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2012 Toyota Camry - Do I need this belt

2012 Toyota w/24,000 miles. I was told serpentine belt needs to be replaced. I don’t drive that much. I was told they should last much longer - yes?

Belts are replaced by miles and time in months. Now look in your manual at the service schedule and you will have an idea what other things need to be done to your vehicle . Since you don’t drive much you are in the severe service category.

7 year old serpentine belt… yes it is time to replace it.

Toyota has no set schedule for replacing belts. On your car it is supposed to be inspected every 15000 miles and replaced if it show cracking or fraying. Some mechanics consider periodic replacement a good service to their customers because if it breaks you lose power steering and the alternator. On your car you have no steering pump but with the alternator not working, the electric power steering will stop working pretty quick.

I don’t proactively replace serpentine belts if they look good, I have had them last the life of the car as long as it was a car with a timing chain. If a timing belt, I change them together because the serpentine belt is already off.

I agree with oldtimer:
Your Toyota maintenance schedule calls for a belt inspection at 60,000 miles or 72 months, and then every 15K miles or 18 months thereafter.

Here’s the procedure it describes for a belt inspection:

Drive Belts
Inspect for cracks, excessive wear and oiliness. Check the belt tension and adjust
if necessary. Replace the belts if they are damaged.

While I tend to consider proactively replace them at 60K miles, with the 24K you have on your car, if the belt looks good, I would leave it.

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Your question–whether you “need” this belt–can only be answered by you.
Since it drives the alternator, the air-conditioner’s compressor, and (possibly) the power steering pump, you have to decide whether your battery ever needs to be recharged, whether you need to run the A/C or the defroster, and whether you need to be able to steer the car. I suspect that your answer to all three items is “yes”.

As to whether it “should last much longer” you probably got that answer from a person who only considered the low odometer mileage, and was ignorant of the fact that these belts dry-out over the years, simply from age.

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And if it dries out , it will show cracks and then you replace it. Toyota has NO time or mileage constraints for replacing it. If you like to replace tours at a certain time or mileage for prace of mind, that’s OK with me. Mine is the same age an many more miles than the OP and I sleep like a baby.

I’ll go out on a limb here . . .

The shop may have recommended a belt replacement, because the belt was ragged

If a belt is ragged, I’m going to recommend replacement, even if it’s only 4 years old


Ask your mechanic why they think it should be changed. If they say it is 7 years old and thus needs to be changed, I would suggest finding a new mechanic.

If on the other hand he says it is worn or cracked then thank him and have him replace it as it likely needs it. If you ask him at the shop, he will likely show you why it should be replaced.

Seems a little harsh when no ones here really knows the condition of the belt.

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