Similar to most vehicles on the road, the Honda CRV operates through the use of a serpentine belt. This belt turns the crankshaft of the engine as well as various components within the engine, such as the alternator, air conditioner and water pump. Some models also have the power steering pump included, while others have a separate belt for the power steering pump. Regardless of which model of CRV you own, the removal and replacement of the serpentine belt remains similar; you must change this belt regularly to keep your CRV in proper working order.
Park your Honda CRV on a flat area and set the parking brake before working on the vehicle. Open the bonnet and locate the belt configuration chart for your CRV---either on the hood or the radiator fan shroud, depending on the model. Check whether your model CRV has a separate belt for the power steering pump; if so, you must remove this belt before removing the serpentine belt. Remove the top mounting bolt for the power steering pump with a wrench, and loosen the lower mounting bolt just enough so you can swing the pump to the side and loosen its belt.
Refer to the belt routing diagram for the exact position of the automatic belt tensioner that holds the serpentine belt in place. Slot the appropriate-size socket over the end of the tensioner bolt and attach the breaker bar ratchet to the socket. Apply leverage in the direction indicated on the diagram (some models of the CRV will turn clockwise to loosen, while others require counterclockwise force). Slide the belt off of the tensioner pulley with the flat-blade screwdriver and slowly release the tensioner until it returns to its original position. Remove the serpentine belt from the other pulleys in the engine.
Reverse the process to install the new serpentine belt. Refer to the diagram for the exact routing path; take care to line up the slots in the belt line with the slots on the pulleys. Place a small piece of masking tape over each belt and stick it to its pulley to keep all belts in place while you work your way toward the tensioner pulley. Apply force with the breaker bar in the proper direction and slide the belt back over the pulley with the flat-blade screwdriver. Release pressure on the tensioner, remove the masking tape, start the engine and let the vehicle run for several minutes to ensure you have installed the belt properly and allow the tensioner to adjust itself automatically.
If you are missing your owner's manual or the diagram chart from your CRV, contact your local Honda dealership for a replacement or download one directly from the Honda website. You can also find repair manuals at your local public library.