Content of the material
- How much does it cost to replace a power steering belt?
- Any additional expenses to consider?
- Can You Repair a Bad or Failing Power Steering Belt?
- What happens as a belt gets older?
- What is a “belt tensioner,” and what is the benefit of replacing it when a belt is replaced?
- Top 7 Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms
- 1) No Air Conditioning
- 2) Squealing Sounds
- 3) No Power Steering
- 4) Flapping or Scraping Sound
- 5) Visible Cracks on Belt
- 6) Dead Battery
- 7) Pulley Whine
- Can I Drive My Car With a Bad Serpentine Belt?
- Related Posts:
- Next Step
- Schedule Steering Inspection
- Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost
- 2. Inspect the belt for damages
How much does it cost to replace a power steering belt?
Usually, a power steering belt will only cost somewhere between $11 and $48. This price will be for the belt alone and won’t include any professional installation or warranty. If you know your way around the car’s engine, this job should be simple enough to not require professional help.
You will find that a lot of the power steering belts available on websites like AutoZone will retail for $10 to $50.
As an example, you can find belts that will work with Hyundai or KIA belts for sale at just over $10.
Getting to the cost of the actual installation of the belt, this job can cost anywhere from $90 to $200. This range will be influenced by factors like your car’s make and model, the mechanic you choose for the job, and your geographical location.
According to JustAnswer, it should cost a maximum of $25 for the part alone and around $150 for the installation. Your Mechanic broke down the final costs and their estimates were anywhere between $120-$247 with costs depending on what type of car you have.
Any additional expenses to consider?
Alternator and A/C belts are often recommended to be replaced at the same time as your steering belt. The reason for this is because these items can wear out together since they all share a location on an engine.
Can You Repair a Bad or Failing Power Steering Belt?
So there you have it, several symptoms to keep any eye out for if you are concerned about a bad or failing belt. Now you know what to look for, the next question naturally is what can be done to repair the belt if you have noticed any issues.
This is actually a pretty hard question to answer, mainly because we have no idea what your personal mechanic skills are, nor the tools that you have available in your home garage.
The short answer is that yes, you probably can replace the belt yourself. It is not the most complicated job to be found on a vehicle, though it is also not one of the easiest either. One of the main issues is actually accessing the belt properly. This is going to be easier on some models of car than others, and it is not unknown to hear of cars where the engine has to be completely disconnected and hoisted out of the way.
That may well be beyond the skill set – and tools – of the average at home mechanic! Just remember that if you are looking to do the work yourself, buy the best quality belt you can, ideally made by the manufacturer of your car or an OEM supplier.
If that all sounds like too much work, this is certainly a job that you can happily pass along to a professional mechanic. It is not the most expensive job in the world, nor is it a particularly time consuming task for a pro mechanic with a well equipped pro shop. So it’s not going to break the bank, nor should your car be off the road for too long.
What happens as a belt gets older?
They can wear, fray, crack or become shiny or “glazed,” and rubber parts can peel off the belt. An aging belt can also begin slipping or squealing, become contaminated with fluid or become misaligned, in which case it will need to be replaced. An old belt can even snap, leaving you up the creek; without one, drive torque to all of the engine’s accessories is lost.
Schedule an engine belt inspection at your local Firestone Complete Auto Care.
What is a “belt tensioner,” and what is the benefit of replacing it when a belt is replaced?
Many of today’s vehicles are equipped with a self-tensioning device called an automatic belt tensioner. These tensioners are designed to hold a predetermined amount of tension on the serpentine belt so it functions properly and keeps your car cruising.
Your serpentine belt is like one giant, fast-spinning rubber band. And, like a rubber band, it must maintain a balance of flexibility and tension. Most tensioners feature an internal spring and pulley, which applies needed force against the serpentine belt to keep it tight. If there is not enough tension, a belt can slip, squeal or run hot. Worst-case scenario: a loose belt may come off of its pulleys. When this happens, all the accessories powered by the engine go kaput and the vehicle will stop running.
Quick fact: If your serpentine belt is loose, you may have other mechanical problems like under-performing water pump, which can cause the engine to overheat. Avoid performance loss. Bring your ride in as soon as possible. We’ll take care of you.
Need your serpentine belt checked out? Schedule an appointment today.
Top 7 Bad Serpentine Belt Symptoms
A bad serpentine belt is not the type of maintenance you want to defer. A snapped serpentine belt could leave you stranded. If the alternator pulley stops spinning, there’s no way to charge the battery.
Several signs will present themselves when a serpentine belt is starting to wear out. Below are some of the most common symptoms of a worn serpentine belt.
1) No Air Conditioning
A malfunctioning air conditioner can be attributed to a lot of things. Since the serpentine belt keeps the air conditioner functional, a bad serpentine belt will take that function away from it.
If you turn on your air conditioner and see that it does not blow out cool air from the air vents, this could possibly be due to a bad serpentine belt.
2) Squealing Sounds
If the front area of your vehicle makes squealing sounds, then your serpentine belt might be misaligned or slipping. Sometimes it might just take a realignment or proper tensioning of your serpentine belt to fix this problem.
In other cases, the belt is probably damaged and will need to be replaced.
See Also: Common Causes of Serpentine Belt Noise
3) No Power Steering
The serpentine belt allows the power steering system to function properly. Power steering is what gives drivers the ability to smoothly steer their vehicle without needing to apply too much arm strength.
If you have a bad serpentine belt, then it will be harder to move the steering wheel to steer your vehicle.
This issue could also be caused by low power steering fluid. While you’re under the hood, check to make sure the power steering reservoir has the recommended level of fluid.
4) Flapping or Scraping Sound
If your serpentine belt is loose or frayed, you may hear a rhythmic flapping or scraping sound in the engine bay. This sound is often correlated to each revolution of the engine. As you give the car gas to raise the engine speed, this rhythmic sound should speed up. Sometimes it gets louder, too.
Sometimes a loose serpentine belt can be fixed by adjusting or replacing the serpentine belt tensioner. In some cases, you will need a new serpentine belt.
5) Visible Cracks on Belt
The serpentine belt is easy to access in most cars. If you want to know if your belt is bad, simply open the hood and look at the belt for yourself. If you notice visible cracks or damage to anywhere on the belt, this means the belt is bad and needs to be replaced right away.
6) Dead Battery
If you’re driving along one day and suddenly lose power, check under the hood to see if your serpentine belt is still attached. Even if you’re able to get the car started, a snapped serpentine belt will not allow the alternator to charge the battery.
Without the alternator’s charge, your car will eventually die from the electricity used by the spark plugs, the radio, and the headlights. A vehicle can often run without a working alternator for a bit of time, but not for long.
If the belt is too loose to maintain grip on the alternator pulley, you may experience a similar symptom as a snapped belt.
7) Pulley Whine
If you start to notice a whine from the engine that changes with engine speed, you may want to have the tension of the serpentine belt double checked. A belt that is too tight puts too much load on the bearings in each of the accessory pulleys and can often cause premature failure of those components.
One of the most common failure modes for engine accessories is actually bearing failure, caused by a serpentine belt that was too tight. If you think your belt may be too tight, it’s best to address this issue as soon as possible to prevent expensive engine damage to peripheral components.
Can I Drive My Car With a Bad Serpentine Belt?
It is a question that we hear frequently. There are cases where you might be able to drive your car in an emergency, but we would prefer to adopt a more cautious approach.
If the belt’s snapped, it might be difficult, if not impossible, to steer the car. If the belt’s starting to fray, it won’t be long before it snaps, so it’s better to replace it.
Do the right thing and call your mechanic straight away. The consequences of not doing so could cost you dearly later. What happens if the belt snaps while you’re on the freeway? Our best advice is to stop the car, and have it towed to the shop.
Schedule Steering Inspection
The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Steering Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews… LEARN MORE SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING
Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost
Best places to order parts? See: 19 Best Online Auto Parts Stores
Let’s get down to brass tacks. So exactly how much does a serpentine belt cost?
A typical serpentine belt start at around $25 and goes up to $75 at most. If you know some car repair basics, you could change the belt yourself, and it may save you paying labor charges somewhere between $75 and $120. All together, you’re looking at around $100 to $195 to replace your serpentine belt.
It shouldn’t take more than an hour (two at the most) to repair this simple problem. It depends on the model of the car and how easy it is to get to the serpentine belt within the vehicle’s framework.
2. Inspect the belt for damages
If you feel comfortable inspecting your power steering belt, you can do so at home. Check for a broken belt, oil contamination, a damaged belt, gravel in the belt, uneven rib wear, rib separation, pilling, and random cracking across the ribs. These are all signs that your power steering belt is failing and needs to be replaced right away. Do not wait because steering is a safety issue and without it, your vehicle will be dangerous to drive.
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