How Long Does It Take To Replace A Serpentine Belt

Do you know what a serpentine belt is? It is a long belt with small “notches” on its base. It runs along the crankshaft pulley, power steering pulley, alternator pulley, air conditioning pulley, and water pump pulley.

The modern serpentine belt does not require regular maintenance unlike the V-belt used before which had to be replaced or checked regularly for defaults.

Whether you own an old or latest model of car, the serpentine belt needs to be inspected more often, so they do not fail. When it starts getting bad, you can replace it before it becomes a critical problem.

Check each time you change the oil or when checking the position of the self-adjusting mechanism. This will make sure that you notice a failing belt earlier before it locks in place.

How Can You Tell If The Serpentine Belt Needs Replacement?

Let us start with the inspection of the serpentine belt. This is a great way to tell if you need to use a new belt. Of course, if it has torn in the middle and crumpled in a corner against your A/C compressor, it is obvious that the belt was the problem.

However, if it stays intact, check it for wear. In case the belt runs poorly, you will see damage to the ribs and inner cords, but you may need a flashlight and a mirror to see the minor effects of fraying.

If you find that the belt is not in bad condition, you should still inspect the tensioner, but it could be another problem, like a broken pulley.

Typically, the smooth back of the serpentine belt powers the water pump. If the serpentine belt is glazed or oil soaked, the engine will not be cooled as required.

The belt will be slipping and will not be driving the water pump. If oil is on the belt, you need to find out where the leak is and repair it before putting on a new belt.

Replacing The Serpentine Belt 

Most belts can keep for about 150,000 miles without the need for maintenance, but if oil or grease gets on the belt, it can quickly degrade its performance.

The other reason might be that your tensioner, who exerts direct pressure on the belt and eliminates the need to adjust the tension in your belt, could be bad. Either way, you have to get under the hood.

To get this job done, you need:

1. A Ratchet (of different sizes)


2. A New Snake Strap

A New Snake Strap

3. A Ruler


4. Screw-Proof Connection

Screw-Proof Connection

5. A New Tensioner (optional but recommended)


The installation is simple. There is no reason to disassemble the entire engine to replace a belt. When the tensioner is unloaded, loosen the belt from its lane.

Thread the belt through the system and let the end that runs around the tensioner to the last. Now, hold the tensioner loosely while threading the last roll.

Tighten the tensioner assembly until you have good tension. It will be adjusted automatically. You can check the voltage by checking the markings on the side of the assembly.

The notch on the side should fall between the upper and lower markings on the outer assembly when the belt is installed correctly.

Make sure everything is fitted after the installation and before you start your engine. Let it run for a few minutes to make sure you have proper tension on your belt.

That is it, you have installed a new serpentine belt on your car. Occasionally your belt will break during the ride. If this happens, pull gently to the side of the road and call a tow truck.

How Long Will The Above Procedure Take?

If you are doing it for the first time, it can take you some time to get the job done. The process will involve figuring out which bolt is ideal to loosen the pivot, the fitting size, moving around, walking back and forth to the toolbox.

All these can take you one and a half an hour or more.

For an experienced person, it will only take about 20-minutes, as the only concern will be to understand out how to loosen the tensioner bolt, and if the belt is the right one.

One thing to remember is that it does not necessarily require disassembling all the engine parts. You are only required to loosen the bolt that goes behind the PS pump. This will move the tensioner pulley.

You will then slide the default belt off and replace with the right one. This process should not take you more than 30 minutes.

Let’s Answer Some Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some of the problem of a bad serpentine belt?

There three major problems, such as:

  • The alternator will not work.
  • You will not have power steering.
  • The air conditioner stops cooling

2. How can I check for a defect pulley?

The best way to check these pulleys is to remove the belt and turn it with your finger. If you hear a roaring noise, replace it. If the pulley has a roughness when turning, replace it.

3. Why should I need to check the serpentine belt regularly?

The main reason you need to pay particular attention to this belt is that it is so vital to the performance of your vehicle. Regular inspections also help you prevent sudden failures that can lead to major headaches.

4. Why am I required to run the engine for some time after installing the serpentine belt?

You should let it run for some time to make sure you have proper tension on your belt.

5. Should I install the serpentine belt on my own?

If you do not have special tools in your house, it is recommended that you allow a specialist to install V-belts. This ensures that the belt has the right tension and that there are no problems with belt slip later on.

Best of all, if you go through a repair centre, they will guarantee their work. This way, if there is a problem that happens after you have repaired the car, you will return it free of charge.

Concluding Thoughts 

It is extremely important that your belt is installed correctly. Incorrect installation could result in you being back in this situation in less than a month.

In addition, it could potentially damage the connected parts by forcing them to run backwards. It may look impossible, but realize that the flat, smooth side of the belt drives certain elements.

Also Read:

1. Top 10 Jeep Hardtop Hoists List
2. How To Remove Water In Gas Tank?
3. How To Fix An Exhaust Leak In Different Way?

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