Add-On: Serpentine Belt Replacement
“There are more than 241 million vehicles on the road today in North America, most of which will require a serpentine belt replacement during their lifetime,” said Sue Deckard, Marketing Manager of the Automotive Aftermarket for Veyance Technologies, Inc.
Replacing serpentine belts can be a successful venture for your shop.
“First of all, it’s simple and it’s very profitable,” said Orval Pierce, owner of Kwik Kar in Euless, Texas. “Second, the tools required to service it — tensioner bars — are inexpensive.”
The profit margin for serpentine belt replacement is attractive, as well.
“Our gross profit margin on a serpentine belt is about 73-75 percent,” Pierce said. “We charge anywhere from $60-$80, depending on the type of belt needed. We don’t stock the belts in our shop, you would need to do a really high volume of cars to stock serpentine belts, but since our supplier is close, we can get the belt needed in 10 minutes.”
Replacing a serpentine belt doesn’t tie up a service bay for a long period of time, further increasing potential profit.
“It takes 10-15 minutes to replace a serpentine belt if you don’t have to remove a motor mount,” Pierce said. “If we have to remove a motor mount when replacing the serpentine belt, we tack a labor charge onto the flat price discussed earlier. However, we rarely have to remove any vehicle components when replacing serpentine belts.”
Another advantage to this service is that the simple procedure allows for easy training. Pierce said all of his technicians can perform the service, and are trained to check the serpentine belt as part of a routine, full-service oil change. However, he also said that serpentine belt replacement is a standalone service, and shouldn’t be incorporated into any tune-up packages.
“Serpentine belts are amazingly engineered items that last a long time,” he said. “They will dry rot and wear just like tires do, but this does take time and mileage is usually factored in, as well. Other than wear, serpentine belts should be changed if they have a certain number of cracks per rib, if they’re soaked in oil or any other fluid, too. Any engine leak that soaks the belt will destroy it.”
Another advantage to serpentine belt replacement is the potential additional or bigger repair.
“Serpentine belts will give you additional repairs from time to time,” Pierce said. “It’s not always the belt that fails; it could be an idler pulley, tensioner pulley or even a component pulley. For example, on the alternator, power steering pump, water pump or air conditioner.”
There are many advantages to adding this simple service to your menu, which will make your customers happy while also padding your bottom line.