Top 4 Common Serpentine Belt Problems (Cost Of Replacement)

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Many drivers are more concerned about the state of their engine, and every other thing doesn’t really seem to be very important to them. But then, the engine doesn’t work alone, it needs to generate power from other connected components.

The serpentine belt is a lengthy rubber belt that holds the alternator, water pump, and other important components you may find in the engine bay. If the serpentine belt is faulty, the belt-driven components would not function, and that can cause damage to the engine.

Some of the most common serpentine belt problems include belt tensioner failure, excessive wear, and being soaked with oil. It is practically impossible to drive with a broken serpentine belt.

How Long Can a Car Run Without Serpentine Belt?

A car cannot run without a serpentine belt; the engine would heat up too quickly and several components may be damaged if you succeed in manipulating the car to drive.

This happens because the serpentine belt controls the water pump which helps to keep the engine cool, and also the steering pump.

What Are The Common Serpentine Belt Problems?

Serpentine Belt Problems

As mentioned earlier, the serpentine belt drives quite a bunch of pulleys. Once there’s a problem with the belt, your engine would surely be affected.

That said, you should watch out for these common serpentine belt problems, and fix the situation as early as possible.

1. Cracks and Tear

Serpentine belts work all the time; they start rotating from when you start the car and continue rotating until you stop the car completely. Because the belt is constantly at work, it is likely to wear off easily – but not too soon.

A weak serpentine belt may show cracks on its body, and that is caused by excessive wear and aging. Once you can see cracks on the body of your engine’s serpentine, that’s a problem that needs urgent attention – have the belt replaced.

Read Also: What Causes a Serpentine Belt To Break? (Replacement Cost)

2. Frayed Edges

Another serpentine belt problem you may experience is fraying at the ends of the belt. Normally, fraying at the edges is caused due to misalignment; when the belt is not fitted correctly, or the pulleys are not aligned correctly.

When the belt starts fraying at the edges, you may start hearing whirling noise while driving. The cause is triggered by the belt, which is not properly aligned with the pulleys it is meant to drive.

3. Glazing on The Belt Edges

If you could see glazes at the ends or grooves of the belt, that is a problem to be concerned about.

Basically, you will discover this problem if the belt does slip out of its aligned paths on the driven pulleys and components. A serpentine belt can be slippery if soaked by oil leaking from your engine.

4. Broken Belt Tensioner

The serpentine belt has a tensioner that helps to retain predetermined tension levels within the belt. If the serpentine belt tensioner goes bad or corrodes, the belt would be affected and that can cause other problems to occur.

Cost of Replacing Serpentine Belt

The average cost of replacing a serpentine belt is between $150-$250, and that’s for both the labor and the belt purchase.

The price can go up or down, depending on your car model, type of serpentine belt you’re buying, and the mechanic you’re using.


In conclusion, serpentine belt problems occur when the belt is soaked or the tensioner is faulty. The problems, if fixed earlier, would save other expensive repairs such as fatal engine damage.

Read Also: Top 4 Symptoms of a Bad Timing Belt

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