Serpentine Belt Tool- Meaning, Purpose, Application

A serpentine belt tool makes removing and installing a serpentine belt easier. Learn the types of serpentine belt tools in this post and how to use them.

Serpentine belt tool set showing the long bar, short bar, and adapters
Serpentine belt tool set showing the long bar, short bar, and adapters

A serpentine belt tool is a necessary piece of equipment when changing your vehicle’s serpentine belt. You need it to avoid damaging the belt, the tensioner, or other components. But more importantly, the tool makes belt changes faster and easier. Find out how by reading below, including how to select the best serpentine belt tool and its cost.

What is a Serpentine Belt Tool?

The serpentine belt tool is a special tool for removing or installing a serpentine belt. The tool is commonly used on modern vehicles that utilize automatic belt tensioners. The tool is supposed to make the procedure less frustrating, safer, and less time-consuming. It allows you to carry out the process without removing any part, which is a lot more convenient.

Here is something about the serpentine belt.

A serpentine belt is the long rubber belt that goes from one pulley into another in order to drive various accessories. These include the power steering pump and air conditioner compressor.

The belt can wear over time and, in severe cases, slip off the pulleys. Replacing the belt allows your car to run properly, with all the accessories working correctly.

But removing the serp belt is no easy task. There’s usually a very tight space to insert your tools. If you were to do it the hard way (without the belt tool), you would need to remove several parts first.

With the serpentine belt removal tool, everything happens quickly and safely. You only need around 5 minutes to get the removal job done, and no skill or parts to take out.

Serpentine belt installation tool (belt grabbing tool)
Serpentine belt installation tool (belt grabbing tool)

Types of Serpentine Belt Tools

Removing or replacing the serpentine involves two processes: taking it out and placing it or a new one back. As you can guess, you need two different tools to makes the process more convenient. So there are two types of belt tools that you can buy today: the serpentine belt removal tool and serpentine belt installation tool. Here is more about them.

Serpentine Belt Removal Tool

The serpentine belt removal tool helps you relax the tensioner and loosen the belt for easier removal. It usually comes as a kit and is the main tool that you need for the replacement job. The kit contains tools pieces to move the tensioner and others to fit different tensioner bolt configurations.

Serpentine Belt Installation Tool

The serpentine belt installation tool is typically a long and thin rod with a forked end comprising either 2 or 3 prongs. The tool helps you grab and direct the belt during installation, allowing you to place it around the pulleys with ease. You can also call it a serpentine belt guide tool, serpentine belt grabber tool, or serpentine belt alignment tool.

Serpentine belt tool kit and its case
Serpentine belt tool kit and its case

Serpentine Belt Tool Kit

Just like many other tools to service cars, the tool for serpentine belt removal comes as a set. The set contains pieces to fit different cars. This means a tool that you can use with many different car makes and models. The serpentine belt tool kit contains these tools and attachments or adapters:

  • Serpentine belt tensioner tool- a long metal bar equipped with a plastic handle in one end and a drive square in the other.
  • Ratcheting serpentine belt tool- a special type of ratcheting wrench to use with the tensioner tool. It helps increase leverage as well as removes the belt from tricky angles.
  • Crow foot wrenches– to use with the tensioner tool depending on the type of tensioner stud type or size.
  • An assortment of sockets- also used with the tensioner top to allow you to work on different car types and models.

How Does a Serpentine Belt Tool Work?

The working of a serpentine belt tool is very simple. You attach it to the belt tensioner, force push to one direction to release the tensioner, and that’s all. This is the removal tool. The belt installation tool is equally simple. It uses two or three prongs to grab the belt and works as a tool to wind the belt around the pulleys.

The serpentine belt tensioner tool- the long metal bar- is made to fit over the tensioner stud (the bracket with a bolt sticking out of it) or opening. It sometimes comes with a shorter bar or ratcheting wrench to increase leverage.

Two pieces also allow you to rotate the belt tensioner from different angles or positions, which further eases the task. Depending on your type of car, you may need to use one bar or two bars. There are also cars that need you to use the serpentine belt grabbing tool.

The serpentine belt showing the pulleys it installs to
The serpentine belt showing the pulleys it installs to

How to Use Serpentine Belt Tool

The removal and installation of a serpentine belt is one of the most common tasks performed on a vehicle, so it’s important that you know how to do it right! This step-by-step guide below will show you how to use a serpentine belt tool to make the task easier and quicker.

Before working or your car, park it on level ground and properly secure it with the necessary equipment. Ensure the engine is cool and the battery disconnected to avoid accidents. Ensure also that you have the serpentine belt tool set with you, then proceed to the steps listed below.

Step 1: Locate Serpentine Belt Tensioner

Find the automatic, spring-loaded pulley. It’s usually the smooth pulley while the others are grooved. If unsure, locate it by pulling on the serp belt. The tensioner will be the part that moves when you pull the belt. Doing this will also help you identify the direction toward which to rotate the tensioner and loosen the belt.

Step 2: Identify Serpentine Belt Tool to Use

Your serpentine belt tool kit will come with several pieces: a long and shot bar or ratcheting wrench, crowfoot pieces, sockets, and adapters. Find the socket or adapter to use with your application. Depending on the type of car, you may also choose to use one or two bars.

Step 3: Attach Serpentine belt Removal Tool

Attach the correct pulley tensioner tool combination to the tensioner stud or opening. If need be, attach a second bar to improve leverage and make everything much easier. Rotate the automatic tensioner slowly to slacken the serp belt. Continue holding the tensioner in its relaxed state.

Step 4: Remove the serpentine Belt

Remove the loosened belt from around the pulleys. Be sure the mark its direction, so you do not put it the wrong way during installation. Release the tensioner back to its former position, do so slowly. The tensioner uses a strong spring that may cause damage if released quickly.

Step 5: Install New Serpentine Belt

Check to see if the old belt requires replacing by looking for signs of wear or damage. Using the reverse of removal, install the new belt. If the space is to cramped, use the serpentine belt hook tool discussed earlier. Again, take care to rotate and release the belt tensioner slowly. Finally, remove the serpentine belt pulley tool or tools. Confirm that the belt is well placed across all pulleys

Best Serpentine Belt Tool

How do you identify the best serpentine belt tool? There are several things that you can look out for when purchasing a serp belt installation or removal kit. These include the number of pieces and material quality.

More sockets and adapters or crow’s feet mean more cars that the tool set can service. If you intend to use it on many different cars, ensure the number of attachments matches the requirement. You do not need more than one kit, which would cost you more.

The best serpentine belt tool is made from a strong material, especially the long and thin bars that you will be using to rotate the tensioner. Ensure, also, that the handle of the pulley tensioner tool is made from non-slip rubber for a much firmer grip.

The serpentine belt removal tool costs around $45 to $75 for most kits. The guide or belt installation tool is often purchased separately. It costs around $30. That means you need less than a hundred dollars to add the serpentine belt removal tool to your collection of car servicing tools.


Replacing a serpentine belt is easy if you have the right tools for the job. The belt winds across several pulleys and sits in a cramped space, which makes the task difficult. A serpentine belt tool makes things easier for you. You only need to know how to use it. Ensure, too that you have the required tools. The steps describing how to use a serpentine belt tool in this post will work for most tools and applications.

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About Author
Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a writer and a content marketer who works for hand in hand with Sunbright Automotive Tools. Beforehand, Richard Johnson worked for multiple industries that had helped both small and big businesses to build better brands online through web page contents that productized services.

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