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How To Change a Serpentine Belt

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Changing the serpentine belt on your vehicle is not as difficult as it may seem. On most vehicles, getting to, removing, and replacing the serpentine is relatively easy. All that is required are some basic hand tools and the time and willingness to try it.

This simple DIY should walk you through it. Most vehicle engines in passenger cars and rucks are basically the same in terms of configuration. The serpentine belt(s) run around the front of the engine to wind around the accessories and provide engine power to turn them. The belt will go around the crank shaft pulley (usually at bottom) to turn the alternator (electric power), power steering pump, air conditioning pump, and other accessories.

Serpentine Belt layout (typical)As the illustration at right shows, the path the serpentine takes can be complex. On some vehicles, there is more than one belt and the path is less complicated for each.

To remove the belt, only one of the items it winds around needs to be loosened. With multiple belts, one item per belt needs to be loosened. Usually, no item needs to be removed to get the belt off and put a replacement on.

In the case shown here, a tightening pulley is present at roughly the center point of the belt (marked). Loosening this pulley allows the belt to be removed and replaced.

On a vehicle with multiple serpentine belts, an accessory item is usually loosened - almost always the alternator and/or power steering pump.

Replacement is the reverse. Make sure the new belt fits and is the right type (an exact match of the old one). If the belt is too large, too small, or too thin or wide, it will fail spectacularly and probably cause damage when it does.

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