Hiss, Squeak! Changing Your Car's Serpentine Belt

You're driving down the road when you suddenly hear a loud squealing noise. In many cases, this means that your vehicle's serpentine belt has either rotted, cracked, or come loose. While your car might still be driving just fine, the serpentine belt is actually an integral part of how your motor works, and if it's bad it should be replaced as soon as possible. Rather than shell out a lot of money to the local mechanic, find out how you can change your belt out at home yourself.

Find Your Route

Every car's serpentine belt is routed a bit differently, and it's important to know just how yours is routed before you start performing any work. Most modern day vehicles actually have a routing diagram under the hood somewhere, so look for this. If you can't find it, you can most likely find it online by looking up your particular make and model. This is important since the new belt must be routed correctly in order for it to work properly.

Get Your Tools

There are really only a few tools needed to change the serpentine belt. A pair of heavy duty work gloves should be worn since you'll be digging under the hood. You will also need to purchase a replacement belt specific to your car's make and model. A tensioner tool, as well as a belt placement tool should be used to install it.

Remove the Old Belt

You'll need to remove all remnants of the old serpentine belt first, so be sure you gently pull it out and get all of the debris it may have left behind if there was any fraying. You'll need to use the tensioner tool to help release any remaining tension before you can pull the old belt out. Slowly release the tension until you feel it loosening, and then you can manually take the old belt out.

Installing the New Belt

Open the new serpentine belt package and very carefully follow the routing diagram for your vehicle. Wrap the serpentine belt around the proper pulleys as shown in the diagram. Take your time to ensure that this is done correctly before you tighten it. Be sure there are no parts overlapping or that anything is twisted. Make sure the belt is in the pulley grooves, and then use the tensioner tool to re-tighten the new belt. Do not tighten it too much or it can break. Once it's snugly in place, you've got a brand new serpentine belt that probably saved you a lot of money. For assistance, talk to a professional like Arringdale's Engine Rebuilding & Auto Repair.