How do you replace a serpentine belt?

Updated: 10/20/2022
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On a vehicle with a serpentine belt system there is always a tensioner pulley. Usually in the center of the routing network, you need to place the correct size wrench on it and push or pull with one hand releasing the tension on the belt. With the tension released, use the other hand and slip the belt out.

Most vehicles have a sticker in the engine compartment for replacing the belt to be sure it is put back in correctly. If not, be sure you look at the routing and or draw a picture so that it is replaced the same.

First and foremost, make sure you have a diagram before removing the old belt. If there isn�t one under the hood, get out the pencil and paper and draw it out labeling the pullies and arrows pointing to the direction the belt travels on them. Save this paper in the glove compartment when the job is done for future reference. As far as replacing goes, it depends on the engine. Believe it or not, they are different amongst manufacturers, makes and models, so Bclear! If there is a spring loaded tensioner, you�ll need to turn the tensioner back to relieve pressure, and slide the belt off the tensioner pulley. Depending on the tensioner, you may be able to use a socket wrench with the right socket, 3/8� drive with socket wrench, or in some cases, you�ll need a tool that is meant for just this called a belt tensioner wrench. After it is relieved of tension, the belt can be removed. The new one gets routed the same, if you can�t remember, refer to your diagram. If you didn�t make one and can�t remember, listen closely and you�ll hear me laughing at you. Some belts require motor mounts to be removed and some are just plain nasty, such as the 1.9 motor found in Ford escorts. If there is no tensioner. Look for a bolt going through a bracket that the alternater or Power Steering mounts to. Loosen the bolt, pry back whatever components keeps tension, and replace the belt. Make the tension respectfully taunt and tighten bolt back down after the belt is replaced..

First of all take a good look at your installed belt and note all contact pulleys.A picture of the belt routing should be noted with a picture on the cross member under the hood. One of the pulleys is a smooth idler wheel that takes the slack out of serpentine belt when installed and rides on the serpentine back side. This idler pulley is spring loaded and a long bar is needed to pry tension from it to release the serpentine belt. Some part of the engine can be used for a fulcrum point to get leverage. Be careful.......

One of the pulleys that the belt goes around is a pretensioner, put a half inch drive ratchet into the center of the pulley and pull until there will be enough slack to put the belt on. There is usually a diagram under the hood to show how the belt goes.

There are two bolts on the alternator one long that holds the alternator onto the vehicle and one short that adjusts the belts to tighten and loosen. Loosen both bolts, this allows the alternator to tilt letting you remove belt. Pull it back into place and tighten. Let it run for at least 15 min and recheck slack in belt.

If this is a serpentine belt; Loosen the tension on the belt tensioner, pull off old belt, put on new belt, leave slack at tensioner, pull back tensioner, wrap belt on tensioner, release pressure

On most alternators there is an adjusting bolt and a pivot bolt , both bolts must be loosened slightly to enable you to move the alternator , After the two bolts have been loosened , move the alternator ( toward the engine to loosen the belt ) (away from engine to tighten the belt ) You might have to move other belt driven components in the same manner as for the alternator Install belts adjust tension on belts ( It will often be necessary to use some sort of prybar to move the components while the belt is adjusted ,If this must be done to gain the proper leverage , be careful not to damage the components being moved or the part being pried against . ) Belt tension of each belt is checked by pushing on the belt at a distance halfway between the pulleys ( push firmly with your thumb and see how much the belt deflects ) A rule of thumb is that if the distance from pulley centre is between 7 and 11 inches the belt should deflect 1/4 inch , 12 to 16 inches 1/2 inch . A serentine belt ( the tension is controled by a tensioner ( loosen tensioner replace belt ) For better installation instructions go to the libary and check out a book or buy a Haynes Repair Manual for your make , year of car hoped this help you out

If you have only one external belt on your car, it's probably a serpentine belt. There will be a tensioner that needs to be released using a breaker bar or some other tool. With the pressure released it should just slide off... make sure you remember how it went on - maybe take a picture. Now if it's more than one belt you've got... usually there's a way to move a component driven by the belt. Usually the alternator itself swings a bit if loosened to slack the belt. Note: It's recommended to replace the tensioner either at the belt change, or 60k or so.

Go ahead and draw a diagram of the pulleys, but getting the correct diagram online and taking digital camera photos of everything in the correct place is much more reliable.

Also if you're experiencing squealing, rough up the surface of the pulleys a little using a wire brush or brillo pad.

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Q: How do you replace a serpentine belt?
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