How to Change a Serpentine Belt on a 2002 Chevrolet Prizm

by Robert Moore

    The 2002 Chevy Prizm came with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual, a four-speed automatic or a three-speed automatic transmission. Your engine's serpentine belt transfers power from the crankshaft to the air-conditioning compressor, power-steering pump, water pump and alternator. Chevy recommends inspecting the belt at 60,000 miles, and at every 15,000 miles thereafter until it requires replacement. Once you replace the belt, the inspection schedule starts over. Replace your engine's serpentine belt when you see fraying edges, lengthwise cracks or a shiny glaze on its smooth side.

    Items you will need

    • Floor jack
    • Jack stands
    • Socket set
    • Ratchet
    • Box-end wrench set
    • Inch-pound torque wrench


    Step 1

    Place a floor jack under the center of the front suspension crossmember. Lift the front end and place jack stands under the crossmember, making sure at least two of the reinforcement ribs contact each jack stand. Lower the jack until the front end rests on the stands.

    Step 2

    Find where the right-side lower splash shield bolts to the undercarriage. Remove the bolts with a socket and ratchet, then remove the splash shield. Look around the engine bay for a belt routing diagram. Draw a sketch or take a photo of the belt routing if the diagram is missing or illegible.

    Step 3

    Find the tensioner pulley between the water pump and the power-steering pump. Follow the tensioner arm to its tip above the power-steering pulley. Place a box-end wrench on the nut welded to the front of the tensioner arm. Rotate the tensioner arm clockwise and slide the belt off of the alternator pulley. Slowly release the tensioner to its resting position.

    Step 4

    Remove the belt from the power-steering pulley and drop the belt to the bottom of the engine bay. Crawl under the vehicle, then remove the belt from the water pump, air-conditioning compressor and crankshaft.


    Step 1

    Route the new belt around the crankshaft pulley and the air-conditioning pulley. Route the belt around the water pump, then the tensioner pulley, according to the routing diagram or sketch.

    Step 2

    From the top side of the engine bay, route the belt around the power-steering pulley and keep the belt tight by pulling it toward the alternator. Rotate the tensioner arm clockwise and slide the belt over the alternator. Make sure the belt fits between the grooves of each pulley, and re-position the belt if necessary.

    Step 3

    Lift the splash shield and install the mounting bolts. Tighten the mounting bolts to 89 inch-pounds with an inch-pound torque wrench. Lift the front end off the jack stands and remove them. Lower the vehicle and remove the jack.