When we maneuver our vehicles, it is much convenient if we are able to steer the wheel with ease. But the steering wheel is not the only component that makes the car’s movement smooth and straightforward. It is primarily the function of the vehicle’s power steering system, which makes it easy for the driver to steer or make the car move with less amount of effort.
Aside from the steering wheel, another part of the system is the power steering belt. The belt is generally made of rubber or any flexible material with a flat surface on one side and a grooved part on the other side. It is wrapped around two steering pulleys (another component in a power steering system), as the pumps maintain a stable amount of tension on the steering belt at all times.
Car models popularized before the 1990s have more than one belt, and each belt controls a separate component. Meanwhile, vehicles as of the present time only have one steering belt called a serpentine belt, which controls the whole system of the car, including the power steering component, air conditioning system, and the alternator.
Cost of a Power Steering Belt
For this discussion, let’s get to know the typical power steering belt cost first and then the price of a serpentine belt. In addition to the prices of the parts, let’s also find out the cost to replace power steering belt.
According to JustAnswer, the power steering belt price is around $25 each. But the prices on eBay range from $3.99 to $$34.49, depending on the brand, as well as the make and model of the car. Meanwhile, a serpentine belt costs $25 to $75. Here are some prices you may want to consider:
Toyota OEM Power Steering Belt $4.86
Genuine Toyota Power Steering Belt $12.50
Chevrolet GMC Cadillac $39.99
Honda Civic (1996-2000) $27.99
Subaru Impreza (1993-2013) $31.99
There are some instances when the power steering belt cost goes up to $200, especially when the belt is used on high-end cars. And if you want to have a professional mechanic to replace the old belt, the overall expenses increase.
Power Steering Belt Replacement Cost
Of course, you won’t purchase a new power steering belt for nothing, right? So, you have to take the old one out of the engine and replace it with a brand new belt. It would be less expensive if you knew how to change an old steering belt. But if you have no idea how it’s done, what is the professional cost to replace power steering belt?
According to the figures of YourMechanic, the average replacement price at a mechanic shop ranges from $90 to $328, while the average dealer price can run from $104 to $448. The overall cost already includes the labor and parts, but it still depends on the type of vehicle you have (make, year, model, and trim), your location, the price of the parts, and the labor fees charged by the mechanic.
Take note that professionals usually charge by the hour, which is around $35 to $120 per hour. To give you an idea how the power steering belt replacement takes place, here are the steps involved in changing an old steering belt.
1. The mechanic opens the hood and removes the serpentine belt (if the car has) so that he can easily access the power steering belt.
2. Once the power steering belt is found, he loosens the adjusting bolts and the power steering pivot to remove the power steering belt, pushing them down on the power steering pump.
3. After removing the old belt, the mechanic installs the new belt onto the pump. He, then, pulls up the pump to tighten and stabilize the tension of the belt. He also tightens the adjusting bolts and the pivot.
4. The mechanic puts back the serpentine belt and checks the alignment of the pulley, making sure that everything is properly set up.
5. To check if the system works accordingly, the engine is turned on and tested. If it is working properly, then you are ready to hit the road again. If there are problems, the whole system is going to be rechecked.
If for instance, your car’s power steering belt malfunctioned or failed to work in the middle of the road, then you may need to have your vehicle towed to a repair shop. This service costs, at least, $200, depending on how far you are from the service center.
Pulleys are important components in a power steering system. If any of them is damaged or need repairs, then you can spend around $13 to $33 for the replacement part.
While the mechanic replaces the power steering belt, he may be able to discover other issues of the car that need immediate repairs, like worn out or totally damaged engine parts. This basically implies additional charges for the needed restoration and maintenance.
Signs of a Malfunctioning Power Steering Belt
Now that you know the costs of a power steering belt and the replacement service, it is also important to know when you should have the belt changed. In that regard, here are the most common signs of a malfunctioning power steering belt to watch out for:
Squeling Noises Coming From The Power Steering Belt
If you hear chirping, grinding, squealing, or strange noises from the front of your vehicle, especially when you are driving, then it could mean that the power steering belt is damaged or no longer in good condition. Apparently, the belt can malfunction in different ways, but the noises are major signs that tell you to have it inspected and/or changed by a technician.
Steering The Vehicle Becomes Difficult
This is another obvious sign. If you feel like you can’t steer your car the way how you maneuver it before, then there may be something wrong with the belt or the whole system. When this happens, it is best to have the belt checked to avoid other car problems, or worse, accidents on the road.
Seemingly Worn Out Belts
While you are doing your regular car inspection, you notice that the power steering belt in not in good shape – that’s already a symptom of a damaged belt. Even if you haven’t heard squealing noises or have no difficulties in steering your car, it is best to change a bad-looking belt before dealing with worse issues. Better safe than sorry, right?