Replacing a Serpentine Belt
courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man
I recently had my car serviced and they informed me that my serpentine belt should be replaced. Is this a complicated task or something I could do at home for less money?
A serpentine belt is basically a new name for a fan belt or alternator belt, except for one major difference, this belt usually drives all accessories instead of one belt per like the older style. depending on your car, it may cost around $40 or so... Since it does wrap around several different pulleys and stuff, it could get a little complicated. But, it definitely something that can be done at home.
You will need what I like to call "the belt map". There should be a diagram somewhere in your engine compartment that shows how the belt is supposed to go. If you can't find it under the hood, it will be in the service manual. If you don't have the service manual, you should be able to find it in the library where you can make a photo copy of the diagrams.
When changing the belt, there is usually a spring loaded tensioner or idler that you must rotate out of the way. basically take a socket wrench with the correct size socket on it, and rotate in a counter clockwise direction. This will relieve the tension on the belt and allow it to be removed.
Reverse the procedure to install. If may be a little difficult to get to all the parts on some newer v6 engines, but it is definitely doable. It may just take a little while to accomplish. So, pick a day when its warm and you have plenty of time. Oh, make sure you have the new belt before talking the old one off. When you're at the store if there is a question as to which one will fit, buy both and return the wrong one later.
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
Have a car care question? Visit our automotive maintenance section and see if we've already answered it or a similar question.