How to Replace a Serpentine Belt


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A serpentine belt is one of the key elements providing your motor’s steady functioning. And we are going to provide you with all the necessary information about its examination plus substitution. A serpentine also referred as s-belt, deals with a simplification of pumps plus sheaves operation under the hood.

Actually, this long belt deals with any motor-driven detail, comprising water pump, alternator, a/c compressor plus power steering pump.

As so many motor’s internal parts heavily depend on it, it’s crucial to examine your s-belt periodically for possible weariness, cracking or glazing. Basically, a serpentine belt must be substituted after every 30,000-60,000 miles are run. In order to make this process easier for you, we are offering a detailed guide on inspection and substitution of this belt.

Serpentine belt change guide

Tools needed:

how to replace a serpentine beltGeneral Rules of S-Belt Replacement

Experienced drivers who used to substitute fan belts may recall how traumatic and energy-consuming process it was. Moreover, as a rule, it was necessary to substitute two or even three belts.

Today, contemporary automobiles employ one wider, multi rifled serpentine belt in lieu of the ones for each internal detail. A curious fact: the belt got its name for the manner it snakes around various sheaves.

Serp belt substitution is pretty easy due to contemporary automatical drive belt tensioners eliminating the necessity of loosening bolts or prying elements into disposition for retensioning. Just revolve the tensioner, take off the old belt and mount a fresh one. The tensioner can be released after belt ribs take their positions into the sheave grooves.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: To reach the motor’s front part, move away from motor covers plus shrouds or plastic guards which may prevent you from seeing the work area well. Having opened the automobile’s hood, you will get access to the serp belt.

Step 2: Deactivate the battery. Actually, the battery must be always deactivated before any serious operations within an automobile. Applying a wrench or socket of the proper size, weaken the nut carrying a black grounding cable on the negative battery terminal.

  • Slip the cable off from the terminal and thrust it to the batteries’ side.
  • The positive terminal may stay connected.

Step 3: Localize the belt tensioner situated under spring tension to keep the pressure on the belt that protects it. Contingent from your automobile’s motor, the s-belt may be situated in the front part of motor or may go along its side. If there are any motor covers on a way, move them away.

Step 4: Localize the serpentine belt routing diagram. Many automobiles are supplied with a sticker in the motor bay demonstrating how the s-belt is expected to pass through different motor’s sheaves. If your automobile has no sticker, you will have to memorize the belt’s routes.

  • Consult the owner’s manual for your automobile model to create a diagram.
  • Another way is to take a photo of how the existing belt is placed and follow the scheme while installing a fresh one.

Step 5. Loosen the tensioner employing a wrench. Just push it on the opposite side of the spring tension. Contingent from employment, your s-belt may have a tensioner established on it by a mobile bracket or an auto tensioner sheave, using internal spring for employment of persistent pressure to the belt.

  • If your automobile features no tensioner sheave, tension is set on the belt by an alternator bracket.
  • If you have any doubts, consult your automobile’s service manual to find out what tensioner it keeps.

Auto tensioners feature a port for a ½ inch drive ratchet or a bolt you are free to utilize a socket for. Inset a wrench or set a socket over the bolt on the tensioner. Twirl it away from the belt to loosen the tension.

Step 6: After the tensioner is weakened, pull the belt off the nearest sheave. If your automobile is equipped with an alternator bracket, loosen two bolts passing through long bracket’s slots. After that, the belt’s pressure will most probably shift the alternator to motor, relieving the pressure.

Step 7: Now, feel free to take off the belt. Remove it from the bottom sheave plus all idler sheaves plus accessories.

Step 8: Make sure that a fresh belt looks similar to the old one. They must have the same width as well as identical number of ribs, covering the belt horizontally. Note that the old belt may be a bit longer as it stretches a bit after being utilized for a long time.

  • If the belts have different width, don’t install the new one as it’s wrong.
  • Make certain that a fresh belt has no damages or flaws. Otherwise, it may tear soon after its installation.

Step 9: Having examined the fresh belt, mount it onto the sheaves.

  • The s-belt must be long enough to cover all the sheaves excluding the tensioner until you revive its pressure.
  • In case the belt lies too loosely, it signifies that you have a wrong size belt. The other reason for that is that you have placed it incorrectly.

Step 10: After placing the belt on the motor sheaves, activate the tensioner for the belt mounting finalization.

Step 11: Having revived pressure on the auto tensioner, place the belt over it. Employ the same wrench to weaken the auto-tensioner sheave, then drag the belt over it. As soon as the belt is set, release the tensioner’s pressure for holding the belt in its place. If your automobile features no auto tensioner, input a pry bar or a piece of wood betwixt alternator and motor.

Place the belt over alternator sheave. Employing a bar, extract alternator from motor and then, release pressure on the belt. Clench bolts one more time after applying tension.

Step 12: Having finished the belt installation, take a flashlight to check if the belt placement on the sheaves aligns with the belts’ riffles.

Serpentine Belt Replacement Tips

  • Belt sheave grooves are cleaned better by wire brushes.
  • Always employ the belt of the correct size for maintenance of the normal tension level.
  • Avoid applying “belt dressing” or anti noise sprays. Though they can be a temporary solution of the problem, they may cause belt failure due to the contaminated sheave system.
  • When you remove the belt, twirl the sheaves to make certain that bearings are reliable. If bearings fail, they shriek before locking up and throwing the belt off.

A serpentine belt ensures steady functioning of air conditioner compressor, power steering pump plus the alternator. It may fail or crack after being utilized for some time, and that leads to some systems failure. Steering will become complicated due to the car battery’s diminished charge caused by non-operational power assist. Though belt placing is quite a complicated task, you will easily cope with it by drawing a diagram or making a photo.

Best serpentine belts for the money

Bestseller No. 1
ACDelco 6K930 Professional V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
173 Reviews
ACDelco 6K930 Professional V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
  • Made with temperature and crack resistant EPDM rubber for a long life and quiet, dependable performance
  • Is the belt of choice by professional technicians, lasting 50% to 60% longer than retail belts (low priced belts sold at car part stores)
  • Its precision dimension control of rib profile transmits load efficiently throughout the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS) allowing components to operate at optimum levels
  • Able to operate and accept misalignment in the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS) far greater than other serpentine belts
  • Its flexible construction allows the belt to withstand billions of topside and backside bends resulting in a long belt life
Bestseller No. 2
Bando 6PK2240 Belts
2,890 Reviews
Bando 6PK2240 Belts
  • 6 Ribs x 2240 mm or 6 Ribs x 88.2 Inch
  • Strong tensile cords carry high horsepower loads without stretching
  • Award winning OEM supplier with over 100 major quality awards from manufacturers such as GM, Toyota, Honda, VW, Nissan and many others
  • Ground rubber ribs are compounded from high strength synthetic rubber for wear resistance and long life
  • Bando has one line of belts for both OEM applications and the aftermarket. The same belt the manufacturer specifies and installs is the same belt sold in the aftermarket
Bestseller No. 3
Gates K060841 Serpentine Belt/Fan Belt
172 Reviews
Gates K060841 Serpentine Belt/Fan Belt
  • Gates Micro-V AT(R) Belts K060841 (ONE PER PKG) (K060841)
Bestseller No. 4
Gates K081264HD Serpentine Belt/Fan Belt
129 Reviews
Gates K081264HD Serpentine Belt/Fan Belt
  • Auto & Truck Maintenance
  • Country of manufacture: United States
  • Manufacturer: GATES
Bestseller No. 5
ACDelco 12576447 GM Original Equipment V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
71 Reviews
ACDelco 12576447 GM Original Equipment V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
  • Helps minimize the load on the engine
  • Withstands tension without stretching
  • Multi-ribbed to provide less slippage and durable performance
  • GM-recommended replacement part for your GM vehicle’s original factory component
  • Offering the quality, reliability, and durability of GM OE
Bestseller No. 6
ACDelco 6K935 Professional V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
89 Reviews
ACDelco 6K935 Professional V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
  • Made with temperature and crack resistant EPDM rubber for a long life and quiet, dependable performance
  • Is the belt of choice by professional technicians, lasting 50% to 60% longer than retail belts (low priced belts sold at car part stores)
  • Its precision dimension control of rib profile transmits load efficiently throughout the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS) allowing components to operate at optimum levels
  • Able to operate and accept misalignment in the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS) far greater than other serpentine belts
  • Its flexible construction allows the belt to withstand billions of topside and backside bends resulting in a long belt life
Bestseller No. 7
ACDelco 6K841 Professional V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
  • Made with temperature and crack resistant EPDM rubber for a long life and quiet, dependable performance
  • Is the belt of choice by professional technicians, lasting 50% to 60% longer than retail belts (low priced belts sold at car part stores)
  • Its precision dimension control of rib profile transmits load efficiently throughout the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS) allowing components to operate at optimum levels
  • Able to operate and accept misalignment in the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS) far greater than other serpentine belts
  • Its flexible construction allows the belt to withstand billions of topside and backside bends resulting in a long belt life
Bestseller No. 8
ACDelco 12626222 GM Original Equipment V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
47 Reviews
ACDelco 12626222 GM Original Equipment V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
  • Helps minimize the load on the engine
  • Withstands tension without stretching
  • Multi-ribbed to provide less slippage and durable performance
  • GM-recommended replacement part for your GM vehicle’s original factory component
  • Offering the quality, reliability, and durability of GM OE
Bestseller No. 9
ACDelco K081264HD Specialty Heavy Duty V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
  • Comes with full manufacturer warranty
  • Fits multiple makes and models (contact seller with your vehicle for fitment compatibility information)
Bestseller No. 10
ACDelco 6K975 Professional V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
14 Reviews
ACDelco 6K975 Professional V-Ribbed Serpentine Belt
  • Made with temperature and crack resistant EPDM rubber for a long life and quiet, dependable performance
  • Is the belt of choice by professional technicians, lasting 50% to 60% longer than retail belts (low priced belts sold at car part stores)
  • Its precision dimension control of rib profile transmits load efficiently throughout the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS) allowing components to operate at optimum levels
  • Able to operate and accept misalignment in the accessory belt drive systems (ABDS) far greater than other serpentine belts
  • Its flexible construction allows the belt to withstand billions of topside and backside bends resulting in a long belt life

Last update on 2019-11-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dan Hoffman

Dan is a co-founder of Engineswork. He knows everything about internal combustion engines. Ask your questions in comments down below this article - he will be glad to help you anytime.

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