How to Change a Serpentine Belt on a Chevrolet Prizmby Tim Anderson
The drive belt on your Chevrolet Prizm is a single, continuous belt that works its way through a number of pulleys that drive the alternator, the air conditioning pump and other components. In certain models of the Prizm, the belt will drive more components than in others, but the overall removal and installation process is the same no matter what year or type of Prizm you are driving. If the belt frays or stretches over time, replace it to keep your Prizm safely on the road.
Park your Prizm on a flat, level area such as a driveway or a garage. Set the parking brake. Open the hood and disconnect the negative battery lead with the adjustable wrench. Locate the serpentine belt configuration diagram for your Prizm on the fan shroud above the radiator (although some models may have the diagram on the hood of the vehicle). Refer to the diagram for the location of the tensioner pulley, as well as the routing path for the belt through the pulleys.
Slot the ¾-inch socket over the end of the bolt on the tensioner pulley, located on the passenger side of the engine. Attach the ratchet to the socket and apply pressure in a counterclockwise motion as indicated on the diagram (some models of Prizm may require clockwise pressure; the chart will indicate which is the case for your specific model) to loosen the tensioner pulley. Slide the slackened belt off the pulley and allow the pulley to close.
Route the new serpentine belt through the pulleys of your Prizm's engine. Follow the diagram for the exact routing path, matching the notched sides of the belt with the notched pulleys, and the smooth side of the belt on the opposite side with the smooth pulleys. Leave the tensioner pulley for last. Apply pressure to the pulley to open it, slide the new belt over the pulley and allow the tensioner to tighten against the belt.
Replace the battery lead, close the hood and start the engine . Let your Prizm run for a few minutes before driving, to allow the tensioner pulley a chance to adjust to the new belt.
Items you will need
- Adjustable wrench
- 3/4-inch socket
- AutoMedia.com: Serpentine Belt Replacement
- Popular Mechanics: How to Change a Serpentine Belt
- "Haynes Toyota Corolla and Geo/Chevy Prizm Auto Repair Manual, 1993-2002"; John H. Haynes; 2002
- Sarah M. Golonka/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images