How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Serpentine Belt?

A serpentine belt may require replacing if it’s worn down from ordinary use or a faulty belt tensioner. The cost of a belt change depends on the belt type, belt price and the labor involved.

Let’s explore the cost of changing a serpentine belt:

What is a serpentine belt?

A serpentine belt drives multiple devices in an engine bay. It’s made of rubber with ribs and grooves. The belt wraps around pulleys to transfer power from the motor to other parts like the alternator, power steering pump, and water pump.

When to Go for Replacement

A tensioner keeps the belt under tension. If it needs replacing due to age or improper installation, the cost depends on the car’s make and model. This can be a single piece or separate parts. Components like a new tensioner pulley and guide pulley may also need to be replaced.

Labor time for replacing a serpentine belt varies by vehicle make. This will affect the cost at an auto shop or dealership. Belts come in different grades and prices. They have benefits like noise reduction and strength ratings to extend their life span.

What are the signs of a failing serpentine belt?

A failing serpentine belt may show signs that it should be replaced, such as:

  • Noise from the engine
  • A split in the belt
  • Glazed or shiny areas on the belt
  • Strange odors from underneath the hood
  • Decreased engine performance

It is also important to check for proper alignment and tension when replacing. If not, parts may become damaged and require replacement if left too long.

Cost Factors

Replacing a serpentine belt can be pricey. It depends on your car’s make and model and which belt you choose. Materials, labor and other things factor into the cost.

Let’s delve deeper into these cost factors:

Labor costs

Labor costs normally make up two-thirds of replacing a serpentine belt. It may take one to three hours labor to inspect and replace the belt. Labor rates vary from shop to shop. Independent mechanics usually provide a more affordable rate than dealerships. Research labor costs in your area before making an appointment.

Lifting the vehicle off the ground may be necessary, and incur additional costs.

Parts costs

A serpentine belt replacement cost depends on the parts. The main components are the belt and tensioner. These can differ in price based on your car’s make, model, and year.

Generally, a quality serpentine belt costs $20-$50. A tensioner can be up to $200+. Other costs you may encounter are:

  • Labor fees if you get it professionally installed.
  • Taxes/fees for buying the parts.

Additional costs

Replacing a serpentine belt can come with more costs than just the belt itself. There’s labor for a mechanic and related parts, plus maintenance for your vehicle. Typically, a serpentine belt can’t be changed without lifting the engine, which adds more shop time.

After replacing a serpentine belt, you may need to:

  • Do an oil change if it was contaminated during installation.
  • Check power steering fluid if your car has hydraulic power steering.
  • Ensure pulley connections are secure for smooth running.
  • Evaluate alignment of the pulleys. A professional should double check before you drive off.

Average Cost


Replacing a serpentine belt is simple and cheap for most cars and SUVs. The cost of parts and labor to replace a serpentine belt can range from $60 to $200. It depends on the type of vehicle, where you are, and how many belts you need to replace.

So, let’s look closer at what goes into the cost of replacing a serpentine belt:

Average cost for labor

Replacing a serpentine belt costs about $85-$125 if done by a pro. DIY-ers spend an average of $30-$55. Prices may vary depending on the car’s make, model and year. Certain parts may need to be taken apart for installation, increasing the cost.

Before attempting, check the car service manual. Different cars need different levels of skill and time to do the job.

Average cost for parts

The cost to replace a serpentine belt depends on the type of vehicle and repair shop. It usually ranges from $40 – $150 for parts and labor. The cost may be higher depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle. Extra parts such as a tensioner pulley or accessories belts could add to the total cost.

Before getting a repair quote, make sure you know how much each part costs.

DIY Replacement

Replacing a serpentine belt doesn’t have to be hard. You can save both time and money by doing it yourself. But first, get the right tools and understanding.

In this article, we’ll go through:

  • The cost of replacing a serpentine belt yourself.
  • The materials needed.
  • The steps to do it.

Tools needed

Replace a serpentine belt yourself? You’ll need some tools. Get a new one of the right size and tension from your local auto parts store.

You may need a socket and ratchet set, a belt tension tool, needle-nose pliers and a screwdriver or nut driver. A breaker bar is handy if bolts and/or nuts are tough.

Finally, wear safety glasses when working on your car. Protect your eyes from unexpected debris.

Step-by-step instructions

Replacing a serpentine belt is an easy job with basic hand tools. Follow these steps to replace your belt:

  1. Locate the tensioner pulley. This is the pulley with an arm pressing against the old belt. Use a socket wrench to loosen the nut. Then use a flathead screwdriver to release the tension on the bolt.
  2. Take off the old belt from all of the pulleys. Remember how it was set up. Check all of its components for wear or damage. Look at other components too, like fans and radiator hoses.
  3. Put on the new serpentine belt. Look at the diagrams under the hood. Make sure there are no twists or kinks.
  4. Re-tension the bolts and check. Use an appropriate torque wrench for precise readings. Don’t over-torque anything. Read the digital copies online and ask the supplier before buying.

Professional Replacement

Replacing a serpentine belt can take time and be hard for the average car owner. Professional services can do it with precision and accuracy. Though, this comes at a cost. So, how much does a serpentine belt replacement cost? Let’s break it down.

Local Survey is Important

Benefits of professional replacement

It is most advisable to take your vehicle to a pro mechanic when replacing a serpentine belt. The advantages are many!

  • Firstly, the size and specs of the belt for your vehicle’s make and model are known to a pro mechanic. The belt must be fastened accurately; too tight or too loose are both risky.
  • Also, a pro mechanic knows the tools needed for removal and installation, and how to position the engine parts in order to avoid damage.
  • You can relax knowing the job was done right and quickly by an experienced pro with certifications. The belt will be assuredly safe at all temps and conditions.
  • Lastly, warranties are available from mechanics or makers, giving you peace of mind for the lifetime of your vehicle.

Finding a qualified mechanic

Replacing a Serpentine Belt? Get an experienced mechanic. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Look online for reviews. Compare estimates. Don’t be shy – ask questions.

Check if the mechanic is ASE-certified. See how long they’ve been in business. Ask about warranties on parts and labor. See if they offer other related repairs. Check if they have all the specialized tools. Knowing the mechanic’s skills and experience helps make sure your car is safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to replace a serpentine belt?

The cost to replace a serpentine belt varies depending on the make, model and year of your car. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $125 to $400 for parts and labor.

What is a serpentine belt?

A serpentine belt is a single belt that is used to power multiple components in your car. It is usually located in the front of the engine and is responsible for powering the alternator, air conditioner, power steering pump and water pump.

How often should you replace a serpentine belt?

It is recommended that you replace your serpentine belt every 50,000 to 90,000 miles. It is also important to check your belt regularly for any signs of wear or damage.