Power Steering Belt

Power steering belts aren't as common as they once were, with more cars adopting a full-electric power steering system. However, a great number of American and foreign automobiles use an electric-hydraulic power steering system and still require this invaluable belt. The official name of any automotive belt is the “serpentine belt.”

The power steering belt is used to deliver power from your gasoline-powered engine to the power steering pump. This action allows for the pump to move the hydraulics, and makes turning the car easier for the driver. This is partially why with “hybrid systems” it is more difficult to turn the car when it is not in motion as the engine is not delivering maximum power to the hydraulic pump. Of course, some of this resistance is due to the friction resulting from tires touching the road, as well.

Generally speaking, if something has to go wrong with a car, you want it to be a belt. Belts are, after all, one of the least expensive automotive part and perhaps one of the easiest to replace. The average driver, if they take the time to install the part, should be able to attach a new power steering belt in an afternoon, and spend less than $30 procuring the belt they need.

Installing a Power Steering Belt:

Step one
The first step in installing a new power steering belt is to unbolt the pump from the upper mount while loosening the bolt of the lower mount. By doing this, you'll provide yourself additional access to the pulley and belt, reducing tension and allowing you to reach further inside the car without having to exert energy to continuously hold back the strength of the pump belt.

Step Two
If the belt is damaged or broken, it is likely only hanging there. Pull it out. If the belt has not been snapped, then you'll have to remove the belt from the pulley-sytem. This is done best with a screwdriver. Push the screwdriver below the belt and pry upwards, lifting the belt to be replaced off the pulley system. The first step of this guide, if done correctly, should make removing the belt an easy process. If you have not loosened the lower mount adequately, however, it will require some strength to stretch the belt to be replaced over the pulley.

Step Three
After removing the old belt, it is now time to install the new one. You will need to find the beveled edge. The beveled edge of a belt is one where the side is rounded, or where it is not entirely squared off. If you have the belt in hand, this is not difficult to see or understand. The two sides of the belt are very different: rounded (beveled) or squared off.

After sliding the belt onto the pulley, you can then start moving to reattach the pump to the secure position. First, reinstall the upper bolts which you completely removed in step one. Next, secure properly the lower bolts, the bolts that you loosened, but did not remove. At this point, the installation is complete, and can be tested by starting the engine, turning the wheels and observing movement in the power steering belt.

Dry Run
If there is one automotive repair to learn, it is the job of replacing your car's belts. It is certain that all belts on your automobile will eventually give way, and at that time they will need to be properly replaced. While the power-steering belt is not as difficult to attach as is, say, the compressor belt, it is one of critical importance for proper operation of the automobile.

If you find the installation process difficult, it is likely that the pump was not loosened adequately, or that you have the incorrect belt. Power steering belts come in a multitude of sizes, however, this detail should be noted in your car owners handbook or on the website of the automobile manufacturer.

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