What Can You Do If Your Serpentine Belt Snapped While Driving?

Imagine driving on a highway and suddenly your engine gets overheated out of nowhere and started wondering what could be the cause of this problem. You call a mechanic to your place and he tells you that your serpentine belt snapped while driving. And you became curious to find out what is a serpentine belt and how do you take care of your car so that it does not happen again.

Here this article is to resolve your queries. Read below to find out solutions to your questions.

What Is A Serpentine Belt?

A serpentine belt has multiple V-shaped grooves that run vertically along with the belts, it is a continuous belt used to drive multiple peripheral devices in an automotive engine, such as an alternator, water pump, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, air pump, etc.

To allow the belt to pass over more than three pulleys with a large enough wrap angle to avoid slipping, idler pulleys that press against the back of the belt are included, forcing the belt into a serpentine shape(serpentine shape is the shape when you wrap something in a snake-like structure).

What Is The Function Of A Serpentine Belt?

Your serpentine belt transports power to the necessary automotive components. The serpentine belt keeps your alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning, and all the components it is connected to work smoothly and efficiently. It connects the engine crankshaft on the outside of the engine to all of the engine accessories.

But there are more types of belt present in your car such as a timing belt along with your serpentine belt how do you distinguish between these two?

The timing belt is located inside the engine and keeps the crankshaft and camshaft in sync. This ensures that the engine intake and exhaust valves open and close in time with the pistons so the engine runs smoothly. The main difference between these two belts is in the shape of their grooves. A timing belt has horizontal teeth designed that fit your cogwheels of the crankshaft and camshaft. A serpentine belt has a lot of V-shaped grooves that are present vertically along with the belts.

And No doubt you cannot drive a vehicle without a serpentine belt since the serpentine belt delivers the antifreeze to important parts of your engine. The serpentine belt runs the water pump without which there is insufficient coolant flow which maintains the engine temperature. Also, without the serpentine belt, the power steering pump, that provides hydraulic pressure, won’t function properly, due to which it will be really difficult to turn a steering wheel.

What Are Some Symptoms Of A Poor Serpentine Belt?

These are some symptoms of a poor serpentine belt:

  • If your car is making some kind of squeaking noise that is coming from the front of the vehicle then it is attributing to signs of the poor serpentine belt.
  • If the power steering and air conditioning of your car are not working properly it could be due to snapped serpentine belt.
  • The main sign of your serpentine belt wearing out is your engine overheating out of nowhere.
  • During a regular check-up of your car, you notice some cracks in your serpentine belt(the belt with v-shaped grooves).

If you notice these signs in your car then you must not wait to replace your serpentine belt because it can snap anywhere while driving.

What You Should Do If Your Serpentine Belt Snapped While Driving?

The first and foremost thing you must do is to pull over your car as soon as possible since your belt is attached to a lot of machinery parts and your damaged belt can easily make the other parts such as the alternator, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, and power brakes connected to it faulty too. Also, it can lead to a sudden loss of power assist for the steering system. Which happens because this belt keeps the water pump circulating antifreeze, throughout the cooling system. This means that the engine can overheat anywhere, including the highway.

Now, what can you do in this situation, if you have a serpentine belt tool kit then you can use it to release the tension. A serpentine belt tool kit releases the tension on the serpentine belt with spring-loaded idler pulleys. A serpentine belt tool kit is not expensive, usually costing less than twenty dollars.

But if you don’t know much about how to repair it on your own or it is not in repairing condition and you have no option but to replace it, then you must call your mechanic and ask him to repair the serpentine belt in your car.

What Is The Average Cost Of Replacing A Serpentine Belt?

It usually takes approximately thirty minutes for a mechanic to replace a serpentine belt. With the right tools and equipment, an auto mechanic can complete the process within thirty minutes to an hour. As previously noted, the amount of time that serpentine belt replacement takes depends on the make, model, and year of the vehicle.

It is very inexpensive to replace a serpentine belt whether it’s broken or loose. The replacement cost is only going to be between $100 and $200 in most cases. The belt itself will cost between $25 and $80 while the labor costs will probably be between $75 and $120.


In conclusion, you now know what may be causing your serpentine belt to damage and how you can possibly prevent your serpentine belt from snapping in the middle of a drive. You can check for some symptoms that show your belt is wearing out and repair it with the serpentine belt tool kit. If you are not possessing this tool kit you might not be able to repair that yourself and take it to a mechanic who will take nearly half an hour or a maximum of one hour for this repairing process. You also know what is the replacement cost for replacement, which is between $100 to $200.

All the above-mentioned details are enough to know what would you do if your serpentine belt snapped while driving, if you have any other questions you can comment that question down below and we will try to reach you asap.

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