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Alternator / Serpentine Belt Replacement

The Most Crucial Engine Belt of All Time

No engine is complete without the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt, also known as the alternator belt, is one of the better known engine belts, along with the timing belt. It gets its name because of its shape, and how it snakes around your engine.

In many ways, it is the lifeline to many of the components and engine accessories you rely on when you drive your vehicle. To learn more about the all important serpentine belt, keep on reading.

The Serpentine Belt

The serpentine belt, or alternator belt, is a single continuous belt that transports power to a handful of engine accessories as it spins along in your engine compartment. In most cars, the serpentine belt is responsible for powering items such as:

  • The alternator
  • The AC compressor
  • The water pump
  • Power steering

Having one engine belt to provide power to multiple things is an extremely efficient engine design. However, what it also means is that when your serpentine belt breaks, many of your car’s accessories cease to function properly.

Replacing Your Serpentine Belt

For some folks, they approach their car maintenance with the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality. This may work for some things, but we do not recommend this mindset when it comes to engine maintenance.

Staying on top of your car maintenance is vital when it comes to avoiding unwanted surprises and car breakdowns. In general, we recommend that you get your serpentine belt get replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

Signs Your Serpentine Belt is Ready For Service

  • Illuminated check engine light
  • Signs of wear, such as cracking, tearing, fraying and glazing
  • Squealing or chirping sounds that indicate a loose belt
  • Loss of performance such as power steering capability
  • Atypical noises
  • Overheated engine
  • Dead battery

The Replacement Process for Serpentine Belts

Serpentine belts are one of the most important engine belts. That is why it’s so important to stay ahead on your car service, and get your belt replaced before it completely breaks.

When you take your car in for service, the replacement process will go like this:

  1. The belt tensioner is loosened to make the belt slack
  2. The old serpentine belt is removed and disposed of
  3. The new belt is installed, and the tensioner is tightened once again
  4. The belt operation is tested
  5. The vehicle is road test before being returned to you

Depending on your vehicle, and the other service you may or may not be having done at the time, the whole process of replacing the serpentine belt should take no more than two hours.

The Average Cost of Replacing Your Serpentine Belt

The exact cost of replacing your serpentine belt will vary based on the model of your car, your geographic location, and the auto repair shop you go to.

In most cases however, replacing the serpentine belt in your car is relatively affordable. The average cost for serpentine belt replacement is between $100 and $200.

Like most car services, the part itself is very cheap. It’s the labor hours that become the expensive item on the bill. Most serpentine belts costs between $25 and $80. The labor then will cost between $75 and $120.

The type of vehicle you have with also determine the cost. Some serpentine belts are easier to reach and service than others. The harder the serpentine belt is to locate, the more tools and time it will take to replace.

Reach Out To Us

If you liked reading about the all important serpentine belt, and maybe even learned something new, let us know. We love to hear from readers and customers!

If there is anything else we can do related to your automotive wants, desires and curiosities, don’t be afraid to contact us.

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Serpentine Belt Replacement