Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Install serpentine belt

Tip on how to install serpentine belts.

If you’ve ever tried replacing a serpentine belt, you know that it comes off easier than the new one goes on. Part of the reason is because the old belt has stretched a bit. But as I have given advice to friends over the years, the one thing I notice is that they always try to install the last portion of the belt around a pulley that has grooves on it–like alternator or power steering. You can do it that way, but it’s the HARD way to do it. Here’s the tip. Start at the bottom and work your way up towards the top. You want your last portion to be on a SMOOTH pulley—like an idler roller or a water pump pulley. That way you can ease the edge of the belt onto the smooth portion of the pulley and push it the rest of the way. You don’t have to worry about lifting the belt over the ridge on the edge of a grooved pulley. Also, if you want to invest in one tool that will save you a lot of sweat and turns serpentine belt replacement into a 10 minute job, buy one of these tools.

Also, change the belt tensioner when you change the belt or you’ll wind up with this

serpentine belt, belt tensioner, belt dressing, install serpentine belt

New versus worn out belt tensioner


© 2012 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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