Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms & Replacement Cost

Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms

Bad serpentine belt symptoms are the first terms that come to mind when you think that your engine has an issue. Whenever a customer experiences a challenge, and I tell them that it could be the serpentine belt, the next obvious thing; How could that be? I have just replaced it lately. How did you know?

Therefore, other than learn the bad serpentine belt symptoms that you should beware of, we will discuss how to replace it correctly to ensure that you don’t replace it prematurely. And, of course, the cost of replacement that you should expect in the market.


Serpentine Belt

A serpentine belt is found in the engine of an automobile. It is quite conspicuous, being the longest belt within the engine. It facilitates the working of several of the significant parts of a car, making it an essential.

A serpentine belt controls the parts such as the air conditioner, alternator, power steering, and even more depending on the car model.

Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms

Let's skip to some apparent symptoms, and also those that are not instantly obvious, which signal a red light.

1. The Car Does Not Start at All

Has your car failed, yet your engine is fine? But you wouldn't know that until you check. The other possibility is that your serpentine belt is not working. Since the belt is supposed to power the engine, if it is broken or its tensioner faulty, then it could be the problem. Check it out to be sure, before heading to the engine.

The car’s failure to start is among the major broken serpentine belt symptoms. Replacement is the fastest alternative for you.

2. Excessive Heating in the Car

As in the serpentine belt description, it controls the fan and air conditioning in the car. If it is not working or the car overheating after some time, this is a dangerous sign of the serpentine belt.

3. The Engine Overheating?

Sometimes the engine heats up so much that you have to pour water on it. But we both know that this is not how a car should function, right? Does your serpentine belt manage the water pump? If so, then check the belt. It could be detrimental to your driving comfort.

Most people will always check the water pump, and if it is still functional, they will start cursing the engine. Is it possible for the water pump to perform if the equipment that should drive it is faulty?

4. You Really Have to Work Hard on the Steering Wheel

Are you gripping the steering so hard to control the car that you feel overwhelmed? You have to work hard to steer the car, which is not normal, right? This is an example of a power steering belt symptom.

The serpentine belt is the power steering belt; hence the steering challenge that you are experiencing could be a result of the belt problem. So, why not check your serpentine belt, and you could get your answer.

Understand the cause of vibration in steering wheel

5. Cracks on the Serpentine Belt?

Checking on the engine is a routine, at least every time before starting a drive. The serpentine belt being so conspicuous, it is not impossible to notice a difference. So, has it developed some cracks? This is another of the bad serpentine belt symptoms.

6. Headlights Lighting Weakly

When the headlights start lighting dimly, then be on the lookout! It is time to replace your serpentine belt since it could be wearing off. That is why the lights go dim, especially when you start the car. The car is preserving the insufficient energy.

7. Peculiar Sounds

Is your car making some sounds such as squeals, ticking, and other strange sounds? Then it means that something weird is definitely up with it. The serpentine belt is most likely the issue.

Can you drive with the serpentine belt faulty or broken? You definitely can. Especially if at this point all you have are annoying sounds. However, don't drive longer, because you might land into bigger problems such as the belt breaking. And if it breaks, the engine might also fail to start.

Therefore, with the sound, the best thing would be to get a serpentine belt replacement sooner.

How Much Does a Serpentine Belt Cost to Replace?

One of the major questions about the serpentine belt. In as much as different car engine parts cost differently, the range is not wide. Therefore, you will get a serpentine belt replacement for a maximum of $240. This cost is inclusive of labor, hence quite a cheap maintenance measure.

So, how much to change serpentine belt? The answer is right above you, and it could be cheaper by far if you can handle the replacement task yourself. If you know much about car engine repair, but it is your first time to deal with the serpentine belt, then read articles and watch YouTube videos for clarity.

Nevertheless, it will take your new serpentine belt quite long to replace. 5 to 10 years for the majority of the people before your belt is worn out.

If you are not a mechanic or with no background in mechanics, have an auto technician do it for you. It will be worth it, trust me since the service will be professional.

When Should You Replace A Serpentine Belt?

A serpentine belt will serve you for a minimum of 5 years of standard driving rates. However, this will also depend on how the previous replacement was done. If the tensioner was not installed correctly, even a week is enough to snap the belt once again.

It is for this reason that you need a mechanic if you are not confident doing it yourself. How much to replace a serpentine belt correctly will be cheaper than having it changed twice.

Bottom Line

A serpentine belt is among the essential parts that a car cannot do without. At least, not for long. I always say to my clients, serve your car, and it will multiply the favor.

Don’t wait until it is too late. With the above symptoms, ensure you make a replacement plan for your serpentine belt.


About the Author JamesL Davis

James is a certified auto technician specializing in commercial vehicles. With 30 years of experience under his belt, James has encountered almost every type of automotive issue there is! Besides his day job at the repair shop, he is also an amateur race car driver.

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