temperatures and heavy loads can in fact be damaged through exposure to heat. Surprised? Probably not. This seems to be common knowledge. So, the million dollar question is: At what point does this damage occur?
Or in other words: how hot is too hot?
If you’ve asked this question before, you already know there isn’t a consensus out there, just an ongoing conversation. The answer you receive depends on who you ask, as everyone seems to have diagnosed their own belt temperature threshold at which heat damage occurs.
Based on our own research and reports we’ve received from other UTV enthusiasts, we feel like most heat damage to your belt occurs beyond the 200-210° range. With that said, predicting heat damage and belt wear is a little more complex than simply avoiding 210°+ temperatures. It’s important to understand that temperature isn’t the only thing that matters, it’s also time spent at the temperature. Continually exposing your belt to fairly high temperatures will damage your belt just as surely as hitting a temperature ten-fifteen degrees higher just once or twice.
High temperatures are so damaging to belt life, because belts are predominantly comprised of neoprene (rubber). At temperatures in excess of 200 degrees, the properties of neoprene begin to change as a result of heat damage. When the belt cools, it will stiffen and harden. This results in reduced elasticity and a much shorter use-life for the belt.
On our RZR at the shop, we usually see an average of 200° on our rides, and we have logged over 1000 miles on that belt. From talking with people that ride in the low 200°s, they’re seeing about the same type of belt life, whereas people that ride under 200 degrees put thousands of miles on their belts without a problem.
Tell Us What Temps You're Seeing
We’re putting together some belt temperature reports that will reflect what riders can expect in terms of belt temperature as they ride and we need your help! We’ll be the first to acknowledge that not all belts are the same, just as no two UTVs or their drivers are the same. So, we’re trying to involve as many people as possible, to ensure our findings are accurate.
We want to see what belt temperatures you’re noticing as you ride: average, highest recorded, and if/when your belt broke.
As more data comes in, we’ll be able to create more specialized reports so you can know what temperatures other riders are seeing on different terrains or with different mods on their rides.
Help us build this free online resource by sharing your observed temperatures today!
The 3.0 Edition Infrared Belt Temp Gauge
Our latest Belt Temperature Gauges make it easier than ever to avoid cooking your belt when you hit the trail. Now featuring multi-color LED alerts, our 3.0 Edition Gauge will help you monitor the temperature of your belt without taking your eyes off the trail. Stay in the green, and see how long your belt will last!