Most vehicles with a serpentine belt have a diagram on a placard under the hood of the vehicle, according to Popular Mechanics. If the placard is missing, the diagram should be printed in the owner's manual. As a last resort, websites such as OnlineAutoRepair.net offer diagrams.
Installing a serpentine belt according to the diagram is important to ensure that each of the accessories it drives spin in the right direction, according to Popular Mechanics. An improperly installed belt might cause the alternator or water pump to turn in the reverse direction, resulting in serious mechanical issues for the vehicle.
If the belt is intact, Popular Mechanics recommends studying the routing of the existing belt before removing it. Belts usually give several signs of impending failure. Noises such as a squealing belt require immediate inspections. Some belt noises indicate problems with pulleys or the tensioner. If they are not fixed immediately, the belt fails.
Serpentine belts offer several advantages over older V-style belts, according to Popular Mechanics. A single belt drives all the auto accessories, saving space in the engine compartment. The spring-loaded tensioner eliminates the need of manually adjusting belt tension. Serpentine belts offer a lifespan of 150,000 miles, almost three times that of a loaded V-belt.