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Replacing Serpentine Belt

I took my car into the repair shop to have a free oil change done (normally I do those myself). They told me my serpentine belt is going bad and gave me an estimate for $123 to have it replaced. I bought one from AutoZone for $23 and am looking to replace it myself. I had AutoZone print out the directions to replace it, one set describes loosening the tensioner, slipping off the old belt, and sliding the new belt on, presto! The other method describes removing the engine cover, a valve cover, some electrical wiring, etc. I’m not sure which engine I have to know which instructions to follow.

Anyone has a 2003 Matrix SRX 1.8L with ‘y’ as the 5th letter in the VIN? Or any advice on replacing the serpentine belt? Is it something I should try or could I completely screw up my car’s engine?

I have a similar situation with my 2006 Sienna. I also found two sets of directions, it turns out there are two belts on the Sienna, one for the AC/alternator and another for the power steering. The power steering belt is replaced by removing the wheel and the inner fender lining. Look real close to see if the Matrix has the same arrangement.

Ed B.

A few suggestions;
Have a friend help. You’ll need a friend to hold the tensioner back while you wrap the belt on the pulleys.
Take the time to remove the wheel and plastic fender apron. It’ll be much easier to route the belt.
The tensioner requires a good deal of pull. Pull gently and do not keep pulling when the movement stops. You do not want to break the tensioner bolt or you’ll be replacing the whole unit.
Pick up a good qulality tensioner wrench. It should be about $20. It’ll have the necessary length/leverage, and it’ll be flat to get between the bolt and the other junk.

Sincere best. This is a good DIY project.

Study how the old belt is routed before you remove it. Perhaps even take a picture…See if you can move the tensioner pulley with the tools you have before you buy the special wrench…There should be a sticker showing the belt routing under the hood…

car has 1 belt
ps small hands come in handy.

Search “TSB EG-021-07” and you’ll find a bulletin with instructions for both engines. Check your engine label under the hood to see which engine your car has.

Nevada_545 that is helpful… I think I have the 2ZZ-GE… so I’m confused on step 3, B, b - “Disconnect the pressure sensor connector.” There isn’t a picture that shows what is so I’m not sure where that piece is located. Any ideas?

I haven’t used mine much, but when I need to remove the belt from a spring tensioned idler pulley, I prefer to use one of these toys*:


It makes the job pretty easy.

*Sounds like a DosXX beer commercial, doesn’t it?

That’s exactly what they all look like.

MikeBennett; I think it is the A/C pressure sensor, the next step is to loosen the A/C line brackets.

Depending on the location of your tensioner you may be able to use either a 3/8" or 1/2" drive ratchet for moving the tensioner. That’s what I always use on my cars. I also keep my old belt in the trunk for emergency use.

On my Pontiac I was going to change the belt but when I released the tension after the belt was disconnected, there was no room to remove the ratchet and put the belt on. I just had it put on for $30 and a half hour wait. I might have to pick up one of those tools or maybe just weld one up.

“Study how the old belt is routed before you remove it. Perhaps even take a picture.”

There might be a diagram on the radiator bracket or another open space under the hood. More than one of my cars has an illustration of serpentine belt routing.