The serpentine belt on my 2005 Malibu (3.5 L) has broken while driving on backcountry roads in Ontario.

I'm going to get a replacement part from a local parts shop tomorrow, Sept 28, 2022. I will attempt to install the belt on the side of the road using basic hand tools.

What tools are required? I have a socket set, adjustable wrench, screwdrivers, etc. But if additional tools are required, I'd like to buy them while I'm at the parts store -- to avoid multiple trips (20 km away).

1 Answer 1


The main tensioner pulley (what takes up the slack in the belt) looks like this:

enter image description here

The square hole in the bottom left side should fit a 3/8" drive. Thing is, a 3/8" drive ratchet usually doesn't give you the leverage to hold the tensioner in place while you put the belt onto the drive. What works better is to get a serpentine belt tool. You can probably rent or borrow one from your parts store. The tool is thin with the square head to fit down into the tensioner arm and is long enough to give you the leverage you need to put the belt on.

The other thing you'll want to do is pull up the routing of the belt on your phone before you go out to where your car is located. You may or may not have a diagram located in the engine bay to show you, and where ever your car is at may not have great reception. The belt for your Malibu is a long one with many pulleys to go across. Having the routing diagram will save you a lot of hassle. Pulling it up before you get somewhere without coverage will help you not to pull your hair out.

  • 1
    Thanks! Those points helped a lot. The water pump was seized. Replaced it and the belt on the side of the road. Up and running again!
    – User1974
    Sep 28, 2022 at 20:04

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