The Average Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt Is $58 to $126 Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
- Cost to Replace Serpentine Belt at the Mechanic: $112 to $126
- Parts: $58
- Labor: $54-$68
- DIY Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Cost to DIY: $58
- Urgency: Unless the serpentine belt is damaged, you should replace it as part of scheduled maintenance, usually every three to four years or between 50,000 and 100,000 (depending on the year, make, and model of your vehicle). When it’s time to replace the serpentine belt, you should do this as soon as possible (don’t wait any more than 1,000 miles or so) to avoid any possible damage to the engine or its components.
*These prices are based on national averages. Related repairs or maintenance may also be needed. For a custom maintenance schedule based on your make, model, and mileage, download the free FIXD app.
What Is a Serpentine Belt?
The serpentine belt is how your engine sends mechanical power from the crankshaft to various components such as the alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering just to name a few. This flat, rubber belt is ribbed on one side and smooth on the other.
Unlike older vehicles that used several belts, the serpentine belt allows engines to do this work with just a single belt. Most repair shops will recommend a serpentine belt replacement on mileage alone as preventive maintenance, but sometimes the belt shows signs of wear either through cracks, physical damage, or even a slick, glazed finish.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace a Serpentine Belt?
A failed serpentine belt won’t lead to any check engine light issues, but it could cause severe engine damage if the belt is supposed to be connected to the water pump. This could cause the engine to overheat. Also, a broken serpentine belt will cause mechanical power steering systems to stop working, which could possibly cause an accident.
How Often Should You Replace a Serpentine Belt?
For exact manufacturer recommendations as to how often you should replace your serpentine belt, check your owner’s manual or the FIXD app for maintenance schedules. Most vehicles recommend a new serpentine belt every 50,000 to 100,000 miles.
Common Symptoms of a Bad Serpentine Belt
- Squealing noise especially after driving through a puddle
- Cracks, visible damage, or glazed appearance
Related Maintenance Services
The following services are commonly performed along with a serpentine belt replacement:
- Idler pulley (shown below)
- Tensioner pulley
- Water pump
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Lifelong automotive enthusiast with a soft spot for offroading. Wrencher turned writer, but I still love to tinker on just about anything with an engine. Dream car: tie between a ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda and a ’91 GMC Syclone. #GirlDad #SaveTheManuals