How to Replace a Serpentine Drive Belt
A serpentine belt drives the accessories like the air conditioner compressor,power steering pump and alternator. Over time these belts will crack and fail if not replaced before their service interval, usually between 30,000 and 50,000 miles. If the serpentine belt breaks you will lose operation of those accessories. Steering will be difficult but not impossible to turn, the power assist will be missing. The air conditioner and alternator will not work. Your battery will last a short time without being charged, but not for very long. Service should be immediate. The belt routing can be a bit confusing, make sure to take a picture before you remove the old belt or at least have a diagram to help you get it re-installed correctly.
Before you begin place your car on a flat surface with the engine "off" in park with the parking brake on. Wear protective clothing, eyewear and gloves to avoid injury.
Tools Needed to Complete this Job
1. Sockets and Ratchet
2. Breaker Bar
3. Replacement Serpentine Belt
4. Wrench Set
5. Flash Light
Serpentine Belt Replacement Instructions
Step 1 - Remove any engine covers, shrouds or plastic guards that may cover the work area. (You will need access to the front of the engine).
Step 2 - Identify the serpentine belt,belt tensioner and idler pulley.
Step 3 - You need to use a wrench to release the tension from the serpentine belt before removal can occur. Once you have released the tension, hold it there and remove the serpentine belt from the bottom pulley and all the idler pulleys and accessory pulleys.
Step 4 - With the belt removed, spin all the pulleys to make sure the bearings are good in each one. When bearings go out they can start to squeal before they lock up and throw the belt off, but not always, so it is a good idea to check them when changing your belt and when servicing your engine.
Step 5 - Make sure to compare the new belt with the old one to make sure they are the same length. Slightly different length is not ok, the belts must be the same length.
Step 6 - Loop new serpentine belt under the bottom pulley and retrace previous routing.
Step 7 - Use wrench to reduce belt tension so the serpentine belt so it will fit into the grooves on the pulley on the tensioned idler pulley.
Step 8 - Inspect all pulleys and accessories to make sure the grooves of the belt are aligned with the grooves of every pulley and accessory and double check serpentine belt routing. No adjustment is necessary; the serpentine belt tension is automatically maintained by the spring tensioned idler pulley.
Step 9 - Replace all shrouds, guards and covers.
Use a wire brush to clean the belt pulley grooves
Always use the right size belt so the tensioner can obtain the proper amount of tension on the belt
Do not use "belt dressing" or anti noise sprays. This is a temporary fix and will cause the replacement belt to fail prematurely because they contaminate the pulley system.