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In No Country for Old Men, Anton offers a coin toss to a shop keeper.

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There is a row of cable-tie looking items hanging behind the shop keeper. What are they? I have never seen them in a gas station? Must be specific of that time, 1980s or that region.

  • They could be driving belts, but you should ask someone who knows more about cars, rather than movies. – TK-421 Oct 19 at 6:16
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    @TK-421, thanks. But when I came up with this question, I did not know they were related to cars. – Yu Zhang Oct 19 at 8:47
  • Anton has stopped at a gas station / convenience store / automobile service station. He has gone in to pay for filling up his car with fuel. He wants to remain anonymous as he travels in a stolen car. Not to mention, he has probably killed the car’s owner to acquire it. As an automotive shop, it would carry and sell products related to cars. Especially products that require constant and frequent service (oil, coolant, drive belts, etc). It would also carry products of convenience for people on roadtrips. They were, and still are, quite common on US state and federal highways. – Dean F. Oct 19 at 12:56
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    Those definitely are belts. But this is a film about death — as personified as Anton Chigurh — keep in mind those belts look like nooses. That coin toss was a life/death game for Anton. The fan belts being shown in that way cannot be an accident in a film like this. – Giacomo1968 Oct 20 at 16:42
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They are engine accessory drive belts. They are attached between the engine crank shaft and the engine components like:

  • Water pump
  • Alternator
  • Air conditioning compressor
  • Power steering pump (in some cases)
  • Cooling fan (when not electric)
  • Superchargers
  • Etc.

Most of these separate belts were replaced by one longer drive belt called the serpentine belt. It was attached between all or most of the components listed as well as various pulleys to provide mechanical power from the engine to run them.

Prior to 1990, the belts shown were pretty ubiquitous to every car. And, like any other part, were prone to wear. Checking and replacing them was a common point of regular maintenance. More common than changing tires since your average driver could do it themselves. Almost as common as checking the oil.

These types of belts were thinner than the more robust serpentine belts. The serpentine belt in a shop would look very much like a thicker version of the belts shown. Just doubled up in the package due to their length. Some of the belts in this shot may be early serpentine belts. Their thickness would be the determine factor versus a pack of two, thinner, drive belts.

Even into the beginning of the twenty-first century, cars with regular drive belts would have been plentiful on the American road as daily drivers. Now, they are more of a Collectors item. But, even as late as 2010, I would change my own serpentine belts and tensioner pulleys.

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    "Engine accessory drive belts" known to common people as "fan belts." – JRE Oct 19 at 14:13
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    Oh my. As a 60+ year old man, I rolled my eyes at this question hard enough that it hurt. Then I realized that not only do kids no longer work on cars, in general, neither do their parents.... – CGCampbell Oct 19 at 16:41
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    @CGCampbell my car is 13 years old and the water pump is electrical and has no belt, the cooling fans are also electrical, but there is a serpentine belt for the aircon and power steering – Richie Frame Oct 19 at 19:34
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    Another term I've seen for these is "V belts", referring to the cross sectional shape of the belt. – Fred Larson Oct 19 at 20:41
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    @CGCampbell Me too, and I'm only mid-40s. That said, I do get my car serviced at a garage these days, but only because I can better afford the money than the time. – Graham Oct 20 at 12:07
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Here's a clip. There are frames that are more zoomed out, such as 4:24. At 0:47, you can see that they're labelled with the number 15540. When I googled that number, the third result was this. Other than the first two results, all of the results on the first page seem to be fan belts. Also, at 0:05, you can see this is a gas station, which suggests that they may be automotive supplies.

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  • good observation, thanks – Yu Zhang Oct 20 at 10:04

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