4 Serpentine Belt FAQs
Let’s go over some queries based on the serpentine belt and their answers:
1. What Is A Serpentine Belt?
A serpentine belt is a flat rubber belt that’s ribbed on one side and smooth on the other.
It basically transports power from the crankshaft to important engine components like the alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, and water pump. In older vehicles, these parts have separate belts to deliver power.
While having a single belt for all parts is efficient, it’s also why you should replace the serpentine belt ASAP if you spot any issue. Even the smallest malfunction can damage major car parts, affecting your car’s drivability.
2. What Causes A Bad Serpentine Belt?
Here are a few causes why your serpentine belt needs replacement:
- Defective belt tensioner
- Cracked serpentine belt
- Misaligned pulley
- Defective bearings in any belt accessories like tensioner, idler, etc
3. How Often Should You Change The Serpentine Belt?
Ideally, your car’s serpentine belt should last for about 60000 – 100000 miles.
However, you should inspect the belt regularly and get it replaced during routine maintenance, even if it doesn’t show any visible wear and tear.
4. How To Replace A Serpentine Belt?
Since a serpentine belt is a vital car component that affects your vehicle’s driving performance, it’s best to leave it to a certified mechanic.
That being said, here’s an overview of a serpentine belt replacement.
- Press the hood release to open your car’s hood and access the serpentine belt.
- Disconnect the battery and locate the serpentine belt. Based on your engine type, you may find the belt at the front of the engine or on the sides.
- Then, inspect the belt visually for any cracks or damages. Check if any other parts are rubbing against the belt and fix it.
- If there’s damage, look for the serpentine belt routing map, which you can find on a decal in most engine bays.
- Next, remove the tension on the serpentine belt. To do so, use a wrench to loosen the auto tensioner. If your car uses an alternator bracket, loosen its bolts.
- Once done, remove the belt from the pulley.
- Finally, run the new belt through the pulleys (in the correct route) and increase the tension on the belt.