7 Symptoms Of A Bad Serpentine Belt (& Replacement Cost)

You need certain parts to make your car work properly. You can count on the serpentine belt to be one.

How do you tell if your serpentine belt is faulty?

Here are the top signs of a poor serpentine belt. Also, where it is located and what the cost to replace it. Let’s begin with the signs to look for.

Índice de Contenido
  1. Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms
    1. 1. Alert Lights at the Dashboard
    2. 2. Heavy steering
    3. 3. Cracked serpentine belt
    4. 4. Squealing sounds
    5. 5. No air condition
    6. 6. Overheating Cooling system
    7. 7. The Car's Engine Shuts Down Completely
  2. Serpentine Belt Location
  3. Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost
  4. Questions about Serpentine Belts
    1. Is it possible to drive a car when the serpentine belt is broken?
    2. Is a worn serpentine belt a sound you hear?
    3. What distance can I drive after a serpentine belt is broken?
    4. Is it possible to replace the serpentine belt by yourself?

Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms

Warning lights located on the dashboard are the most obvious sign of a worn serpentine belt. The belt may make squealing or heavy steering sounds. If you see a lot of cracks on the belt visually, it’s time to change it.

You should be aware that some functions may not function properly because your vehicle might have more than one serpentine belt. You should inspect every belt for signs of damage.

Due to the serpentine belt’s importance, there are many symptoms you may experience when it goes bad or snaps off. This is a detailed listing of all 7 symptoms that can be caused by a serpentine belt failure.

1. Alert Lights at the Dashboard

Battery Alternator Light

If your serpentine is worn out or is completely broken off, the warning lights on your dashboard will become your first concern. The warning lights will be visible on your dashboard if the alternator stops.

There may be other warning signs, like the power steering warning lamp or hydraulic pressure warning sign.

2. Heavy steering

Heavy Steering

Motors are powered by the serpentine belt on most cars. The power steering pump may stop working completely if the serpentine belt becomes loose.

The steering will become extremely heavy, even dangerous, if it's not functioning properly.

The majority of new cars come with an electronic power steering pump. In this instance, heavy steering will not be noticeable due to a broken serpentine belt.

3. Cracked serpentine belt

Cracked Serpentine Belt

Cracks on the serpentine belt are one of the most obvious signs. This can be easily seen by looking at the belt. Although some cracks may occur very quickly, it's worth replacing it immediately if there are any.

4. Squealing sounds

Check Noise Under Hood E1609791600132

You might notice squealing sounds coming from your serpentine belt if it isn't already worn out. You might hear the belt squeal when it is being loaded, such as when you drive.

This can be done by turning on many electronic devices, such as headlights and radios. You will force the alternator to work harder and you might hear a higher level of squealing.

Modern cars tend to have an automatic serpentine belt tensioner. Older models might need a manual one.

RELATED: Idler Pulley Noise – Common Reasons & Information

5. No air condition

No Cooling From Ac

The serpentine belt also powers the AC pump, and if the belt snaps, you might notice that your car’s air condition stopped worked completely.

The AC pump is usually equipped with a smaller serpentine belt that only serves the AC pump. However, this may not be true for all models. The AC pump can fail if there is a separate belt.

6. Overheating Cooling system

Overheating Engine On Road

The serpentine belt powers many car models' water pumps. This applies more to older car models, but many new cars have their water pump powered by the serpentine belt, even though a lot of car models’ water pump is driven by the timing belt or chain.

The serpentine belt driving your water pump will snap off and coolant will not flow to your car. Your car's engine will heat up very quickly. It can be fatal for your engine. If you notice that the temperature is rising, stop immediately. You could endanger yourself with damages such as a bad head gasket, or worse.

7. The Car's Engine Shuts Down Completely

Dead Car After Road

An alternator is required to keep the engine's battery charged. Your car can die if it stops charging.

The alternator won't charge any electricity if the serpentine belt is broken. If you continue driving your car, it will eventually stop working. You should park your vehicle and inspect the problem if your car's battery light comes on.

Serpentine Belt Location

Serpentine Belt Location

You will find the serpentine belt at the front because it powers the crankshaft pulley.

Keep in mind that your car's front does not necessarily match the engine's front. You can install your car sideways. This means your car will be located close to the right fender.

Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing a serpentine belt is typically between $60-$150, depending on car make and labor costs. The cost of a serpentine belt is $20-$50, and the labor cost between $40-$100.

It is important to mention that you will need to change the pulleys as well as the tensioner, if you have one, after replacing the serpentine belt. It can cost anywhere from $50 to $150.

To ensure that your new belt is in top condition, it's a good idea to inspect the tensioners and pulleys while you replace the belt.

Questions about Serpentine Belts

Is it possible to drive a car when the serpentine belt is broken?

A car that has a worn serpentine belt is not advised to be driven, even if you have the ability to do so for some time. It powers many components of the engine including the alternator water pump and power steering. The components that are affected by a broken belt will cease to work.

Is a worn serpentine belt a sound you hear?

Your serpentine belt may make noises when cold is applied to the engine, or it might not. However, if you hear any kind of unusual noise coming from your engine area, it’s definitely worth checking to see if your serpentine belt is the culprit.

What distance can I drive after a serpentine belt is broken?

A broken serpentine belt should be avoided while driving. If your serpentine belt breaks while you’re driving, you’ll probably notice it right away. It all depends on your car's engine. The engine might overheat and turn the light on. Also, power steering may stop working. Call a tow truck as soon as you can.

Is it possible to replace the serpentine belt by yourself?

Although it is possible to repair a serpentine belt by yourself on modern engines, this can prove difficult. The space available to replace the serpentine was large in older cars, but it is now very restricted. It is possible that you will need to replace the belt tensioner after changing the serpentine belt.

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