How to Replace a Power Steering Belt

by Eli Laurens

Replacing a power steering belt is simple and will correct many issues with sloppy steering or squealing sounds. Vehicles manufactured before 1990 normally do not have "serpentine" style belts; instead, they have single belts for each accessory. The average backyard mechanic will spend about a half-hour replacing the power-steering belt.

Unbolt the power-steering pump from the upper mount point, and loosen the lower mount bolt, but do not remove it. This will cause the pump's pulley and belt to lose tension as the pump pivots on the lower bolt.

Pry the belt off the pulley. Be careful to not cut or break the belt. It may be necessary to remove another pulley on the motor to remove the power-steering belt. Models will vary, but vehicles with separate belts for individual accessories usually will have a V-shaped pulley design; some V-style pulleys come apart into two halves.

Replace the belt by placing the belt's beveled edge into the pulley groove. After the belt is in position, use the screwdriver to pull the power-steering pump away from the mount. This will give the belt the proper tension. Once a good amount of tension is achieved, replace and tighten the upper bolt, then tighten the lower bolt. The belt should have about 1-inch of "play" on each side, when tension is measured from the center, between the pulleys. Replace any other pulleys and their belts.

Spray a liberal amount of "belt dressing" onto the new power-steering belt and allow to dry. Check and replace lost power-steering fluid. Crank the vehicle and test the repair by moving the steering wheel and inspecting the belt on the pump.

Tips

  • check Use caution when loosening tensioned belts.
  • check Always use protective equipment when doing vehicle repairs.

Warnings

  • close Disconnect the battery before repairing the vehicle.
  • close Do not touch any moving belts.

Items you will need

About the Author

Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera luxury car - model toy car image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com