Working on your car or truck can be a lot of fun (and a great way to save money). However, it can be a little intimidating at first. Despite this, it is easier than you may think. For example, with a few tools and auto parts, you can replace your serpentine belt relatively quickly. The following information will help you with this process.
What Is a Serpentine Belt?
In any modern vehicle, the motor powers more than just the wheels. There are various accessories including the water pump, alternator (electrical generator) and air conditioning. These accessories need to use some of the energy from the engine for their own power needs. To achieve this, belts and/or chains connect them to the engine crank.
For many vehicles, there is a single belt that connects all or most of the accessories to the engine. This is called a serpentine belt. It derives its names from the fact that it loops around each of the accessories in a serpent-like fashion. In short, the serpentine belt is responsible for powering many of the systems we associate with a safe and comfortable driving experience.
When Do You Need To Replace a Serpentine Belt?
There are a few signs that you can pay attention to that may indicate your belt needs to be changed. These are the most obvious:
• Noise: Most people notice when they hear the sound of the belt slipping. This can create a squealing sound.
• Low Power: In some cases, you may notice reduced performance from accessories. This isn’t always obvious but requires prompt investigation.
• Physical Damage: If the belt is cracked, frayed or peeling, you likely need to replace it. Periodically inspect the belt visually for issues.
• Strange Appearance: If the belt appears oily or shiny, it may need to be replaced. These can be caused by leaks and misalignments.
Effective Ways To Replace a Serpentine Belt
Understanding how to replace a serpentine belt will help you to get the job done quickly. The good news is that it only takes a few steps. You will need a replacement belt, a belt tensioner tool and possibly a wrench set. These are the steps:
1.Record the Belt Position: Serpentine belts wind all over the place. This can get confusing. Make sure you have a diagram in a manual before you start. If you don’t, take some photos of the full length of the serpentine belt.
2.Loosen and Remove the Belt: Using the tensioner tool, loosen the belt tensioners. Then, simply lift the belt off of its tracks and out of the vehicle.
3.Check the Belt: Inspect the belt for visible damage and other issues. If you can’t find any, the problem may be somewhere else. If there is glazing or oiliness, there may be additional issues to fix.
4. Install New Belt: Finally, thread the new belt back, following the same path as before. Then, use the tensioner tool to tension the belt properly. Don’t forget to run the engine when you are done to check your work.