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How to Replace a Serpentine Belt in a Saturn

by Susan Reynolds

Like most cars, Saturns had serpentine belts. A serpentine belt is a long belt that runs through a car's engine. It controls the alternator, water pump, power steering, and other car components. Belts can wear out after a few years, especially if you drive your car in a hot climate. Since the belt is made out of rubber, it can crack and dry out. If it snaps while you are driving, you could get into a serious accident. Fortunately, you can easily replace your Saturn's serpentine belt yourself.

Look through your Saturn manual for any specific instructions concerning the serpentine belt. Some models have different requirements.

Take off the lugnuts on the right-front wheel of your car.

Jack the car up on a stand.

Remove the right-front wheel of the car. Take off the splash shield, if it has one.

Look at how the belt winds around the engine. Look through your manual or for a sticker under your hood to see if there is a picture of the routing system.

Look for the tensioner pulley by the crankshaft. Pull on it in a counter-clockwise direction with your breaker bar tool. This will loosen the belt.

Take out the old belt and slowly drop the tensioner pulley.

Thread the new belt through the system per your diagram. Move the tensioner so that the belt is tight.

Double-check the belt to see that it rests squarely on the pulleys.

Start the engine and listen for strange sounds from your belt. Make sure the belt is running correctly through the system before you start the engine to avoid belt damage. If you do not hear any sounds that indicate the belt is incorrectly installed, replace the wheel on your car and drive it as usual.

Tip

  • Belts that show multiple cracks or chunks missing need to be replaced quickly.

Items you will need

About the Author

Susan Reynolds has been a writer since 2008. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of South Florida and is a licensed real estate agent in Florida.

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