What is the cost of a serpentine belt replacement?

This is a question that a lot of drivers ask themselves once they encounter these kinds of problems.

Either it’s through regular maintenance or an unexpected fault (the belt gets damaged or snaps) it’s good to know what kind of money you’ll need to fix this problem.

This article will hopefully help you with that question by giving a rough estimate on these costs.

I say rough estimate as the cost of a serpentine belt replacement highly depends on things like the car model you drive, spare parts and labor market, accessibility to the belt etc.

In some countries it will be much higher, in some much lower. Whatever the case may be, I hope this information will give at least some guidance on this topic.

If you want more information about serpentine belt problems, you can click here for a separate article on that topic.





Before we start with the costs, there are a few things you should have in mind when making a serpentine belt replacement.

These are:

  • It’s common practice to change both the serpentine belt and tensioner within the regular maintenance period

If the serpentine belt has come to the end of its service “life”, it’s common practice to change the tensioner also.

The cost of a belt replacement will be higher in this case as one more part is included.

A lot of drivers are not prepared for this extra cost which can be significantly higher than just replacing the belt. They usually end up surprised or disappointed.

In order to avoid this unpleasant situation you should know that changing the tensioner and belt will almost certainly guarantee that you don’t have a serpentine belt problem in the future.

So much so that a lot of dealerships or mechanics won’t give you a guarantee if you don’t replace the whole set. It’s all for the good of your car, that’s for sure.

In this case, more money spent now means less money spent in the future.


  • The serpentine belt can be replaced without the tensioner

This is mostly the case when the belt has been prematurely worn out or damaged due to some kind of problem like a faulty pulley, misalignment or else.

With this situation the tensioner doesn’t have to be replaced as its service “life” is not near the end.

You can replace it nevertheless but you’ll probably be just throwing money away.

Also, the cost of a serpentine belt replacement, in this case, will be significantly reduced.

It is however preferable to check the tensioner before replacing a new belt, just in case.


  • Always ask around (both personally and online) for the prices of parts and labor

As with any cost, best ask around about the cost of a serpentine belt replacement.

Go online or to your local car parts shop and take a look at the prices and if the parts are available.

Also take a look at the replacement procedure; is it complicated, is there a DIY possibility?

If not, what are your options for getting professional help (licensed dealership or independent mechanic)?

All of these factors have a big impact on the final amount.

Some asking around might save you some serious money. Money saved is money earned as the saying goes.




Let’s see what’s involved in calculating the cost:

1. Price of the belt
2. Price of the tensioner
3. Price of the complete set (serpentine belt and tensioner)
4. Labor costs

1. Price of the belt


The serpentine belt, in most cases is not that expensive.

Prices go from 10 Euros up to about 20 Euros (mostly depending on the manufacturer and car type).

The price can be lower if you choose non-branded parts or ones from the Far East.

However, on this part I would always recommend to buy brand names and parts that offer a guarantee.

Money saved on a cheaper serpentine belt may well cost you a lot more in future repairs, trust me.

2. Price of the tensioner


Tensioner, also known as the tensioner pulley will cost you somewhere from 20 Euros to 60 Euros a piece.

As with the serpentine belt a brand name usually means more money but also more quality and longevity of repair.

Copies and non-branded products usually mean re-visiting the mechanic at a short notice.

Always try to buy trusted brand names that offer quality and guarantee. The tensioner is meant to last as long as the belt (or even longer).

That’s billions of rotations and only quality built ones can endure this task.

3. Price of the complete set (serpentine belt and tensioner)


The whole set is usually a combination of the two prices, sometimes it’s cheaper or sometimes it’s more expensive.

Prices start from 20 Euros and go up to 100 Euros. To avoid repetition, buy the brand names and avoid knock-offs and copies.

4. Labor costs


Labor costs will highly depend on the accessibility of the pulley system and belt on your car.

Less accessibility means more work thus higher cost of labor. Also, the cost goes up if you’re changing both the belt and tensioner.

If the belt is accessible and easy to replace, the cost of a serpentine belt replacement should be lower and be somewhere around 20 Euros.

Changing both the belt and tensioner will cost you around 40 Euros.

On the other hand if there is a lot of work (dismantling in order to reach the belt, complicated pulley system or else) it could set you back up to 100 Euros.

One more influential factor regarding labor cost is choosing a licensed dealership or an independent mechanic.

In case of an older used car, I recommend an independent mechanic. The whole job will probably cost less and if you have a good and trustworthy mechanic the job will be done in quality.

On the other hand, if you drive a newer car (especially one that is still under warranty) visiting a licensed dealership would be better because of warranty terms, maintenance records and else.

To conclude on this part:

  • Cost of a serpentine belt replacement + cost of labor
             From 30 Euros to 120 Euros
  • Cost of a serpentine belt replacement + tensioner+cost of labor
             From 60 Euros to 160 Euros

For readers in some countries this will seem cheap while in others it will seem astronomical.

Again, I urge you to make a questionnaire on your local level to get a better picture of what lays ahead of you.





What kind of a DIY website would this be if I didn’t mention the DIY possibilities of changing a serpentine belt.

In previous times (when the old type V-belt was still used in mass), replacing a belt was considered an easy task (like changing a car bulb, changing the air filter or else).

You had to loosen a few screws, only had a couple of pulleys to pay attention too and that was that. The belt accessibility was also not an issue on most cars.

But with the appearance of additional devices meaning more pulleys, complicated pulley paths and automatic tensioners, things drastically changed.

Now you need to have path diagrams for pulleys, sometimes special tools and in worst cases, pull apart half of the car to make a serpentine belt replacement.


All in all, a much more complicated job than before. Don’t get me wrong, it is doable but needs extra care, time and patience.

On some cars it’s still pretty simple but, regrettably on most it’s a nightmare.

So, on this part the best thing you can for yourself is make a good assessment of the whole job before you start.

Is there a lot of dismantling in order to reach the belt, do you have all the tools, is there any other additional procedure? Inspect all of this before you begin.

It also wouldn’t hurt to inform yourself about the whole serpentine belt system. If you’re up to it, there’s a great explanation on Wikipedia which you can see by clicking here.

I know that the cost of a serpentine belt replacement is sometimes high and that it can be significantly reduced with a DIY option.

But sometimes the saved money is just not worth it.

If you get yourself into trouble or damage something it won’t be money saved but money lost, not to mention the lost time and nerves.

On the other hand if you decide to go ahead with the DIY option, make sure you have the proper parts and tools at hand, be to some extent familiar with the procedure and perhaps have a belt diagram at hand.



I don’t have a habit of writing conclusions in articles but in this case I have to repeat one more thing that is crucial regarding the cost of a serpentine belt replacement:


You will probably be tempted to buy copies or knockoffs for half or third of the price.

Believe me, the serpentine belt and tensioner are the last parts you want to save money on.

This may be OK with some parts but with these two it has to be top-notch.

Billions of rotations under constant tension will destroy a low quality part in a matter of months.

Cheaping out on these parts may mean a serious malfunction or even engine damage.

Just picture yourself or your family stranded on the side of the road or a hefty repair bill because of a couple of dozen Euros more.

Always have this in mind when calculating the cost of a serpentine belt replacement.


Written by: Sibin Spasojevic


Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for