Your serpentine belt is used to power a variety of components in your vehicle. When it becomes loose or damaged, it can start to squeak, squeal or completely fail. Grab a new belt and your belt tensioner tool to restore power to your power steering pump, alternator and more. Enjoy this intermediate repair process with a reliable belt and tensioner tool.
Inspect the Current Belt Placement
There’s a reason it’s called a serpentine belt. This item wraps around a considerable amount of pulleys, tensioners, peripherals and more. The path is unique for most vehicles, making it tricky to properly install a new one. Do yourself a favor and spend some time checking out your current belt. Draw a diagram or look for one in your owner’s manual before you take off the old belt.
If your serpentine belt is already broken or knocked out of place, don’t refer to its current position but look for a diagram before installing a new belt. This will save time and frustration as you continue to work. Don’t guess at the location of your belt, or you may miss a pulley and damage your belt when you start your engine.
Loosen the Belt
This belt system has a tensioning system to prevent it from slipping. Look for the tensioner and carefully loosen it before attempting to remove the entire piece. Some tensioners are quite tight, so be cautious when loosening it. Some pulleys and other components are quite fragile, so take care that you don’t bend or break them as you loosen the belt.
If you damage any pulleys, you’ll need to realign or replace them before you tighten a new belt. These pulleys operate a range of pumps that are essential for your vehicle, so don’t miss one as you thread on a new serpentine belt.
Unthread and Check for Damage
Carefully unthread the belt around all the pulleys and remove it. Look for signs of damage on the belt before you replace it. Some serpentine belt problems are caused by a damaged belt, while others are alignment issues.
Look at the piece itself to see signs of wear. Cracking, broken ribs or more obvious wear or damage means it’s time to replace the belt. If your belt looks great, you may need to realign pulleys and tighten the belt. An oil leak from your engine can also cause your belt to break down quickly, so check for any signs of oil on it.
Rethread and Tighten a New Belt
Cautiously thread your new belt through all the pulleys in the exact way that the original was threaded. Once it’s securely in place, you’ll need to tighten it with your tensioner tool. Once it’s at the right level of tightness, start your engine and let it idle for a minute. You shouldn’t hear any squealing or have any other belt-related issues.
For more information on how to replace a serpentine belt or for an affordable replacement belt, stop by your local auto parts store today. Compare belts to find the ideal option for your vehicle and enjoy a reliable replacement part for less.