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How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt on a Car?
Car maintenance can often feel like a daunting minefield, especially when unexpected costs creep up. Your serpentine belt, that unsung hero in your car's engine, is suddenly on its last legs, and you're left wondering - how much does it cost to replace a serpentine belt on a car?
The thought of dealing with a failing serpentine belt and its associated costs can be a stressful, pocket-pinching experience. But, this is just one of the joys of owning a car! On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $90-$200+ for this repair.
While we can’t help you avoid the cost to change a serpentine belt, we can help you eliminate some of that stress and uncertainty you’re feeling right now. Better yet, we’ll offer some tips to help you save money on your serpentine belt replacement costs.
Below, we’ll help you find an affordable solution without compromising on quality or reliability. You’ll learn about the insurance side of things along with our advice on whether you can kick the can further down the road or if you need to replace your failing belt now. First, let’s assess the signs of a failing serpentine belt so we’re all on the same page.
What are the Signs of a Failing Serpentine Belt?
Your serpentine belt is crucial for your car's operation, linking various engine accessories like the alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning compressor. It ensures these parts receive the power they need to function properly.
Thus, when your serpentine belt beings to fail, can lead to a cascade of problems. Here are the key indicators you’re approaching the end of your serpentine belt’s life:
- Squealing or Chirping Noises: One of the most common signs of a failing serpentine belt is a high-pitched noise that becomes more noticeable when you start your vehicle or accelerate. This squealing or chirping sound typically arises due to a loose or worn belt slipping on the pulleys.
- Visible Wear and Tear: Regularly inspect your serpentine belt for visible signs of wear and tear. If you notice cracks, missing chunks, damaged ribs, or glazing (a shiny appearance), it might be time to replace the belt.
- System Failure Warnings: A failing serpentine belt can lead to system malfunctions, which may activate warning lights on your dashboard. If your battery light or check engine light illuminates, it might indicate a problem with the serpentine belt.
- Loss of Power to Engine Accessories: If your power steering feels heavy or your air conditioning is not working, it could be due to a failing serpentine belt. These symptoms occur when the belt is unable to provide sufficient power to your car's accessories.
- Engine Overheating: The serpentine belt drives the water pump, which circulates coolant through the engine. If the belt fails, the water pump stops working, causing the engine to overheat. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge and watch for signs of overheating.
We have a complete guide assessing what happens to a car when the serpentine belt breaks along with how to tell when to replace a serpentine belt if you’d like to learn more about the signs and symptoms of failure. You can also learn about what causes a serpentine belt to break in the first place.
For now, let’s take a look at whether this is a financial obligation you need to handle now, or if you can kick the can further down the road…
Can You Drive With a Damaged Serpentine Belt?
From rent to phone bills, groceries, electricity, gas, and more, you likely have your fair share of financial obligations. And these aren’t going to be put on pause just because your car is headed to the shop. Because of this, we see many individuals asking whether or not they can drive with a damaged serpentine belt.
The simple answer to this question is, it's not advisable. While your car might not stop functioning immediately when a serpentine belt begins to fail, continuing to drive with a damaged belt can lead to severe consequences.
This could lead to more expensive repairs down the line as your water pump goes and your engine blows up, or unsafe driving conditions as you lose power steering and are unable to fully control your vehicle.
To avoid these nightmare scenarios, we suggest parking your car until you can come up with a plan. We’ll offer some tips on saving cash while getting the job done correctly later on. First, how much does it cost to replace a serpentine belt on a car?
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt on a Car?
The cost to change a serpentine belt can vary widely based on several factors, ranging from the make and model of your vehicle to where you live and where you get the job done. So, let’s unpack these factors in greater detail before providing an average cost of serpentine belt replacement.
Factors Influencing the Serpentine Belt Replacement Costs
The question of - how much does a serpentine belt cost to replace? - doesn’t have a one size fits all answer. While it can cost as little as $90, it can be more than $200 depending on these factors:
- Type of Car: Some cars have more accessible engine compartments, making the job easier and quicker, hence less expensive. On the other hand, some high-end, luxury, or larger vehicles might require more labor due to complex engine layouts, which increases the cost.
- Belt Quality: The cost of the belt itself can vary. Premium-quality serpentine belts, made with durable materials designed to last longer, will be more expensive than lower-quality alternatives. It's usually worth investing in a better-quality belt to avoid frequent replacements.
- Labor Costs: Depending on where you get the replacement done, labor costs can significantly impact the overall price. A dealership might charge more than a local garage, but you're also paying for their specific brand expertise. On the flip side, a local mechanic might offer a lower rate.
- Geographical Location: As with many goods and services, costs can vary based on where you live. Urban areas with a higher cost of living may have higher auto repair rates than less populated regions
With all that said, how much does it cost to replace a serpentine belt on a car?
So, How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Serpentine Belt on a Car?
The average cost of serpentine belt replacement falls between $90 and $200+ - and that’s not including taxes or fees. This estimate includes the cost of the belt, which can range from $25 to $75, and labor costs, which can run from $75 to $125.
These are average costs, and the actual price can fall outside this range based on the factors mentioned above. Your best bet is to consult shops in your area and get quotes based on your make/model.
Before you start stressing about the serpentine belt replacement costs, let’s find out whether your insurance company is going to help you out or not…
Does Insurance Cover Serpentine Belt Replacement Costs?
Typically, routine maintenance and wear-and-tear parts, such as the serpentine belt, are not covered under most car insurance policies. Unfortunately, your insurance provider won’t be much help here.
Standard car insurance is designed to protect you from unexpected costs due to accidents, theft, or damage from specific causes like fire or severe weather, rather than regular maintenance and upkeep. So, your best bet is to look for ways to save rather than hoping you’ll get your insurance company to cover the cost altogether.
We want to reiterate that while the cost might seem high, neglecting this crucial component could lead to significantly more expensive repairs. That’s why we’re going to help you save money while making the repair below.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Change a Serpentine Belt
For some, the average cost of serpentine belt replacement is no problem. For others, it can be stressful running the numbers of the rest of your financial obligations, struggling to find room in your budget for this project.
So, we’ve got some advice on how to save money on the repair to help ease some of that anxiety for you. The best way to shave down the cost of the job is to find an affordable serpentine belt - obviously, one that still offers the reliability and longevity you need. And for that, you can count on Southwest Performance Parts.
Find Affordable Yet Reliable Serpentine Belts at Southwest Performance Parts
With more than two decades of experience in the auto parts industry, we’ve earned a reputation as one of the most trusted sources across the nation. With over 75,000 satisfied customers and counting, you don’t just have to take our word for it, either. The quality and reliability you crave is here in our catalog waiting for you.
But the best part is the ultra-low prices we’re able to offer on a serpentine belt kit. We know what you’re thinking…how is it possible?
Simple - we’ve taken a unique approach to our business and manufacture these products ourselves, rather than sourcing them from a separate manufacturer. Then, we sell them directly to you under our dependable A-Team brand.
Eliminating the middlemen from the traditional auto parts shopping process translates into big savings for you, the customer. All without compromising on quality or longevity. And with world-class support to back it up every step of the way, what more could you ask for?
Oh - how about free shipping on your order to stretch those savings even further?
Explore our full selection, which includes BBC serpentine kits, LS serpentine kits, SBC serpentine kits, SBF serpentine kits, BBF serpentine kits, and more. And to help you save even more money on this repair, here is some quick advice on actually getting the job done:
Getting the Job Done Without Breaking the Bank: DIY, Dealerships, or Independent Shops
When it comes to getting your serpentine belt replaced, you have three primary options: tackling the job yourself (DIY), visiting a dealership, or opting for an independent repair shop.
Each of these choices carries its own set of pros and cons, and what's best for you depends on your circumstances and skill level. We’ll break it down based on cost - from your cheapest option to your most expensive choice.
- DIY: If you're comfortable working under the hood of your car and have a decent understanding of its mechanics, doing the job yourself could be a cost-effective choice. You'll only need to buy the belt and potentially some specialized tools if you don't already own them. However, keep in mind that this can be a complex job depending on your vehicle's make and model, and making a mistake could lead to more significant issues. Our guide on serpentine belt tension will help guide you through this process. You’ll also want to watch a YouTube video to help you navigate the repair from start to finish based on your specific make/model.
- Independent Repair Shops: These offer a middle ground between DIY and dealerships. Costs are usually lower than at a dealership, but the quality of work can vary widely. It's important to find a trustworthy, reputable mechanic. Easier said than done, but seeking out recommendations from people you trust is a great starting point for finding an independent mechanic.
- Dealerships: Getting your belt replaced at a dealership can be a good choice if you're driving a newer car still under warranty or if you value the brand expertise that dealerships provide. However, this option tends to be the most expensive due to higher labor costs and OEM part prices. You may find yourself paying the higher end of the serpentine belt replacement price range if you take this route.
If you end up going to a shop, you’ll be able to bring your Southwest Performance Parts serpentine belt in and then you’re only paying the cost of labor. This can cut the cost by more than half.
Final Thoughts on How Much it Costs to Replace a Serpentine Belt on a Car
While the thought of replacing your serpentine system can be stress-inducing, we hope this conversation on the cost to change a serpentine belt has eased your mind a bit.
If nothing else, this breakdown on the average cost of serpentine belt replacement has provided you with clarity on what you can expect - so you aren’t going to be blindsided when you head to the dealership.
Plus, we’ve provided tips to help you save on the serpentine belt replacement costs. By sourcing your belt at Southwest Performance Parts, you only have to pay for the labor. When you choose an independent shop rather than a dealer, you’ll get a better deal. Or, if you’re up for the task, you can replace the belt yourself - saving a heap of money along the way.
Either way, your next step is to head over to our catalog and find the perfect replacement serpentine belt to help you save money on the repair.