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How to Replace a Volkswagen Serpentine Belt

Updated July 19, 2017

The serpentine belt or v-ribbed belt on a Volkswagen is a flat belt that powers the engine accessories, such as the air conditioning compressor and alternator. Removal of this belt can be accomplished by the vehicle owner, as it requires no special tools. However some Volkswagen vehicles, such as the Golf and Jetta are equipped with an auxiliary v-belt that must be removed before the serpentine belt can be accessed.

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  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake.

  2. Turn the steering wheel to full right lock.

  3. Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal. Loosen the retaining bolt using a wrench. Pull the clamp off the terminal.

  4. Note the path of the belts around the engine pulleys. The new belts must be installed in the same way. Draw a diagram, using a pencil and paper to help keep track of how the belts are installed.

  5. Loosen the power steering pump mounting bolts, using a socket. Allow the pump to slide toward the engine.

  6. Pull the v-belt off the engine pulleys and remove it from the vehicle.

  7. Rotate the tensioner pulley, by hand (it will be located just below the alternator) away from the belt to release the tension on the belt.

  8. Pull the serpentine belt off the engine with your hand.

  9. Thread the new serpentine belt around the pulleys following the drawing you made before disassembly.

  10. Release the tensioner pulley to tighten the belt.

  11. Examine the auxiliary v-belt and replace if it is cracked or overly worn.

  12. Lay the v-belt into position over the engine pulleys.

  13. Check that the v-belt is properly seated into the engine pulleys.

  14. Pull the power steering pump away from the engine and tighten the mounting bolts using a socket.

  15. Place a straight edge over the two pulleys at the v-belt's longest run.

  16. Press down at the midpoint of the belt with your finger.

  17. Measure the distance between the straight edge and the belt with a ruler. The distance should be less that 13/64-inch.

  18. Tighten the v-belt by loosening the power steering pump mounting bolts, using a socket. Pull the pump away from the engine and retighten the bolts.

  19. Reconnect the ground cable to the negative battery terminal. Slide the clamp over the terminal; tighten the retaining bolt using a wrench.

  20. Tip

    You may want to purchase an extra belt and store it in the boot. That way if the drive belt breaks while you're on the road, you will not be stranded.


    Be sure to allow enough time (usually two to three hours) for the engine to cool before attempting this repair. Failure to do so could cause injury.

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Things You'll Need

  • Wrench set
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Socket set
  • Straight edge
  • Ruler

About the Author

Jeffrey Caldwell has been a freelance writer for over five months and has published over 250 articles on websites like eHow and Trails.com. Caldwell writes articles on a wide range of topics including travel, camping and automotive mechanics. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Millersville University.

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