That was my response to a question, a fellow MSCAer, posed to me. This was not too long after I committed to assisting her in replacing the serpentine belt on her ride. Now, to know what a serpentine belt tool is, you really need to know what a serpentine belt is. And you don’t really know what a serpentine belt is, until you’ve replaced one, yourself, with your bare hands.
Some of you are no doubt thinking, well, just RTFM! Or, geez, that’s soooo easy, you just do this, and that, and a third….and you’re done. That was my first thought to myself, especially since I had never actually replaced a serpentine belt before. Come to find out, since I last did any real work on a car, this thing called The Internet got invented (by Al Gore ;)). So thanks to her, we had everything we needed from a reference and tools perspective.
So, a serpentine belt, according to Wikipedia…
…is a single, continuous belt used to drive multiple peripheral devices in an automotive engine, such as an alternator, power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor, air pump, etc. The belt may also be guided by an idler pulley and/or a belt tensioner.
In other words, one belt to rule them all….[cue evil laugh].
This is what the serpentine belt looks like when it’s working…
…and when it’s not.
All the serpentine tool is (don’t let anyone convince you otherwise), is a long flat rod, with a handle on one end, and a square head on the other end that you can stick a socket on. The purpose of the socket is to release the belt tensioner to enable enough slack in the belt to remove it, or install a replacement. In my excitement from our successful replacement of the belt, I forgot to take a picture of the serpentine tool. But you can use the Internet to find that out ;).
- A serpentine belt replacement is a nice entry-level maintenance task, that can help boost your confidence towards more ambitious tasks
- While it’s not impossible to do a serpentine belt replacement alone, it was much easier with four hands
- While we had photos and video to guide the us during the replacement process, drawing what we saw, and making notations as we moved along, or when something didn’t look right, was an excellent learning aid