When to replace a serpentine belt? (The answer is found)

Under ideal circumstances, your car’s serpentine belt should last 60,000–100,000 miles. It’s important to replace this belt as part of your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance (even if it looks okay) to avoid it breaking while you’re on the road.

How often does a serpentine belt need to be replaced?

  • Serpentine belts are designed to last 60,000 to 90,000 miles before replacement. Manufacturers recommend inspecting them every six months or at every oil change. This belt drives every accessory on the vehicle, and a break strands the vehicle.

How do you know when to replace the serpentine belt?

The easiest way to know that a new serpentine belt is needed is if you hear it squealing while the engine is running. A heavy rainstorm might cause a bit of squealing, but if there are any fluid leaks, it’s time to replace it right away.

How many years does a serpentine belt last?

Under ideal circumstances, you’ll get anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles of reliable service from a typical serpentine belt. In terms of years, it may be anywhere from 4 years to an entire decade before you’ll need to replace your serpentine belt.

How many miles should a serpentine belt last?

Serpentine belts are built to last—much longer than before because of advancements in rubber technology. Under ideal conditions, a belt should stick with you for an average of 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

What happens when serpentine belt goes bad?

A broken serpentine belt can lead to a sudden loss of power steering in your car, making your steering very difficult to turn. A broken serpentine belt causes the water pump to stop circulating coolant through the engine’s cooling system, causing it to overheat.

How do I know if my pulley or belt is bad?

Signs of a Bad Idler Pulley

  1. Squealing. When the engine is idling, a bad pulley may make a squealing sound.
  2. Frozen. The bearings in a pulley may cause the pulley to freeze or in some cases hard to spin.
  3. Belt Travel.
  4. Pulley Mounting.

How expensive is it to replace a serpentine belt?

A typical serpentine belt start at around $25 and goes up to $75 at most. If you know some car repair basics, you could change the belt yourself, and it may save you paying labor charges somewhere between $75 and $120. All together, you’re looking at around $100 to $195 to replace your serpentine belt.

How do I test my serpentine belt?

Here are tips for inspecting belts:

  1. Look for cracks, fraying, or splits on the top cover.
  2. Look for signs of glazing on the belt’s sides. Glazed or slick belts can slip, overheat or crack.
  3. Twist a serpentine belt to look for separating layers, cracks, or missing chunks of the grooves on the underside.

Should you replace tensioner with serpentine belt?

There is no recommended timeframe in which to replace your tensioner, especially as the belt itself usually needs replacing before the tensioner does. However, you should inspect your tensioner each time you service your car to monitor its condition and replace it if necessary.

What are the 3 belts in a car?

Belts & Hoses

  • Timing Belt. The timing belt is a notched rubber belt that allows the crankshaft to turn the camshaft.
  • Serpentine Belt. Serpentine belts, also known as drive belts, provide power to the air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, cooling fan, air injection pump, and more.
  • Hoses.

How long should a car alternator belt last?

Usually, you can expect your alternator belt to last 3-4 years. You should have it inspected regularly – a good rule of thumb is to have your mechanic check the alternator belt whenever you have an oil change. Signs that your alternator belt needs to be replaced include: Fraying, cracking or looseness.

What happens if timing belt breaks while driving?

If a timing belt breaks while driving in an interference engine, the camshaft stops turning leaving some of the engine valves in the open position. This may result in a heavy damage to the engine with broken or bent valves, damaged pistons and, possibly, destroyed cylinder head and block.

Can a bad serpentine belt cause rough idle?

Poor Driving Experience So if you have searched for answers to the question, can a bad serpentine belt cause rough idle? The answer is yes.

What Is a Serpentine Belt & When Should You Replace It?

Maintenance The 13th of July, 2020 If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it, says a lot of people when it comes to automobile maintenance. It may seem counter-intuitive to spend money on a car part that is still functional, but it is frequently more cost-effective in the long term. Your vehicle’s serpentine belt is an extremely important component. Furthermore, if it fails, you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck. That is why we propose that you replace the serpentine belt before it fails in order to avoid more repairs and save money in the long run.

What is a serpentine belt?

An alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, and (in certain cases) a water pump are all powered by the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is a long rubber belt that carries electricity to the engine accessories. An auxiliary belt or fan belt are two terms that may be used to describe a serpentine belt. The reason for this is because automobiles once had many drive belts that connected the engine to various accessories (such as the radiator fan). Modern automobiles, on the other hand, typically feature a single belt that winds through many pulleys to power all of the extras.

However, because only one belt is used, when your car’s serpentine belt breaks, everything stops operating!

Furthermore, it has the potential to cause harm to the engine accessories that it regulates.

Serpentine Belt vs. Timing Belt

Remember, a serpentine belt is not the same thing as a timing belt, so don’t get them mixed up. When it comes to your automobile, the serpentine belt and timing belt serve quite distinct purposes. The timing belt is housed within the engine and is responsible for keeping the crankshaft and camshaft in rhythm with one another. Because the intake and exhaust valves of the engine are timed to open and close in response to piston movement, it allows for a smooth operation of the engine. The serpentine belt is responsible for keeping the engine’s accessories operating smoothly and effectively.

When you look at the grooves, you can immediately discern the difference between the two types of wood.

A serpentine belt is characterized by the presence of several V-shaped grooves that run vertically down the belt.

Both of these belts are frequently replaced at the same time, so check with your technician or your owner’s handbook to see whether you also need to replace your timing belt. Check out this article: What Is a Timing Belt? When Should It Be Replaced and Why?

When should you replace the serpentine belt?

Your serpentine belt was built to endure a lifetime. The serpentine belt in your automobile should last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles under perfect conditions. It is critical to replace this belt as part of your vehicle’s routine maintenance (even if it appears to be in good condition) in order to avoid it breaking while you are driving. Is it difficult to remember when your serpentine belt was last replaced? During a routine maintenance visit, the skilled experts at Virginia TireAuto may do a visual check and provide you with an estimate as to when it needs be repaired or replaced.

5 Symptoms of a Bad Serpentine Belt

A serpentine belt is built to last for a lengthy period of time. However, with time, the heat and friction will wear it down to the point where it will need to be replaced. Here are several symptoms that your serpentine belt is failing:

  • Wear indications (cracking, glazing, fraying, and so on)
  • A squealing or chirping sound (which indicates that the belt is sliding)
  • Performance degradation (e.g., failure of the power steering, fast automobile battery drain, or stalling of the engine)
  • Check Engine Light On
  • Strange sounds
  • Check Engine Light On

Serpentine Belt RepairReplacement at Virginia TireAuto

When was the last time you had an oil change or other basic preventative maintenance performed? Do not hesitate to have a certified Virginia TireAuto mechanic inspect your serpentine belt on your next appointment. We will completely inspect your vehicle, determine any damage to your belt, and then repair it at a reasonable cost on your behalf. In addition, our serpentine belt replacement service is covered by a service guarantee that lasts for two years and 24,000 miles. To schedule an appointment at one of our handy locations, just clickHERE.

Serpentine belt, tensioner: problems, signs of wear, when to replace, noises

The most recent update was on November 17, 2018. Belt with serpentine grooves. In a modern automobile with a gasoline or diesel engine, you will find at least one serpentine belt if you open the hood and look underneath. Take a look at this snapshot. Cars with two or three belts are available; electrified vehicles do not have belts. This belt is responsible for driving accessories placed on your engine, such as an alternator, water pump, and compressor for your air conditioner. A serpentine belt differs from an atiming belt in that it has a serpentine pattern.

It is possible to examine the serpentine belt from below the hood, which is positioned on one of the engine’s sides.

What might cause a belt to squeak in the first place?

What is the price range?

What happens if a serpentine belt breaks?

The serpentine belt has broken. If a serpentine belt fails, a vehicle will not be able to be driven and will need to be towed. If the engine is operated without the use of a serpentine belt, it is possible that the engine would overheat due to the lack of operation of the water pump. A damaged belt might potentially cause harm to other sections of the vehicle. We’ve seen radiator shrouds that have been cracked and coolant hoses that have been shredded as a result of a ruptured belt. If you have a broken serpentine belt, you’ll hear loud clanking or knocking sounds coming from under the hood as well as other signs of a broken serpentine belt.

The battery-shaped charging system warning light may also illuminate as a result of the alternator ceasing to provide charge to the battery. When a vehicle is equipped with a hydraulic power steering pump, the steering becomes stiff.

Commonbelt and tensioner problems that can cause abelt to break or produce noises

Here are a few examples of frequent issues: A glazed serpentine belt vs a fresh serpentine belt. Wear and tear on a regular basis. On the ribbed side of a new serpentine belt, a soft felt-like surface has been added. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will find a photo of a broken belt. As the belt wears down, the rubber hardens and cracks. A belt that has seen better days stretches and loses tension. It is as a result of this that the belt starts slipping from time to time. Squealing or chirping noises emanating from under the hood may be heard when the engine is started first thing in the morning or in rainy weather, and it is caused by corrosion.

  • If there are no other issues and the belt tensioner is in excellent working order, a new serpentine belt should be sufficient to resolve the issue.
  • When there is an oil leak, a serpentine belt might be damaged in a short amount of time.
  • In some cases, an engine develops oil leaks around the belt region, resulting in the belt becoming drenched in oil (as shown in the photograph).
  • It has been our experience that a new serpentine belt will survive less than a week in an engine that leaks oil around the belt location.
  • First and foremost, oil leaks must be repaired.
  • If the leak is coming from a camshaft seal or another source, the repair will be more involved.
  • An automated spring-loaded belt tensioner might become seized inside or wear out on its shaft if it is not maintained properly.

Any belt must be tensioned properly in order to function properly.

A serpentine belt will begin to slip if the tension is not properly maintained.

We’ve seen seized belt tensioners cause a loose serpentine belt to slide off the tensioner, and we’ve seen them fail completely.

Another indicator of a malfunctioning tensioner is a serpentine belt that keeps falling off the pulley while driving.

It costs $20-$50 to purchase a spring-loaded automated belt tensioner, plus $75-$170 to have it installed by a professional.

4.There are issues with the hydraulic belt tensioner.

It, too, has the potential to collapse.

Many automobiles, including the Toyota Corolla, Matrix, BMW, and Mazda, suffer from this failure on a regular basis.

Otherwise, unless the belt appears to be in like-new condition, it should be changed as well.

The cost of labor to replace it ranges from $75 to $170.

5.The manual belt tension is not properly adjusted.

Another illustration is the belt tension adjustment in a Toyota Yaris.

When an older Japanese or Korean automobile is started, it creates a loud screeching noise that you have undoubtedly heard before.

If the belt is faulty, it must be changed and carefully tightened to ensure appropriate operation.

As a result, the belt began to scream and wear more quickly.

A serpentine belt is a type of belt that operates on many pulleys.

This problem is frequently detected after a recently replaced belt continues to scream or wears out quickly.

When one of the pulleys is out of alignment, you can usually tell by looking at it.

The belt is now squeaking.

As a result, the alternator pulley was misaligned with the belt, causing the belt to scream and wear out more quickly.

In this particular instance, the belt and worn-out alternator nuts were replaced in order to realign the alternator.

7.An idler pulley or tensioner bearing that is noisy.

It is referred to as an idler pulley.

A whining/whirring or screaming noise might be heard when that bearing wears out or becomes damaged.

A specialized stethoscope is used by mechanics to locate the source of the noise in the engine compartment.

It is possible that a mechanic will have to remove a belt and inspect each of the gadgets that are powered by the belt one by one.

The type of repair required will be determined by whatever component is damaged. The idler itself is not very expensive: $15-$35 for the part + $60-$170 for labor if it is just a simple repair. The cost of replacing an air conditioning compressor or alternator might range from $450 to $850.

When a serpentine belt needs to be replaced

This serpentine belt is still in good condition, and it is not necessary to replace it at this time. A serpentine belt may last anywhere between 30,000 and more than 100,000 kilometers. Most automobile manufacturers do not specify the periods between serpentine belt replacements, but rather urge that the belt be inspected during routine maintenance. The following is what Toyota advises for the serpentine belt in the 2017 Toyota Camry, as an illustration: At 60,000 miles/72 months, the vehicle receives its first inspection.

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Cracks have been discovered in this serpentine belt, and it will need to be replaced.

It is usually obvious when a belt has reached the end of its useful life.

An oil-saturated or stretched serpentine belt must also be changed when it is discovered to be defective.

Serpentine belt replacement cost

If your vehicle has two belts, we recommend that you replace them both at the same time in order to save money on labor costs. It’s also a good idea to get an old serpentine belt replaced before embarking on a lengthy road journey. Continue reading:Car checklist before a lengthy road trip. The cost of a serpentinebelt replacement ranges from $18 to $75 for the part and $50 to $150 for labor.

How easy is it to replace a serpentine belt DIY?

The serpentine belt replacement may be rated anywhere from 3 to 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 (leave it to the experts), depending on the automobile. The belt diagram that displays the routing of a serpentine belt will be required in order to replace it. The owner’s manual for certain automobiles contains information on how to navigate the vehicle. Another option is to sketch up a routing plan before removing the old belt from the machine. When it comes to front-wheel drive automobiles with a transversely placed engine, there is little space between the engine and the frame, making replacing the serpentine belt a difficult task.

If you want to order a serpentine belt, you may need to know your vehicle’s VIN number because the belt may be different for different years and engines.

If you want correct repair instructions, we have included numerous links at the bottom of this page, via which you may obtain a subscription-based access to a factory service manual for a reasonable fee.

Your Car’s Serpentine Belt

Although it will not keep your pants up, it will carry electricity to your vehicle’s critical components.

When you look at a serpentine belt, you see one long snaking, winding belt. It is this belt that maintains your alternator functioning smoothly and effectively, as well as your power steering pump, air conditioning, and—in certain cases—your water pump.

Didn’t cars used to have more than one belt?

Back in the day, many different components of an automobile were connected by separate belts. However, even though each belt could be replaced separately, these vehicles faced variable or degraded performance when individual belts began to wear down and eventually failed. Now when automobiles are equipped with a single belt — the serpentine belt — this is no longer a consideration. It is, nevertheless, vital that frequent checks are performed to ensure that the belt is in excellent working order.

How often does a serpentine belt need to be replaced?

As a result of developments in rubber technology, serpentine belts are engineered to endure a long time—much longer than in the past. Under ideal conditions, a belt should be able to accompany you for an average of 60,000 to 100,000 kilometers. It’s rather impressive. Some belts, on the other hand, are manually tensioned and may require readjusting. Others feature a self-tensioning system that might wear out over time and may need to be maintained or replaced. Something to keep in mind: in the majority of situations, if the belt breaks, the car will come to a complete stop.

Make a scheduled appointment.

How many belts do most vehicles have?

Today, there is a single belt that drives them all, or at least the vast majority of them. It is referred to as the serpentine belt. Some rides may have an extra belt to drive specific accessories, but the serpentine is responsible for the majority of the labor. Vehicles were formerly supplied with a variety of belts to power various parts and components until an all-in-one serpentine solution was developed. Inspection and/or replacement of your engine belt are highly recommended. Make a scheduled appointment.

What happens as a belt gets older?

They can get worn, frayed, cracked, or glossy or “glazed,” and rubber pieces can break loose and fall off the belt. An old belt may also begin sliding or squeaking, get polluted with fluid, or become misaligned, all of which need the replacement of the belt in question. The driving torque to all of the engine’s accessories is lost if the belt becomes worn or damaged. An old belt may even crack, leaving you stranded. Make an appointment for an engine belt inspection at your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care.

What is the benefit of having a belt replaced?

Driving on a worn-out belt is a recipe for disaster because it provides power to nearly all of an engine’s accessory components. That means that when your belt breaks, slides, and eventually wears out, everything in your vehicle stops operating, from the power steering pump to the alternator and air conditioner. Furthermore, the parts that it regulates might suffer serious harm as a result of the malfunction. Broken hoses and belts are inconvenient; a broken engine is far more inconvenient. You may reduce the likelihood of a breakdown by replacing your belt on a regular basis.

Make time to have your belt inspected.

Your belt’s present condition may be determined by doing either an annual automobile inspection or a visual check when getting an oil change.

This will give you a decent indication of when your belt should be replaced. Drive with complete confidence. Check the condition of your belt. Make a scheduled appointment.

What is a “belt tensioner,” and what is the benefit of replacing it when a belt is replaced?

Many modern automobiles are fitted with an automated belt tensioner, which is a self-tensioning system that keeps the belt taut. Designed to maintain a specified level of tension on the serpentine belt, these tensioners ensure that the belt performs correctly and that your vehicle remains on the road. Your serpentine belt is similar to a massive rubber band that is rotating at breakneck speed. In addition, it must maintain a balance between flexibility and tension, much like a rubber band. The majority of tensioners are equipped with an internal spring and pulley that delivers the necessary force to the serpentine belt to keep it taut and in place.

  • The worst-case situation is that a slack belt will fall loose from its pulleys.
  • The following is a quick fact: If your serpentine belt is loose, you may be experiencing additional mechanical issues, such as a poorly running water pump, which can cause the engine to overheat.
  • It is important that you bring your vehicle in as soon as possible.
  • Do you need to get your serpentine belt inspected?

How many different types of belts are there?

A serpentine belt is the most prevalent type of belt used in modern automobiles, and it is responsible for the operation of nearly every system in your vehicle. Alternately, your vehicle may be equipped with a succession of V-belts (sometimes known as fan belts), which are designed to serve the same general-purpose duties as a serpentine belt. Some vehicles may also have a “toothed” timing belt in the engine, which is critical to the overall operation of the vehicle’s engine. This belt may be used to drive the water and oil pumps, among other important components.

What are symptoms my vehicle’s belt may require a belt replacement?

  • Chirp or squeal: When a belt begins to slide, a squealing sound may be heard. This is caused by the belt slipping. If the belt and pulley are not operating correctly, low belt tension, or belt strain and/or wear are the causes of this problem. Belt slippage can be exacerbated by leaks of oil or antifreeze, among other things. It is critical that you have your vehicle examined as soon as possible in order to prevent more issues from occurring. And with this sound, they will finally succeed. Performance degradation of the system: Perhaps your power steering has failed, your battery has unexpectedly depleted, or your engine has simply stopped working. A properly working serpentine or V-belt is in charge of all of these functions. Once your belt has been compromised, it may cause more harm to the key systems that rely on it, such as the alternator, water pump, power steering, and air conditioning, as well as the rest of your vehicle. Unfortunately, the subsequent damage can be substantial, and there is little notice prior to the occurrence
  • As a result, there is little time to prepare. The check engine light is illuminated as follows: The fact that this is happening might be an indicator that something is amiss with the belt.

It is possible that funny noises are caused by difficulties with other parts. Never turn a blind eye to a commotion. Where there is noise, there is the possibility of a problem. Maintain the safety of your vehicle and the protection of your four-wheel investment. Don’t disregard the warning signs of a failing belt. Make an appointment to have an inspection performed.

Does Firestone Complete Auto Care install belts that meet my vehicle’s specifications?

Yes, we do have one. The belts we install are made by Bando and Dayco, who are well-known among automotive specialists and original equipment manufacturers as pioneers in automotive parts technology and innovation. Advanced rubber compounds are used in the design of each Bando and Dayco belt we install, resulting in increased longevity and greater wear prevention. In the case that your vehicle requires a different brand of belt, we may also install belts from other manufacturers as specified by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Make a scheduled appointment.

How to Replace Your Car’s Serpentine Belt

A serpentine belt sounds quite nice, doesn’t it? Everything was slithery and snaky. It isn’t named that for nothing, after all. Throughout the length of your car’s engine, this lengthy belt has vertical grooves that run the length of it. It snakes around multiple pulleys, linking them to the action of the engine’s crankshaft. Whenever it rotates, a belt forces the pulleys to rotate, which in turn powers a number of accessories, including your car’s alternator and air conditioning compressor.

Older automobiles featured separate belts for each of these systems, which made them easier to maintain.

Because a single serpentine belt is lighter and more efficient, it allows for a more compact and efficient engine design.

However, it also implies that when the belt has to be replaced, it will be necessary to thread a new belt through all of the pulleys. It’s not that tough to do with a little planning and consideration.

Serpentine Belt Prep Work

The tools and materials required to replace a serpentine belt are minimal: a new belt, a belt tensioner tool, and maybe a socket wrench are all that are required. It should be simple to locate these items in a local car parts store. Gloves and eye protection are also always a good idea. Every automobile engine, even those from the same auto manufacturer, is unique in its own way. Additionally, the serpentine belt will slither around the pulleys in a different order as a result of this change.

Upon reaching operating temperature, open the hood and check your bearings.

  • A serpentine belt diagram may be found in your vehicle’s owner’s handbook. Look for schematics of the belt on the internet as well. (We discovered a plenty.) Using your phone, take a bunch of images of your engine from different angles
  • There may even be a belt winding diagram beneath the hood

When it comes time to remove the old belt and thread the new one into place, you’ll want to have these handy for reference.

Removing the Old Belt

After you’ve made a mental note of where the belt should go, you’ll be ready to remove the old belt off your waist. To begin, locate the belt tensioner. It prevents the belt from becoming excessively slack, which would allow it to fall off the waist. It normally has a square-shaped hole in it, and it is into this hole that the belt tensioner tool is inserted to operate. The most popular type of belt tensioner in modern automobiles, however other vehicles just employ a bolt that can be removed with a socket and tightened again.

  1. You’ll undoubtedly note that there’s one pulley rubbing on the smooth rear of the belt, which is probably intentional.
  2. It does not provide any power, but it does assist in keeping the belt in place.
  3. With a wire brush, gently clean the grooves of the pulleys to remove any old rubber parts and filth from the grooves where the belt is located.
  4. Since the majority of belts will need to be changed at some point, inspect for cracks, fraying, or glossy patches (known as glazing) that may be caused by misalignment or other difficulties.
  5. The fact that oil is bad for the engine is compounded by the fact that it breaks down rubber, which means you’ll have to do it all over again sooner rather than later.

Installing the New Belt

It’s at this point that diagrams and photographs will come in handy. Reinstall the belt onto all of the pulleys in the proper sequence for your vehicle’s configuration. Keep in mind that any pulley with grooves is intended to be driven by the grooves in the serpentine belt, not the other way around. Because it sits on the backside of the belt, the idler pulley, for example, does not have grooves on its surface. However, there are grooves in the power steering pump pulley. In order for the power of the crankshaft to turn these attachments, you must truly get into your groove on this one.

With your belt tensioner tool or socket, tighten the tensioner pulley once everything is in position and the grooves are properly placed on the belt.

It is past time to give it a go. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Allow it to run for a minute or two to ensure that everything is properly installed and that everything is functioning as it should.

How Often Does a Serpentine Belt Need to Be Changed?

Serpentine belts have a lengthy life expectancy. Manufacturers typically recommend changing them every 60,000 miles (96,560 kilometers), while other experts propose keeping them for as long as 100,000 miles (200,000 kilometers) (160,934 kilometers). The goal is to replace them before they become damaged. Driving without air conditioning may not seem like a big deal, but the alternator is responsible for charging your car’s battery and electrical system, and driving without power steering will become a workout if you suddenly lose control of your vehicle.

  • It is possible to hear a loud screaming sound, especially while turning the steering wheel all the way to one side or the other. This is the most frequent symptom that people are aware of. If the alternator isn’t getting enough power, the battery light on the dashboard will illuminate. If the water pump is meant to be powered by the belt, the temperature light on the dashboard will illuminate. When the check engine light turns on, it means something is wrong. The steering seems heavier or more slow than it normally does.
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It is difficult to snake a serpentine belt into place, despite the fact that it is not a costly or particularly involved repair. Having an understanding of what this belt is and what it performs is obviously beneficial, but it’s also occasionally preferable to leave engine maintenance to the specialists. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary depending on your level of knowledge and confidence.

Serpentine Belt Replacement: Step-By-Step Guide (+FAQs)

Serpentine belts are known to persist for a lengthy period of time. However, if this belt snaps, your engine will come to a complete stop almost quickly. The only option in this situation is to have a serpentine belt replacement performed. But how do you go about repairing a serpentine belt that has become worn? In this post, we’ll walk you through the serpentine belt replacement procedure step by step and answer some frequently asked questions about serpentine belt replacement.

This Article Contains:

(Click on a link to jump to the specific section)

  • How To Replace A Serpentine Belt (Step-by-Step Instructions)
  • 5 Serpentine Belt Replacement Frequently Asked Questions
  • Which occasions do I require the replacement of a serpentine belt? Why Does the Serpentine Belt Break
  • Can I Drive My Vehicle While the Serpentine Belt Is Broken
  • What Happens When the Serpentine Belt Breaks
  • What Is the Difference Between a Serpentine Belt and a Timing Belt
  • What Should I Do If My Serpentine Belt Is Worn Out
  • Are Serpentine Belts and Timing Belts the Same Thing?

Let’s get this party started.

How To Perform A Serpentine Belt Replacement

You don’t have to be a professional to replace a serpentine belt; if you have the necessary equipment and technical knowledge, you can do it yourself. When in doubt about how to replace a serpentine belt, it’s preferable to contact a serpentine belt replacement service, where an ASE-certified technician can complete the work on your behalf. If you have the necessary equipment and skills, the following steps will guide you through the process of replacing a worn serpentine belt:

  • Step 1: Take note of the location of the belt. Measurement 2: Inspect the tensioner Loosen and unthread the belt as directed in step three. Step 4: Inspect the area for damage. Step 5: Inspect each pulley individually. Step 6: Replace the old belt with the new one.

Observe where the belt is situated in step one; Check the tensioner in step two; Loosen and unthread the belt as directed in Step 3. Observe for signs of injury in step four. Check each pulley individually in Step 5. Installing the replacement belt is the sixth step.

  • A serpentine belt tool, a ratchet, or a breaker bar are examples of such tools. A tool for putting on your belt

The following are the specifics of the serpentine belt replacement procedure:

Step 1: Note The Placement Of The Belt

Each automobile has its own belt route, which is created by a serpentine belt weaving through it. To make a mental note of where the fan belt should be:

  • In order to document how the old belt coils around various pulleys, including the idler pulley and the belt tensioner, a mechanic may take a few photographs or draw the process. If you already have an aloose belt that is out of position, the mechanic can check up the belt routing in the driver’s manual
  • Otherwise, the belt will need to be replaced.

Step 2: Examine The Tensioner

Before removing the worn serpentine belt, the mechanic will inspect the belt tensioner to see if there is any excessive vibration present. The tensioner pulley is responsible for keeping the belt tensioned around the pulleys for the engine’s accessories in good condition. A mild vibration should be present in a properly working tensioner.

Furthermore, a properly tensioned belt should travel smoothly around the tensioner with no noticeable vibrations in it. Belt tensioner failure can be indicated by the pulley vibrating in a jerky manner, or by the tensioner arm moving more than 14 inch from its position on the pulley.

Step 3: Loosen And Unthread The Belt

Before removing the serpentine belt, your mechanic will need to release the tensioner pulley on the vehicle. Here’s how it’s done:

  • They’ll insert the serpentine belt tool into the drive aperture, which is either 12 inches or 3/8 inches square in form. Alternatively, a long-handled ratchet or breaker bar with a variety of sockets might be used instead if a serpentine belt tool isn’t available. In order to do this, they must first snap a socket into the hex-shaped nut on the pulley itself.
  • The technician will then progressively spin the tensioner arm until it can no longer be rotated any further. The belt tension will be released as a result of this.
  • Remove the old belt from any smooth pulley, and then let the tensioner to be released by the mechanic.

Step 4: Check For Belt Damage

Following the removal of the old belt, the mechanic will conduct a visual assessment to look for signs of deterioration. They’ll be on the lookout for any disintegration along the borders of the structure. Belt grooves or ribs that are separated from one another also indicate a misaligned serpentine belt. The drive belt of your automobile will need to be replaced if it has numerous cracks on neighboring belt ribs within an inch or if it has more than four cracks per inch on a single rib, which indicates that it is cracked.

Step 5: Examine Each Pulley

To verify that every pulley is precisely aligned, your vehicle repair will utilize a straightedge instrument. In order to guarantee that the idler pulley and the tensioner pulley (automatic belt tensioner) move smoothly and without making any strange noises, they will give them a good spin. If any of the idler pulleys or other pulleys in your automobile break, the serpentine belt can come loose and cause the power steering pump and water pump in the cooling system to cease functioning. In addition, the alternator and air conditioning compressor will cease to operate.

They’ll also clean off any dirt or grime that has accumulated around each pulley to avoid any further misalignment.

Step 6: Install The New Belt

The following is the procedure that your mechanic will follow to install the new serpentine belt in your vehicle:

  • They’ll use a belt replacement tool to route the new belt around the pulley path
  • They’ll then replace the belt. As the technician loads the belt and wraps it around the crankshaft pulley, the tensioner arm will be rotated by the mechanic. Afterwards, they’ll wrap the belt around every additional grooved pulley they can find, making sure that the belt stays on the path shown by the belt diagram. They will complete the serpentine belt replacement by putting the belt onto a pulley that does not have grooves. Your mechanic will now begin to gradually release the tensioner. In order to check that the new serpentine belt is operating properly, they will crank up your engine and let it run for a minute.

Serpentine belts are reasonably priced and have a lengthy service life. And if you suspect you may be experiencing a belt failure, don’t be afraid to replace it right away. A serpentine belt replacement is an absolutely necessary aspect of general automotive maintenance, and it may cost anywhere from $70-$200 depending on the vehicle. If you intend to perform it yourself, be certain that the belt is properly installed; otherwise, you may wind up damaging the engine’s operations. Otherwise, it is always recommended that you have a professional vehicle service technician handle the serpentine belt replacement for you.

5 Serpentine Belt Replacement FAQs

Here are the answers to five frequently asked questions about belt replacement.

1. When Do I Need A Serpentine Belt Replacement?

A well operating belt powers many engine operations at the same time. The alternator, power steering pump, air conditioner, cooling fan, and water pump are examples of such components. These belts are now manufactured by belt manufacturers using an unique synthetic rubber known as EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer). Long belt life is generally achieved by the use of this serpentine belt material. Under ideal conditions, a drive belt can last from 60,000 to 100,000 miles before needing replacement.

However, if you have serpentine belt problems, such as a loose belt, it might result in the engine shutting down completely, causing the engine to overheat and causing damage to the engine.

Immediately arrange an appointment for serpentine belt maintenance and, if necessary, replacement if you detect any of the indicators listed below:

A. Squealing From Power Steering Or Air Conditioning:

The drive belt is responsible for the operation of engine accessories such as power steering, the air conditioning compressor, the water pump, and so on. In order for the belt to turn the corresponding pulleys, a significant amount of torque is required. In the event that you hear screeching noises when you switch on your air conditioner or when you crank the steering wheel of your automobile, you may have a failed or worn belt.

B. Visible Wear And Tear Of The Belt

Inspecting your vehicle on a regular basis or performing general auto maintenance and you detect signs of belt wear and tear such as cracks, frayed ends, missing ribs, or other damage, it’s time to replace your serpentine belt.

C. Poor Air Conditioning

Because it restricts the motion created by the engine crankshaft, a worn belt can diminish the amount of power delivered to the air conditioning compressor. If you believe that your air conditioner is not providing optimal cooling, get the drive belt in your vehicle examined.

D. No Power Steering

It is also possible that a defective serpentine belt will cause the loss of power steering. Despite the fact that there might be other causes of the problem, such as a shortage of power steering fluid or a malfunctioning power steering pump, it is preferable to get the problem diagnosed by a professional.

E. Battery Warning Light

The serpentine belt also drives the alternator pulley in your automobile, which is responsible for supplying electrical power to the battery when the engine is operating. If you observe that the battery light is lighted, it implies that the battery is not charging and that there is either a faulty alternator or a likely belt failure.

F. Squealing Noise Under The Hood

A screeching engine noise indicates that a belt has slipped during operation. The bearing on the tensioner pulley might wear out over time, resulting in a reduction in belt tension. It is not necessary to replace the serpentine belt in this situation. The problem should be resolved by replacing the bearings.

2. What Happens When The Serpentine Belt Breaks?

When a car’s serpentine belt snaps, the engine’s accessories cease to perform as intended. The steering pump, the air conditioning compressor, the cooling fan, the alternator, and the water pump are examples of such components. If you have no power steering, this is the first clue that you have a likely belt failure. Also, make sure the battery light is working. As soon as the alternator ceases to work, the battery light illuminates. However, the most serious consequence is that your engine may overheat within minutes since the water pump has stopped operating.

3. Can I Drive My Vehicle With A Bad Serpentine Belt?

It is not advisable to use your car while the serpentine belt is malfunctioning since serpentine belt problems might occur at any time. The belt has the potential to move around in the engine compartment, causing harm to various critical components in your vehicle. As a result of having a damaged belt, it is possible to wind up with a dead battery, which will result in your car not starting.

The fact that a damaged serpentine belt is unable to drive the cooling fan or the water pump will result in the engine overheating quickly. A serpentine belt servicing is required immediately or your engine will self-destruct in a short period of time.

4. Are Serpentine Belt And Timing Belt The Same?

A serpentine belt is sometimes referred to as an auxiliary belt, drive belt, or fan belt, depending on its application. It is not the same as a timing belt in the traditional sense. A timing belt is a belt that runs through the engine of your automobile. It ensures that the crankshaft and camshaft rotate in the same direction so that the engine can function smoothly. The serpentine belt, also known as the drive belt, in a car is placed outside the engine and is responsible for keeping the engine’s accessories, such as the steering wheel, air conditioner, and so on, working.

The other, on the other hand, has v-shaped grooves that run vertically down the length of the belt.

5. What Should I Do If My Serpentine Belt Is Worn Out?

If you have a loose belt or a defective serpentine belt, you can do the following:

  • Taking your car to a repair facility or a dealership is recommended. Alternatively, you may have a mobile technician come to your driveway to do serpentine belt repair.

With a damaged serpentine belt in the ignition system, your engine will shut down completely. Take advantage of a mobile serpentine belt replacement service like asRepairSmith instead of hauling your vehicle to a repair shop for assistance. You will receive the following benefits from RepairSmith:

  • Online scheduling for all of your repair and maintenance services is simple and convenient. Technicians that are ASE-certified and who do car inspections, repairs, and maintenance
  • All repairs are covered by a 12-month | 12,000-mile guarantee. Competitiveandupfrontpricing
  • The use of high-quality replacement components in the repair and maintenance of equipment

Simply fill out this form to receive an exact estimate of how much your fully functional belt will set you back.

Closing Thoughts

If your automobile produces an unusual noise or if the engine accessories cease operating properly, it may be due to a problem with the serpentine belt. When this occurs, you should consider obtaining a new belt since the sooner you treat the problem, the lower the cost of the replacement belt may be in the long run. And if you want a competent serpentine belt replacement service to install a belt that is completely functional, simply contact RepairSmith for assistance. A mobile technician that is accredited by the American Society of Automotive Engineers will come to your home and do simple fan belt maintenance or repair a damaged serpentine belt.

Serpentine Belts: What You Need to Know

March 2021 is the most recent update. According to Car and Driver, four-wheel drive (4WD) is a vehicle technology that drives the front and rear wheel axles at the same speed in order to aid in gaining grip on slippery surfaces. Drivers must manually engage the vehicle’s four-wheel drive system, whereas the vehicle’s all-wheel drive (AWD) system is constantly active. Traditionally, 4WD systems have been seen in heavy trucks and sport utility vehicles, according to Edmunds.

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What Is a Serpentine Belt?

According to CarTreatments.com, the serpentine belt is one of the most important components of your vehicle’s engine. A serpentine belt is a lengthy rubber belt that distributes electricity to the engine’s many accessories.

What Does a Serpentine Belt Do?

According to TheDrive.com, the serpentine belt is critical to the proper operation of your vehicle’s systems and components. It is responsible for powering the alternator, the power steering pump, the air conditioning compressor, and, in certain cars, the water pump as well as other electrical components. When the automobile is in motion, the serpentine belt turns continuously in the opposite direction.

According to TheDrive.com, this is how it works: With the help of a pulley system and a tensioner, the belt may use that rotational power to drive other parts, which in turn can power other automotive accessories.

Maintenance of the Serpentine Belt

According to AutoBlog.com, maintenance intervals are typically somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 miles in duration. It differs from one car to the next. Periodic inspections of your serpentine belt are critical to its long-term performance. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s handbook to determine the most appropriate service interval. According to AutoBlog.com, the first step should be a visual check. What you’ll be searching for is as follows:

  • The belt has cracks across the ribs
  • The belt has a nonribbed side
  • The belt has cracks across the ribs
  • Spots of glistening or sheen
  • Any additional indicators of belt deterioration, such as cracks or fraying along the edges of the belt frame

After that, you should use a serpentine belt rib tool, which can be found at most auto parts stores, to have a closer look at the problem. When the belt is worn, it is sometimes difficult to detect any signs of wear just by glancing at it. According to Reader’s Digest Canada, after you remove the belt, you may use another instrument known as a belt wear gauge to check its condition. The amount of wear on the belt may be determined by placing this instrument on the ribbed area of the belt. If you see any oil or coolant saturation on the belt, according to Firestone Complete Auto Care, it’s time to replace the belt and repair any leaks that have developed.

Failure of the Serpentine Belt

According to AutoBlog.com, in addition to typical wear and tear, there are additional sorts of failures that can occur. A total failure of a serpentine belt, for example, occurs when the belt splits or comes off the rollers. This indicates that the accessories are not being driven, which implies you will experience difficulties. When this occurs, it is possible that you will not have any charging voltage, which would result in the loss of your air conditioner and power steering. It’s possible that you’ll encounter overheating in some automobiles.

In most cases, this shows that the belt has become worn because it has lost its grip on one or more of the pulleys that it is meant to spin.

Replacement of the Serpentine Belt

According to AutoZone, all you need to replace a serpentine belt is a new serpentine belt and a belt tensioner tool to complete the task. According to most do-it-yourself technicians, the most difficult element of the entire operation is just getting to the serpentine belt in the first place. You should snap a picture of it with your phone before you remove the old belt, according to the instructions. When it comes time to replace the belt, it will be easy to remember how to route it in this manner.

They advise you to remove the belt slowly and gently, taking care not to harm the neighboring network of pulleys and other peripherals while doing so.

Precautions Should Be Taken The correct safety equipment is just as crucial as the right tools when it comes to working on your automobile on your own time. The following are the recommendations of the professionals at NAPA for any do-it-yourself mechanic:

Make sure your toolbox is well stocked with everything you’ll need to do critical repairs – and to keep yourself and others safe.

Related Resources:

If you purchase a product after clicking on one of our affiliate links, The Drive and its partners may get a commission. More information may be found here. Although contemporary cars are complicated, they nonetheless rely on technology that have been part of humanity’s toolkit since the time of The Holy Roman Empire. Pulleys are thought to have been employed in ancient Mesopotamia, and they may still be seen today on automobile engines that are connected to various accessories and devices. The serpentine belt is responsible for connecting and concurrently encouraging all of these pulleys to work as a single unit.

It also contributes to one of the most well-known and frequently encountered troublesome automotive sounds: the squeak.

Though servicing a part that has such a wide range of implications might be intimidating, The Drive’s radioactive, sorry, hyperactive information staff can ease those anxieties with explanations, examples, step-by-step instructions, and photographs.

What Is a Serpentine Belt?

A serpentine belt is a flexible closed-loop reinforced piece of rubber that has a flat smooth surface on one side and v-shaped grooves, sometimes known as ribs or teeth, on the other. A serpentine belt is made of rubber and is flexible. It may be found on the outside of the engine, near the water pump.

What Does a Serpentine Belt Do?

A serpentine belt distributes rotational power from one source to another through the use of pulleys and a tensioner, allowing the car’s different accessories to be powered by a single source. When the automobile is in motion, the serpentine belt is in a condition of continual rotating movement due to the rotation of the engine.

What Drives the Serpentine Belt?

One of the pulleys around which the belt is wrapped is connected to the engine’s crankshaft by a chain. This causes the belt to revolve in the same direction as it. Depositphotos An in-depth examination of a serpentine belt.

What Accessories Does the Serpentine Belt Typically Drive?

A serpentine belt slithers over a number of pulleys, the rotational energy of which is used to power various machines. The belt is commonly used in conjunction with the following accessories:


The alternator, which is responsible for keeping your battery charged, is powered by the belt.

Power Steering Pump

The power steering pump is responsible for increasing the pressure in the hydraulic steering fluid. The driver may notice a sudden loss of power steering if the belt that drives the pump fails to operate. This will make maneuvering considerably more difficult.

Air Conditioning Compressor

Because an air conditioning compressor is responsible for distributing fluid throughout the air conditioning system, its proper operation is essential for staying cool.

Water Pump

The water pump is required by an engine in order to circulate coolant throughout the system and keep the engine’s temperature low. If the belt fails, your automobile may overheat as a result of the failure.

How Is Tension on the Serpentine Belt Created and Maintained?

Modern engines often have an automated tensioner built into their pulley systems, which ensures that the belt is kept taut by applying continuous pressure to it. The majority of current belt tensioners are spring-loaded or hydraulic, and they are equipped with dampers to ensure that the system runs smoothly. Most belt tensioners are spring-loaded, according to Depositphotos.

What Is an Idler Pulley?

To route the serpentine belt in the proper directions, idler pulleys are utilized. Because they are not linked to any other devices, they essentially do nothing but rotate with the belt and maintain it in position.

How Long Do Serpentine Belts Last?

The majority of manufacturers recommend replacing the dial as soon as the dial reaches 60,000 miles. No matter how many miles your car has traveled or how well it is maintained, you should always check your serpentine belt whenever you are under the hood. Finding symptoms that your belt is worn out just takes a couple of seconds. If it fails abruptly, you will very certainly find yourself stranded on the side of the road. If you attempt to drive with a broken belt, you run the risk of damaging the car through overheating or draining the battery.

Signs and Symptoms of a Worn Serpentine Belt

It is necessary to examine the serpentine belt on a regular basis to ensure that it remains consistently on track and in line. A regular check will also aid in the detection of a faulty belt before it fails while you are driving. There are a variety of techniques to detect a defective or soon-to-fail serpentine belt, depending on the situation. These signs and symptoms are fairly reliable predictors.


  • Fraying
  • Cracking
  • A gleaming or glossy appearance to the surface area a buildup of dirt or oil
  • A lack of tension


  • Noises such as squeaking, chirping, screeching, or rattling (which are the most prevalent)
  • A malfunctioning charging mechanism or a depleted battery The air conditioner is not working
  • Overheating

Serpentine Belt Installation

If you’ve learned what to look for in a damaged serpentine belt, you might be asking how to replace it. Making the necessary adjustments to a serpentine belt may be accomplished by anybody with a little patience and persistence. Let’s go through everything you’ll need to get the task done properly.


Time required is estimated to be one hour. The following vehicle systems are available: engine, transmission, and brakes.


It may be risky and filthy to work on your automobile, so here’s what you’ll need to make sure you leave the garage in the same condition as when you arrived.

Everything You’ll Need To Change Your Serpentine Belt

Given that we are not psychics, nor are we prying into your toolbox or garage, we’ve compiled a list of everything you’ll need to get the task done.

Tool List:

It will save you valuable time if you organize your tools and equipment so that everything is conveniently accessible. This will eliminate the need to wait for your handy youngster or four-legged assistant to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch. (You will not require a blowtorch for this task.) Please do not allow your child to hand you a blowtorch—Ed.) As well as having a level workstation, such as a garage floor, driveway, or street parking, you’ll also need a reliable source of electricity.

Due to the fact that we will not be releasing your vehicle from impound, please check your local laws to ensure you are not breaking any codes while driving on the street. Depositphotos Serpentine belts are used to drive a variety of accessories on your engine.

How To Change Your Serpentine Belt

Due to the fact that we do not know what car you drive, it is your responsibility to consult your owner’s handbook or service manual to locate the belt tensioner, identify the belt route or location, and determine exactly what you will need to remove in order to reach the belt, if anything. Let’s go ahead and do it after you’ve figured it out.

  1. Place your automobile in a safe location and open the hood to let it cool
  2. Access the belt and belt tensioner by removing any items that are in the way. Determine the location of the belt tensioner. Allowing the belt to slowly relieve pressure is accomplished with the use of a box wrench, socket wrench, or belt tensioner tool Extend the belt out from all of the pulleys and progressively loosen the belt tensioner before removing the belt altogether. The replacement belt should be wound around the pulleys following the manufacturer’s recommended course and direction. The belt will not be able to fit completely around the belt tensioner
  3. As a result, Continue to slowly compress the tensioner in order to allow the belt to be placed on the track. Release the tensioner in small increments until the belt acquires the tension. All pulleys should be thoroughly inspected to ensure that the belt is correctly installed and uniformly distributed
  4. Reinstall all of the components that were removed.

That’s all there is to it!

Serpentine Belt FAQs

You’ve got questions, and The Drive has the answers you need!

Q: Is There a Tool For Checking Belt Wear?

A:Yes! You may purchase a tiny gadget that measures the depth of the ribs on your belt. If the belt’s depth is incorrect, it is time to replace it with a new one.

Q: So What is the Proper Tension For a Serpentine Belt?

A: Every component of the belt should be taught to the point where a forceful tug is required to reveal any slack. If the belt appears to be slack or is not holding its shape, it is possible that the belt tensioner needs to be replaced. When changing the serpentine belt and tensioner, many manufacturers recommend that they be done at the same time.

Q: I’m Not a Rocket Scientist, Is It Hard To Put a Serpentine Belt On?

A: Yes, as well as no. The act of removing the old belt and replacing it with a new belt is not very difficult in and of itself. However, depending on the direction of your engine and the way it is constructed, it may be difficult to reach the parts or places that are required to complete the work successfully.

Q: But Can You Drive Without a Serpentine Belt?

A: If your serpentine belt or belt tensioner is not operating properly, we do not recommend that you attempt to drive. You should have your car towed or pushed to a safe location if you become trapped on the side of the road and need to make a repair.

Q: Then How Expensive Is It To Replace a Serpentine Belt?

The cost of a replacement belt, if you prefer to do the work yourself, ranges from $15 to $50, depending on the vehicle. However, it is advised that you replace the belt tensioner at the same time, which will add an additional $20-50 to the overall cost of the repair. If you take it to a shop, you’ll most likely pay between $100 and $200.

Q: Can a Serpentine Belt Shrink?

A:It is technically feasible, but it is unlikely to occur when you are traveling in your car under pressure. In fact, it will likely lengthen rather than shorten.

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