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How to replace the serpentine belt on a Toyota RAV4

Updated March 23, 2017

The Toyota RAV4 models have one belt that controls all of the accessories on the front of the engine. The serpentine belt is driven by the crankshaft pulley. Every time the crankshaft pulley turns, the serpentine belt travels around each of the accessory pulleys. The serpentine belt has ribs on the inside of the belt that travel inside of the grooves on each pulley. When these ribs begins to crack, the serpentine belt will need to be replaced.

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Open the bonnet on the Toyota RAV4 and secure the bonnet in place.

Inspect the top of the plastic shield around the radiator for the serpentine-belt routing diagram. The serpentine-belt routing diagram will give you the routing directions for the new serpentine belt. If you cannot find or locate the serpentine-belt routing diagram, draw the routing of the old belt on a piece of paper.

Locate the tensioner that keeps the serpentine belt tight. The tensioner on the Toyota RAV4 models is located on the front of the engine in the very centre. There is a small bolt head in the middle of the tensioner pulley.

Turn the tensioner pulley clockwise with the 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) breaker bar and a socket. This will loosen the serpentine belt from the pulleys. Pull the belt off of each of the pulleys and remove the belt from the engine compartment.

Put the new serpentine belt around each of the pulleys. Begin with the crankshaft pulley. Turn the tensioner pulley clockwise again with the 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) breaker bar and a socket. Put the serpentine belt around the tensioner pulley. Slowly release the tensioner so that it can pull the slack out of the belt.

Crank up the Toyota RAV4 and watch the serpentine belt as the engine is running for about 30 seconds to make sure the belt stays inside of each accessory pulley. Turn the engine off and close the bonnet.

Tip

The serpentine belt must be replaced when there are more cracks per square inch than there are ribs across the belt.

Warning

If the serpentine belt is not completely seated inside of the pulleys, the belt can come off while you are driving down the road and leave you stranded.

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Things You'll Need

  • Notepad
  • Pen
  • 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) breaker bar
  • 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) socket set
  • New serpentine belt

About the Author

Grace Mclain has been writing professionally since 1998. Her articles have appeared on eHow.com, Answerbag.com and LIVESTRONG.COM, and she specializes in automotive and business topics. McIain has a professional writing certificate from JB Hunt in Little Rock, Ark.

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