Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost Guide [2023 Pricing]
The serpentine belt, also sometimes called the drive belt, is a critical component in your car. It runs from the engine to all the different devices and components that rely on the engine for power. In most cases, the serpentine belt will last for a long time, but when it starts to wear out, you’ll want to get it replaced before it snaps and also wants to know the serpentine belt replacement cost.
The cost of replacing a serpentine belt ranges from $58 to $250, depending on who does the work. The parts cost typically ranges from $40 to $75, with the remaining cost going to labor charges. The vehicle makes, and models and your geographic location may also impact the price. The average cost for most cars is around $130.
This article will give you an overview of the cost of a bad serpentine belt replacement, as well as some tips on how to save money. We’ll also take a look at some of the best times to get your belt replaced.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt?
A few things will determine a serpentine belt replacement cost, such as the make and model of your vehicle, the type of belt used, and the labor involved in installing it.
On average, you can expect to pay between $50 – $250. The national average cost is around $132, but you should expect to pay more if you take it to a dealership. It’s always best to shop around to get the best price.
If you are looking for a cheaper option, some auto parts stores offer replacement belts for less than $20. But remember that these belts may be of low quality, so you’ll want to research them before purchasing.
Alternatively, you may enter the model and make of your car, or even the license plate, on websites like YourMechanic, Wrench, RepairSmith, RepairPal, and others to get a quick quote for your specific vehicle.
However, the table below can give you some insight into drive replacement serpentine belt cost samples for a quick comparison. That way, you’ll know what to expect before you head to the shop.
Serpentine Belt Replacement Costs for Different Vehicles
|Ford F-series||$122 to $156|
|Ford Focus||$122 to $156|
|Toyota Camry||$122 to $256|
|Nissan Altima||$101 to $126|
|Honda Civic||$101 to $126|
|Toyota Corolla||$122 to $156|
|Chevrolet Silverado||$111 to $159|
What Is a Serpentine Belt?
Your car’s serpentine belt is a single, continuous belt that winds around several pulleys to power the alternator, fan belt, air conditioner (air conditioning compressor), power steering pump, and water pump.
It’s called serpentine because it snakes around the engine compartment. And it’s an example of a power steering belt guided by an older pulley. The serpentine belt is a critical component of your car’s engine; if it fails, your car will stop working.
OEM vs. Aftermarket: How Much Can You Save?
Depending on your make and model, you can save up to 50% by taking your car to a local mechanic or garage versus the dealership. You should always expect to pay more at the dealer unless you have warranty coverage or a service contract to cover repairs.
The aftermarket belt is almost always cheaper when you compare OEM and aftermarket belts. The only time it’s not is if you need a belt specific to your car’s make and model. But even then, the difference in price is usually negligible.
That’s why it makes sense to go with an aftermarket belt. You can save a lot of money, and the installation process is simple enough to do it yourself. Plus, aftermarket parts typically have the same warranty coverage as long as you buy them from reputable retailers.
Shopping Around for Serpentine Belts: Dealerships vs. DIY Prices
When it comes to finding the best deal on a worn serpentine belt, it pays to shop around. OEM parts from dealerships can be expensive, but you can often find lower-cost aftermarket replacement belts online or at local auto parts stores. However, be sure to compare prices and read reviews before making a purchase, as quality can vary significantly between brands.
If you’re comfortable doing the installation yourself, you can save even more money by buying the new belt and tools needed to replace it online or at a hardware store. However, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions closely to avoid causing damage to your vehicle.
Why Are Serpentine Belts Important?
Your engine’s serpentine belt is necessary because it powers crucial engine accessories. These include the alternator, which generates electrical power for the vehicle, and the water pump, which circulates coolant through the engine to prevent it from overheating.
It also powers the power steering pump, which helps you steer your car. Other parts include AC units and crankshaft components. A broken belt will cause a lot of problems, and it can make your vehicle stall. You may also experience problems with the electrical system, the combustion system timing belt, the cooling system, and other parts.
Getting a new serpentine belt is a good idea if you’re experiencing issues with any of these systems. You don’t want to wait until the belt breaks and fails altogether because that may cause a lot more damage.
How Often Should a Serpentine Belt Be Replaced?
Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s precise instructions on how frequently to change your serpentine belt. Many cars advise replacing the serpentine belt every 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
What Signs Indicate a Faulty Serpentine Belt?
If you’re unsure whether you need to replace your serpentine belt, here are some common symptoms of a failing belt:
- The old belt starts making a loud noise, especially when the engine generates cold air
- The belt starts slipping or squealing
- The belt is worn and cracked
- The engine is overheating
- There’s a loss of power (premature failure) in the vehicle
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to get the belt replaced as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
DIY or Hire a Professional for the Replacement?
About an hour or two is enough to drive belt replacement because it is a simple problem. However, some vehicles may be much more difficult because of where the belt is located. Reaching and removing the belt may be best for professionals in those cases.
Labor costs will mostly be determined by how long it takes and how much effort it takes to get to just the serpentine belt at a repair shop.
Simple tools can typically be used to replace belts, and you may already have them in your garage. Some belts only require a single bolt to be undone. However, other belts have a belt tensioner that needs to be undone with a tool. If you decide to attempt this on your own, you should consider buying a repair manual for your vehicle’s model.
When it comes to the cost of replacing a serpentine belt, it’s difficult to decide whether to tackle the project on your own or hire a professional. If you’re looking for ways to save money on the replacement cost, it might be tempting to try it yourself to evade labor costs, but this could cost you more in the long run if you don’t have the right tools or experience.
On the contrary, hiring a professional takes away the risk of doing something wrong that could lead to further damage, especially for older vehicles.
Not only do they have all of the necessary job tools and experience, but they can also provide tips and advice that can help save you money in future repairs. So if you’re buoyant enough, hiring a professional is always a great option.
Tips for Prolonging the Life of Your Serpentine Belt
Your serpentine belt plays an important role in maintaining the optimal performance of your car, so it’s important to take care of it.
Here are some tips to help your serpentine belt last:
- Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance.
- Inspect your serpentine belt regularly and look for cracks, fraying, wear or tear, and even exposed cords.
- Have your mechanic check the tensioner and alignment of the accessory drive belt at every oil change.
- If you hear any unusual noises, such as squeaking or squealing, coming from the front of your engine bay, your drive belt needs to be replaced immediately.
FAQs On Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost
Can You Drive with Broken Serpentine Belt?
It is not recommended to drive with a broken serpentine belt, as it is an important component that helps power multiple systems in the vehicle, such as the alternator, power steering, and air conditioning. Driving with a broken serpentine belt can cause damage to these systems and potentially leave you stranded on the side of the road. It’s best to get it fixed as soon as possible.
How Long Does it Take to Replace the Serpentine Belt?
The time it takes to replace a serpentine belt will vary depending on the vehicle’s make and model and the technician’s experience level. On average, replacing a serpentine belt can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. However, it could take longer if the technician encounters any issues or if the vehicle has other components that need to be removed in order to access the belt. It’s always best to check with a mechanic for a more accurate estimate for your specific vehicle.
How Do You Check a Serpentine Belt?
There are a few ways to check a serpentine belt for wear or damage:
Cracks: Visually inspect the belt for cracks, frayed edges, or missing chunks of rubber. If you notice any of these issues, the belt will likely need to be replaced.
Tension: Check the tension of the belt by pressing down on the belt with your thumb. The belt should have a little give but should not be loose. If it feels loose, it may need to be tightened or replaced.
Unusual Noises: Listen for any unusual noises coming from the belt while the vehicle is running. Squealing or chirping sounds can indicate that the belt is loose or worn and needs to be replaced.
Mechanic Inspection: Have your mechanic inspect the belt during a regular service appointment.
Does Serpentine Belt Affect Air Conditioner?
Yes, the serpentine belt can affect the air conditioner in a vehicle. The serpentine belt is responsible for driving the air conditioning system’s compressor. If the serpentine belt is worn or broken, it will not be able to turn the compressor, and the air conditioner will not work.
Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost: The Bottom Line
In short, the serpentine belt replacement cost can vary greatly depending on the make and model of your car, where you take it for the work and the type of belt you need. Still, it’s a necessary repair once you get close to 100k miles in most cases.
It’s always a good idea to get several estimates before you choose a mechanic. Ask if they offer any discounts for AAA members, military service members, or students. And be sure to consider the shop’s reputation and what kind of warranty they offer for parts and labor.