Tips for Replacing Serpentine Belt

Need some tips for replacing serpentine belt? Most late model vehicles (both foreign and domestic), use the serpentine belt system to drive their accessories. The serpentine belt system was adopted to replace the multiple belts on earlier models. The serpentine belt is about 1 inch wide and has a series of groves on the side that contacts the pulleys.

Serpentine belts do not have a specific time or mileage limit. The best way to determine when a serpentine belt should be replaced is to inspect it for cracks in the grooves of the belt. If any cracks can be seen the belt is getting brittle and should be replaced.

The serpentine belt should be checked for any fraying along the outside edges. Fraying indicates a problem with one of the accessories. In most cases the accessory is worn out. It could be a pulley or tensioner that is worn severely and has sharp edges or is misaligned due to the failure.

The biggest problem encountered in replacing a serpentine belt is routing. Routing is different on most vehicles and can be quite perplexing if unfamiliar. Always memorize the routing prior to removal. If it is a complex system routing, look for a placard on the radiator support shroud depicting the routing. If no placard is seen, look at the owner's manual or a service manual for this information. Another idea is to check the internet by searching for the serpentine routing for the particular vehicle.

Squealing is another reason for replacing a serpentine belt. The belt gets contaminated by oil or antifreeze, which caused the belt to glaze or get slippery. There is nothing that will work well to eliminate this, other than replacing the belt.

Always check the belt tensioner to make sure it is operating effectively. Check the tension on the belt by pushing on a section of the belt between the two pulleys that are the farthest apart. There should be no more than an inch of deflection when pressure is applied.

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