Auto Service World
News   June 8, 2012   by CARS Magazine

Gates Corporation Launches Smartphone App for Belt Wear Diagnostics

Gates Corp. announced the launch of the Parts Image Capture (PIC) Gauge Belt Wear App, a first-of-its-kind smartphone app that delivers accurate measurement and evaluation of serpentine belt wear.


Gates Corp. announced the launch of the Parts Image Capture (PIC) Gauge Belt Wear App, a first-of-its-kind smartphone app that delivers accurate measurement and evaluation of serpentine belt wear.

Using state-of-the-art digital imaging technology in concert with industry-standard specifications for serpentine belts, Gates PIC Gauge utilizes a photograph taken with the smartphone’s built-in camera, which is then analyzed by patent-pending software to determine the degree of rib wear detected. The analysis returns one of three results: within specifications (green), wear detected (yellow), or replace belt (red). Belt wear measurements can be captured from any automotive or heavy-duty K-section serpentine belt.

“One of the easiest and best ways to avoid expensive repairs down the road is to replace a vehicle’s serpentine belt on time,” said David Miller, vice-president of Marketing at Gates. “While the typical customer may not think to have the belt checked, PIC Gauge allows professional technicians and service writers to easily inspect a vehicle’s belt while in the shop for routine maintenance or repair.”

It is estimated there are more than 240 million vehicles on U.S. roads today (R.L. Polk & Co.). According to the Car Care Council, one out of every five of those vehicles needs a new serpentine belt.

Since the late 1990s, auto manufacturers have phased out the use of neoprene belts and now install ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) belts on new models. EPDM is a superior technology with better performance characteristics but, like any wear part, belts made with this material have a limited service life. As EPDM belts age, they rarely show wear symptoms such as cracks and chunk-outs that are typical of neoprene belts. PIC Gauge is able to detect material loss and wear on these newer belts.

The PIC Gauge is simple to use and the results, which are immediate, can be stored and retrieved for future reference. It is the first digital belt wear tool available that is designed for professional technicians, service writers, and do-it-yourselfers. Gates has enabled auto technicians to regularly and easily check vehicle belts, helping the consumer avoid costly breakdowns and potentially dangerous situations.

Gates PIC Gauge Belt Wear App is currently available for the iPhone and may be downloaded for free from Apple’s App Store.


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