Forum Thread

Auto Serpentine Belt Replacement Time and Cost

greenmeansgoooo 13,930 3,398 February 17, 2011 at 05:59 PM
How many miles/years before the serpentine belt needs to be replaced?

I understand that there can be small hairline cracks less then 1/8th inch on the ribbed side, as long as they dont go all the way through to the flat side and there arent excessive chunks missing from the ribs. also, there are 2 lines on the tentioner and as long as the pointer is between those 2 lines then the belt isnt stretched out.

How much to have it replaced at the garage, not dealer?

I would estimate about $120, $30-40 for the belt itself and $80-90 for labor. I understand that it is fairly easy to replace with the tentioner compared to older auto that used the V-belts that had to be wedged onto the pulleys.

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#2
Well, the belt itself could be priced about what you say, maybe a little more -- and I guess most garages will upcharge that price by up to 30%.

I can't think of any model that would require more than about 15 minutes to change it -- as long as the mechanic or owner has a tool to pull back the tensioner to release it to remove the old belt, and then again to install the new one. I'm sure you could do this yourself -- there is usually a diagram on the hood or around the radiator that shows you how to thread it.

There actually was a model of a chevrolet (car) that wound the belt around a motor mount or axle, and tht one was a PITA. It almost requires a garage to do it -- but I'm hoping you don't have one like that.

I bought a tool a few years ago that works a lot better than a wrench or a ratchet to loosen the tensioner from the Mac tool dealer or possibly another tool dealer -- it's a flat bar with different sizes of the end that would be on a ratchet wrench that you can snap in and out of the tool.

This tool was/is required on a lot of models of cars/trucks because it is thin enough to get into the space you need to work and a ratchet is too thick to get in there.

I'm just sure that auto parts stores like AutoZone or OReilly's or PepBoys would have a version of this tool for home users or shade-tree mechanics. It might cost you 40 bucks or so, but still a lot cheaper than paying $65 an hour or more for a shop to change out your belt. Even if the tool is $100 -- you pay for it once and always have it on hand to change the belts on whatever model you have. Check on Amazon, also. You do a lot of work on your own and changing a serp belt is DEFINATELY something you can do yourself if you have the right tool to get into the space you need to work in.

NOTE: if a ratchet is too thick to get into the space, using a pry bar to move the tensioner is not recommended.

This "looks like" the one I have, but mine has 5 or 6 additional "ends" you could use:

http://www.amazon.com/KD-Tools-KD...B0014DEX5A
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Last edited by callpocket February 17, 2011 at 06:19 PM
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#3
belt between 20 to 40 and you can rent tools in autozone it's really easy to change it;
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#4
This is probably a lot easier than the stuff you've done and described in your other threads. You just need the right tool to get it done. Rent it or buy it == but don't pay to have a belt changed.
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#5
Autozone and O'Reilly's may have the tool to rent (free rent, just give them a deposit).
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#6
Thanks for the info and i book marked that am@zon link for future reference.
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#7
Couple weeks ago, wife got rejected for VA Safety Inspection for a 'worn' power steering belt on Honda Accord.

Inspector said $155. Parts ($60) + labor ($95/hour) +shop/misc fees = ~$200 for P/S belt and Serp belt.

$20 at auto zone for 2 belts and 10 minutes to replace. It took 5 minutes to round up the hand tools and pop the hood and 5 minutes to replace belts. I thought about firing up the air compressor, but would have added another 5 minutes.
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#8
This is a super easy DIY. The belt may cost $20. Depending upon how much space you have to work with, the swap may take 10 minutes.

In my old Grand Prix, the engine compartment was spacious and it was easy to change belts - put an adjustable wrench on the tensioner, relieve the tension, remove belt, then reverse steps with new belt. My wife's old Taurus had only maybe an inch between the belt time of the engine and the wheel well, which made it more difficult to swap, which just meant more time.

Belts' lifespan may vary - things to look for include squealing, an indication that the smooth side of the belt is worn and slipping, and cracks in the belt or missing "teeth".

Suggestion - when you change the belt, take a good look at your tensioner - the tensioner in my GP was getting really loose which deteriorated the belt quicker - replacement was cheap ($10) and easy. While you have the belt off, it's easy to change. Also take a look at all the pulleys and etc - clean them up well before installing a new belt, especially if you've used any belt dressing in the past.

Oh yeah, and take note of the belt routing BEFORE you take the old one off! Cars used to have a little drawing of the belt path inside the engine compartment but I haven't seen that in awhile.
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#9
Quote from greenmeansgoooo View Post :
How many miles/years before the serpentine belt needs to be replaced?

I understand that there can be small hairline cracks less then 1/8th inch on the ribbed side, as long as they dont go all the way through to the flat side and there arent excessive chunks missing from the ribs. also, there are 2 lines on the tentioner and as long as the pointer is between those 2 lines then the belt isnt stretched out.

How much to have it replaced at the garage, not dealer?

I would estimate about $120, $30-40 for the belt itself and $80-90 for labor. I understand that it is fairly easy to replace with the tentioner compared to older auto that used the V-belts that had to be wedged onto the pulleys.

Agree with checking idler pulley(s) also check for wear in the water pump at that time - my belt gets replaced every 90K miles it's a good time to replace WP then too.
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Last edited by Spartanicus February 18, 2011 at 06:44 AM
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#10
if your worried about it.....its time for replacement. it breaks your stuck
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#11
Well type of vehicle matters too, so its all guesses here since we dont know what your talking about. Your user manual should have defined service intervals that are usually explained. A quick search says about 5 years or 60,000 miles. I guess by this logic I should look at doing mine. Stretch isnt a big problem on a modern car unless its so bad its causing squeeks or excessive wear because you have a automatic tensioner that is adjusting for this. It is also a fiber reinforced belt.
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#12
We need know the type of car, there are various belts & changing intervals. Depends if you have a belt or a chain too.
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#13
It really depends on the car. My old Z was great in that it was just using a ratchet to move the tension piece around and remembering how the belt winds around. Newer cars require you to have smurf hands and a funny shaped prybar, but it can still be done in 10 minutes if you have an idea of what you are doing.
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#14
I've replaced the serpentine belt on my 1.9L Ford Escort in as little as 2 minutes. I buy the cheapest belts from Autozone, which are made by Goodyear, and differ from their more expensive ones only in warranty.

Modern belts don't always develop cracks when they need to be replaced because they're made of EPDM, a type of rubber that's highly resistant to ozone. This is the same kind of rubber used for the water hoses and door gaskets but not fuel or vacuum hoses (EPDM can be destroyed by fuel or oil). So with those belts you also have to check the depth of the grooves, and if they're too deep, replace the belt: link [gates.com].
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#15
I changed the belt on my 2005 Altima last year at a cost of $75. I first went to Midas and they quoted me $240, then to the dealer and they said $160. A local shop was recommended to me (online reviews, newspaper, and coworkers) and they gave me the $75 quote. Midas was only willing to drop the price 20% when i told them about the cost.
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