Replacing a power steering belt is simple and will correct many issues with sloppy steering or squealing sounds. Vehicles manufactured before 1990 normally do not have "serpentine" style belts; instead, they have single belts for each accessory. The average backyard mechanic will spend about a half-hour replacing the power-steering belt.
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Things you need
- Socket driver and bits
- Large screwdriver or crowbar
- Replacement belt
- Belt dressing
Unbolt the power-steering pump from the upper mount point, and loosen the lower mount bolt, but do not remove it. This will cause the pump's pulley and belt to lose tension as the pump pivots on the lower bolt.
Pry the belt off the pulley. Be careful to not cut or break the belt. It may be necessary to remove another pulley on the motor to remove the power-steering belt. Models will vary, but vehicles with separate belts for individual accessories usually will have a V-shaped pulley design; some V-style pulleys come apart into two halves.
Replace the belt by placing the belt's bevelled edge into the pulley groove. After the belt is in position, use the screwdriver to pull the power-steering pump away from the mount. This will give the belt the proper tension. Once a good amount of tension is achieved, replace and tighten the upper bolt, then tighten the lower bolt. The belt should have about 1-inch of "play" on each side, when tension is measured from the centre, between the pulleys. Replace any other pulleys and their belts.
Spray a liberal amount of "belt dressing" onto the new power-steering belt and allow to dry. Check and replace lost power-steering fluid. Crank the vehicle and test the repair by moving the steering wheel and inspecting the belt on the pump.
Tips and warnings
- Use caution when loosening tensioned belts.
- Always use protective equipment when doing vehicle repairs.
- Disconnect the battery before repairing the vehicle.
- Do not touch any moving belts.