If you need an estimate of cost involved in replacing a serpentine belt, you have landed on the right page. Read to get a rough estimate of the procedure.
Generally, a serpentine belt needs replacement after 60,000 miles of running. However, it’s recommended that it be checked for signs of wear, after every 6000 mile clocking or at least twice a year.
Auto repair can be costly and unless you have a regular maintenance regimen planned for your car, the costs are only going to escalate. It’s quite natural that you check the overall cost that could be possibly incurred, before you hand over a replacement job, to a repair center. Here we analyze the cost of replacing a serpentine belt, which runs the alternator, water pump, air conditioning processor and the power steering pump of your car. It should be remembered that serpentine belt and a timing belt are different car parts. Folks new to car mechanics tend to get them mixed up.
Do-it-Yourself Replacement Cost
Replacing a belt is a relatively simple job, that’s undertaken by many drivers on their own. The job usually takes about half to one hour, depending on the car model and your expertise.
You can take help of the car manual diagram of the belt assembly or buy a Hayne’s manual, which will have the necessary information about the replacement procedure, specific to your car model. If you do this on your own, then belt replacement cost would be limited to the price of a new belt, which would be about $50 to $200 or more, depending on the car model.
Replacement Cost at a Service Center
If you do not have the time or the patience for it, car service centers are just a phone call away. Of course it will cost a lot more. In this case, the replacement cost can shoot up anywhere in the range of $75 to $250 or more, which includes the cost of the new belt. In case the car needs towing, the cost will add up accordingly.
In the following lines, you will find an explanation of the belt’s function in the car assembly, along with a listing of symptoms which indicate its failure.
Car engine is the central hub of a car’s working mechanism, which drives all the sub-systems. A serpentine belt is a medium through which the torque provided by the car engine’s crankshaft is distributed to the various subsystems in the car.
This belt drives many devices like the power steering pump (hydraulic pump providing force that drives the steering gear), air conditioning compressor (device that drive the air conditioning mechanism), water pump (part of engine cooling mechanism) and most importantly, it drives the alternator (the car dynamo which generates power and stores it in the car battery). As you can see, the belt drives many systems simultaneously and its failure can cause major problems.
That’s why going for a belt replacement at the slightest indication of wear and tear is vital. Older cars had separate belts for operation of different devices, but the serpentine belt has replaced these multiple belts in modern cars.
Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms
While checking out the cost, you might want to make sure if a replacement is actually required. This can be checked by opening the hood and having a look at the belt itself. The belt needs to be taut with adequate tension, which can be adjusted with the help of a tensioner pulley and bolt. A slack and hanging belt is bad news. Minor slackness can be taken care of, by adjustment of the tensioner bolt. However, if you see that the belt has gone too slack and has cracked in places, then replacement is on the cards. Oil and water deposits on the belt should be cleaned, as they can cause damage. Some external signs of a worn out belt are a persistent squeaking noise while driving or malfunctioning of devices, which the belt drives.
It’s best to let professionals handle car repair jobs, unless you are a seasoned hand at it. Regular maintenance can cut down most of your repair costs. Decide what course to take, depending on time, your level of repair expertise and budget constraints.