How to Replace a Serpentine Belt

The serpentine belt is connected to and moved by the engine crankshaft pulley. In turn, the belt drives all of the front-mounted engine accessories including the power steering pump, alternator, water pump and smog pump if equipped.

Over time, serpentine belts that are wearing out will become cracked and brittle, indicating it is time for replacement. Serpentine belts are extremely important because if they break, the engine will eventually stop running and you will lose power steering. In addition, a broken belt can cause engine damage if the water pump is belt driven and the engine is allowed to overheat.

Part 1 of 2: Remove the serpentine belt

Materials Needed

  • Free repair manuals - Autozone provides free online repair manuals for certain makes and models
  • Protective gloves
  • Ratchet
  • Repair manuals (optional)
  • Safety glasses
  • Serpentine belt tool (optional)

How to Replace a Serpentine Belt 2

Step 1: Locate the serpentine belt routing diagram. Locate the serpentine belt routing diagram before removing the belt. This diagram will ensure that you know how to reinstall the belt. Most of the time, the diagram is mounted somewhere in the engine compartment. If not, you’ll need to consult the factory repair information or take a picture of the belt routing prior to removal.

How to Replace a Serpentine Belt 3

Step 2: Move the tensioner. Use a ratchet or dedicated serpentine belt tool to push on the tensioner and move it away from the belt.

How to Replace a Serpentine Belt 4

  • Note: Some tensioners have a slot to insert a square ratchet head end into. Others have a traditional bolt head that you can install a socket onto.

How to Replace a Serpentine Belt 5

Step 3: Remove the belt. While still holding the tensioner away from the belt, slide the belt off the pulleys.

Part 2 of 2: Install the new serpentine belt

How to Replace a Serpentine Belt 6

Step 4: Determine how to route the belt. Look at the belt routing diagram or the picture you took to determine how to install the new belt.

How to Replace a Serpentine Belt 7

Step 5: Move the tensioner. Use a ratchet or serpentine belt tool to push on the tensioner and move it away from the belt, so the new belt can be installed on the pulleys.

How to Replace a Serpentine Belt 8

Step 6: Install the new belt. Position the new belt on the pulleys. Once the belt is in place, let go of the tensioner. Double check the belt installation against the routing diagram or the picture you took to ensure it is routed properly.

If this seems like a job you’d rather leave to a professional, YourMechanic offers expert serpentine belt replacement at a time and place of your choice.


Next Step

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Recent Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(4,604)

Rating Summary
4,402
115
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16
49
4,402
115
22
16
49

Matthew

33 years of experience
1017 reviews
Matthew
33 years of experience
Saab 9-3 - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Williamsburg, Virginia
Once again I’m very pleased with the professionalism and skill of Matthew and the service of level of this company. Highly recommend for both quality and convenience.
Mazda CX-7 - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Norfolk, Virginia
Matthew is the absolute best! He did a great job on my vehicle and had it running in no time! If I ever have an issue with my car again, I know which mechanic I'll be calling. Thanks for your work and professionalism.

Mostafa

19 years of experience
41 reviews
Mostafa
19 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C300 - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Atlanta, Georgia
Mostafa was amazing! I unfortunately had a last minute schedule change for work and had a hard time getting out to him when he first arrived, but he was kind, professional and courteous.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe - Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement - Smyrna, Georgia
Mostafas was early and immediately got everything set to get the job done. He was knowledgeable about the job and even gave me some great tips for my car highly recommended.

Duane

25 years of experience
440 reviews
Duane
25 years of experience
Mazda 2 - Serpentine/Drive Belt - San Marcos, California
Duane was great to work with. I had a tight schedule and he made time to get my car right. What was supposed to take 5 hours only took 2!! Fast, efficient and professional.
Scion xB - Serpentine/Drive Belt - Escondido, California
Duane was awesome. He was right on time, very friendly and professional and an all around great guy! Very happy with his work I will definitely use you guys again, especially duane. Thanks!

Jermaine

24 years of experience
131 reviews
Jermaine
24 years of experience
Honda CR-V - Serpentine/Drive Belt Replacement - Washington, District of Columbia
Very pleasant. Contacted me and gave me the option of an earlier appointment. Showed up on time and fixed my issue. I would use him again.

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