Your vehicle has a lot of moving parts that all help to make it run smoothly. One of the more important moving pieces on your engine is the serpentine belt, or s-belt. Unfortunately, like most things in life, serpentine belts are not indestructible, and may need to be replaced. Luckily, replacing your serpentine belt is something that doesn't require a mechanic to fix, although you will need to be careful when fixing it yourself. First, let's take a look at what the serpentine belt is, and what it does.
When you open your hood and take a look at your engine, you'll see a series of pulleys, pumps, gears, and other moving parts. As you're looking you should see one continuous belt that loops around multiple different parts of the engine. This is your serpentine belt. It runs every single engine-driven accessory like the water pump, alternator, air conditioning system, power steering, and more. Because so many systems depend on the health and well-being of the serpentine belt, it is crucial to periodically inspect the belt for signs of cracking, fraying, or glazing. If you've driven between 30,000 and 60,000 miles and know that you haven't changed your serpentine belt in that timeframe, it's probably a good idea to get a fresh belt put on.
Replacing a Serpentine Belt
Before you start to replace your serpentine belt, be sure you have the new one beforehand. It may sound obvious, but better safe than sorry. Once you've got the new belt, take a look at the repair manual and/or the belt routing diagram that is located under your hood. You want to have a pretty good idea of how to remove and replace the belt correctly so it goes on. After that, you'll need to find the self-adjusting tensioner which looks kind of like a smooth roller. Slowly release tension from the belt with the help of a tension remover and remove the old belt.
After you've got the old belt off, use your hand to check the tensioner pulley for wear by spinning it with your hand. If it's noisy, too loose, or too tight, we recommend replacing it before you put your new serpentine belt on. You should also check all the pumps and idler pulleys to make sure they move freely as well. After you've checked and made sure everything is in tip-top shape, take the new serpentine belt and line up all the belt ribs in the pulley grooves. Once you've got it exactly how the old belt was, tighten the tensioner and you'll be ready to drive!