Did you notice that your serpentine belt is cracked or fraying? Perhaps the car’s information center reminded you that it is time for this routine service. Just how much will a replacement serpentine belt set you back?
The Average Cost for a Replacement Serpentine Belt:
$25 to $70 depending on the make and model of your vehicle
The Average Cost for Installation of a Replacement Serpentine Belt:
$50 to $125 depending on the hourly labor rate at your repair shop or dealership.
Now the question remains, is it worth your time to pay a professional to pop in the belt for you or can you tackle this job in your own driveway?
Serpentine Belts: How They Work
Your serpentine belt serves to transfer power from your engine to a variety of auxiliary systems including the water pump, air conditioning fans, and power steering. It is called a serpentine because it snakes its way around multiple pulleys to connect the different systems. The belt is designed to last anywhere from 30,000 to 75,000 miles. When it fails, the engine can rapidly overheat and your power steering will go out, potentially causing a wreck.
Average Cost of a Replacement Serpentine Belt for Your Ride
You may pay anywhere from $60 up to $215 to have a professional mechanic replace your belt.
The huge variance between high and low prices has more to do with the design of your engine compartment than the hourly labor rate. If your engine is positioned front-to-back under the hood, then the belt can be easily reached. Some engines have the belt tucked to the side or even near the back underneath protective covers. The more parts that must be moved or removed to access the belt, the higher the cost of the repair.
Why the Dealer Quotes Such a High Price for the Job
Many new car dealer service centers quote an hourly labor rate of $125 or higher. They often use a flat-rate quote to replace a belt that includes a half-hour of work time. It may take longer to reach and remove your ride’s particular belt, so the flat rate may charge you for a full hour of labor.
Dealership hourly rates may be higher than your neighborhood repair shop as they have a higher overhead for the maintenance of the busy garage and all the latest equipment required by the manufacturer.
Do You Need to Change the Tensioner Pulley at the Same Time?
Many times, your mechanic might come back with an estimate that bumps up the cost of a replacement serpentine belt by $200 or more. They recommend that you also have the tensioner and other pulleys replaced at the same time. Is that necessary? The tensioner pulley is designed to last just as long as the belt, but not longer. The pulley can become loose or chipped over time which may cause the belt to jump out of the path, leading to premature failure.
If your pulleys and serpentine belt have reached the end of their recommended life, it is wise to change both of them.
How Long Will It Take to Change the Serpentine Belt?
Some seasoned home mechanics can switch out just the serpentine belt in about 15 minutes. If this is your first time, give yourself about an hour. You don’t need any specialty tools for the job.
Tools Needed to Change Your Serpentine Belt
- Jack stands or ramps
- Socket wrench set
- Torque wrench
- A new replacement serpentine belt
- Any new pulleys or tensioners you want to change at the same time
Replacing Your Serpentine Belt is a Great Job for First-time Home Mechanics
If you are tired of paying the high prices at repair shops for simple routine repairs, changing out your serpentine belt is a great way to get your feet wet. The part alone is relatively inexpensive, you won’t be spending cash on a pricey tool, and even if you encounter a few challenges, this job can be done in just an hour or two.
Which belt should you buy? Look for the serpentine belt built for your car on the MICHELIN Store at Amazon.