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Idler Pulley Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your idler pulley replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your idler pulley replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace an idler pulley?

You can expect an average total replacement cost of $136 for an idler pulley replacement, with $30 for parts and $106 for mechanic labor. The exact price will depend on your vehicle.
How long does it take to replace an idler pulley? In general, it takes around 0.9 hours for a certified mechanic to complete the job. Your mechanic will perform a preliminary inspection to determine if a replacement is necessary, then follow through with the full replacement. 
Here’s an overview of idler pulley average costs for different vehicles:
Idler pulley replacement cost for various vehicles
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 21, 2024
Ram 1500
$76
$26
$49
0.5 Hours
May 18, 2024
Genesis G80
$87
$26
$61
0.5 Hours
May 16, 2024
Mini Cooper
$160
$33
$127
1.2 Hours
May 14, 2024
Mitsubishi Outlander
$163
$33
$130
1.2 Hours
May 13, 2024
Acura TSX
$187
$33
$154
1.2 Hours
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my idler pulley replacement and how much do those parts cost?

You can check your owner’s manual or ask your mechanic for precise parts, but these are the main things you need:
  1. Idler pulley: This is the main component that needs to be replaced. It is responsible for guiding and maintaining tension in the drive belt. On its own, an idler pulley costs around $15 to $100. 
  2. Drive belt: It is advisable to inspect the drive belt during the idler pulley replacement and replace it if it shows signs of wear or damage. Drive belts can cost anywhere from $20 to $100. 
Pro tip: Consider purchasing a combined idler pulley and belt kit. These usually cost from $50 to $150.
You can buy idler pulley parts for your car from auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, or from online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto. Three of our recommended brands for idler pulley parts are Dayco, Gates, and ACDelco, but the best parts for your vehicle will depend on its year, make, and model.
When replacing your idler pulley, both the OEM and aftermarket options have their pros and cons. While choosing an aftermarket idler pulley may save you more money, OEM idler pulleys tend to offer greater long-term reliability.
Idler pulleys are available for purchase at auto body shops, auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, or from online sources like Amazon or RockAuto.
Pro tip: Before getting any new parts, make sure to refer to your vehicle's owner's manual for a comprehensive list of replacement specifications and dealership warranty information you may need.

Where can I get my idler pulley replaced?

With the rundown on 2,500+ vetted repair shops nationwide, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
can make the search for a mechanic to replace your idler pulley a lot easier.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ compares fair price estimates from local shops using actual hourly rates. You’ll be able to budget for diagnostic fees and see reviews from previous customers to make sure you’ll be happy with your service.
Here’s a look at some of our vetted shops below—and you can download the app to compare car repair quotes in your area.
105 Reviews
Velasquez Auto Care - Palatine
address
1450 N Rand Rd, Palatine, IL
Idler Pulley Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$159
(Parts - $37, Labor - $122)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$120
196 Reviews
Bruce Automotive
address
422 E Northwest Hwy, Mt Prospect, IL
Idler Pulley Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$205
(Parts - $37, Labor - $168)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$65
156 Reviews
Tuffy Tire & Auto Service Center - Fort Wayne (W. Jefferson Blvd.)
address
5625 W Jefferson Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN
Idler Pulley Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$170
(Parts - $37, Labor - $133)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$75
137 Reviews
Expert Auto Centers
address
5351 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL
Idler Pulley Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$159
(Parts - $37, Labor - $122)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$145
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my idler pulley?

When you take your car in for a faulty idler pulley diagnosis and replacement, the mechanic will usually take these following steps:
  • Disconnect the battery
  • Spin the pulley to see if can guide the belt
  • Loosen the bolts around the old pulley and remove it
  • Compare the old and new pulleys to ensure they match up
  • Place the new pulley and tighten the bolts
  • Reconnect the battery
A mechanic will inspect your drive belt alongside your idler pulley. If the pulley is broken, it’s highly likely that the drive belt could have been damaged as well.
Pro tip: It can also be helpful to get your mechanic to check your tensioner pulley, belt tension, and timing belt during an idler pulley replacement.

What happens when your idler pulley goes bad?

If the idler pulley breaks, it can lead to a loss of power in multiple systems since the drive belt won't be able to continue spinning. Failure to address this issue can result in the wearing down of the drive belt and the loss of essential engine-driven systems, such as the alternator, power steering pump, or air conditioning compressor.

What is an idler pulley?

Your car’s idler pulley plays a crucial role in guiding and aligning the drive belt, also known as the serpentine belt. This drive belt connects your car’s engine to various systems in your vehicle, including the power steering, alternator, water pump, A/C compressor, and alternator.

How do I know if my idler pulley is bad?

The most obvious sign that your idler pulley, or drive belt as a whole, needs to be replaced is a loud squealing, squealing, or chirping noise coming from the engine. Other signs include:
  • Your check engine light comes on
  • Your power steering is not working like it’s supposed to
  • Your engine stalling or overheating
If you notice any of these issues, you’ll want to bring your car to a mechanic right away.

How often should the idler pulley be replaced?

Your idler pulley should be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles because it gets worn out over time and repeated use.  
Keep in mind: Often, idler pulley replacements coincide with a serpentine/accessory belt replacement. 

Can I replace my idler pulley myself?

Even if you have auto repair and DIY skills, it’s not recommended that you try to replace an idler pulley on your own. The job involves the removal of critical timing components and knowledge of internal engine components, making it a complex procedure. 
Given this complexity, it’s best to visit a reputable auto shop and let a trained mechanic handle it.

FAQs

It usually takes around 1-1.5 hours to replace and install a new idler pulley.
A working idler pulley is crucial for your safety and maintaining control of your car. If you notice any symptoms of a malfunction, get the vehicle serviced immediately.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.