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How to Change the Serpentine Belt on a Toyota Matrix

by Christian Killian

You should replace a worn or damaged Toyota Matrix serpentine belt to avoid belt failure. The belt drives the alternator, water pump, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor. A neglected belt begins to slip as it wears. The friction and resulting heat cause the belt's surface to glaze or harden, and the rubber begins to crack. If this continues, the belt can break, leaving you on the side of the road and waiting for the auto club or a friend to come and help you.

Step 1

Remove the negative battery cable from the battery terminal with a socket and ratchet, and move the cable out of the way. This keeps the cable from making contact with the battery while you are working.

Step 2

Locate the serpentine belt tensioner on the upper right side of the engine. You should see a small square hole in the arm of the tensioner. Insert a 1/2-inch drive ratchet or breaker bar into the hole.

Step 3

Grasp the handle of the ratchet or breaker bar, and pull it to toward the driver's side of the car, releasing the tension on the belt. Slide the belt off the pulleys, and remove it from the engine compartment.

Step 4

Install the new belt over the pulleys, being sure to follow the same path as the old belt. If the belt is routed incorrectly, the accessories will turn backward, damaging to the accessories and causing the engine to overheat.

Release the tension on the ratchet or breaker bar slowly, allowing the tensioner pulley to tighten the belt. You don't need to make any further adjustment to the belt.

Tip

  • Never let the tensioner snap back when you are changing belts. Releasing the tensioner damages the spring inside the mechanism, and you will need to replace the spring.

Items you will need

  • Socket set
  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet or breaker bar

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