National average cost of a a Serpentine Belt Replacement for popular vehicles:
Avg. cost $109
Avg. cost $94
Avg. cost $95
What is a serpentine belt and how does it work?
Your engine needs to perform a number of roles. Not only does it provide power so your vehicle can move, but it also has to keep itself cool, keep passengers cool, assist with power steering, and generate electricity. In order to accomplish all this, a number of engine accessories - like the alternator, power steering pump, AC compressor, and sometimes the water pump - are actuated by a rubber belt called a serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine's crankshaft and, in turn, drives pulleys connected to these other components. It is sometimes referred to as a "drive belt" or "fan belt".
Signs that your serpentine belt needs to be replaced
When a serpentine belt begins to wear out, it stretches and cracks, and the ribs that ride along the pulleys begin to wear smooth. You might notice a squealing noise that gets louder when the engine speed increases or when you turn on the air conditioner. Visual inspection of the serpentine belt might also reveal signs of wear. If the belt breaks while you are driving, you will likely lose power steering function and your engine will stall.
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To replace a serpentine belt, a technician will need to access the front of your vehicle's engine, which might include removing shields or other components. Next, the belt tensioner must be loosened and the worn belt is removed. The technician will install the new belt, carefully routing it in the proper direction around the pulleys. The tensioner is tightened or released, and the engine is started to check for proper operation. Once everything is put back into place, the vehicle is test driven to verify the repair.
Other questions customers ask
Is an alternator belt the same as a serpentine belt?
The component commonly called a serpentine belt (because it snakes around a series of pulleys on an engine) is technically known as a Front Engine Accessory Drive belt, or FEAD. Many consumers simply call it a drive belt. Others refer to it as a “fan belt”, because the cars of yesteryear featured cooling fans driven by a belt connected to the engine. One of the engine accessories or components that is driven by the serpentine belt (besides the AC compressor, power steering pump, and others) is the alternator. Therefore, the “alternator belt” is the serpentine belt.
What happens if your serpentine belt breaks while driving?
A serpentine belt that breaks while you are driving can result in a hazardous condition. Without the rotational power supplied through the belt, your power steering assist will not function, your vehicle’s electrical system will be depleted, and other systems may be affected. The water pump that helps to keep your engine cool may not work either. Your engine will soon stall out as you fight the steering to control your direction. This is why it is important to stick to a regular maintenance and inspection routine.
Can I drive my car without a serpentine belt?
Without a serpentine belt, your vehicle will not operate. Under no circumstances should you attempt to drive without the serpentine belt intact. Instead, have your vehicle towed.
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What parts are related to a Serpentine Belt Replacement?
What are some other common services related to a Serpentine Belt Replacement?
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