How to Replace a Drive Belt

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How to Replace a Drive Belt

You can save a lot of money by skipping a mechanic and replacing your drive belt by yourself (whether it’s the v-belt of an older car or a newer serpentine belt).  By following these steps, you can keep your cash and get your car back in working condition.

What is the function of the s-belt?

The first step is knowing what exactly you are replacing.  The serpentine belt (s-belt) runs the A/C compressor, power steering pump, the alternator, and basically everything else run by your engine.  Without it, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for your car to function. If you see any signs of wear and tear like crack or glazing, it’s time to replace your s-belt.

If you see any damage to your s-belt, you should follow these steps in order to replace it.

Step One: Check Your Tensioner

First, move your car to a well-lit area and examine the s-belt while the car is running.  Crank up the A/C and watch the tensioner. A working tensioner will vibrate slightly and the belt will run smoothly with no signs of vibration.  If you seem to be having issues with your tensioner, you will need to replace it, possibly with the help of the mechanic. If this is not this issue, you will likely need to replace the s-belt.

Step Two: Examine the S-Belt

You will then need to check the s-belt.  You can do this by pressing a gauge into a belt groove.  If the gauge sits above the ribs of the belt, you’re good to go.  If it does not, the s-belt is worn and needs to be replaced.

Step Three: Adjust the Tensioner Pulley

For this step, you will need a breaker bar.  The breaker bar should be used to relieve tension on your tensioner pulley. The tensioner pulley may also have a locking mechanism – if not, you may skip this step.  If so, unlock the tensioner pulley so the s-belt may be replaced. Next, you should loosen the adjustment fastener. You will need to move it far enough inwards to remove the belt.  As the belt is removed, watch the way it wraps around the pulleys to make attaching a new belt easier.

Once you have removed the belt, make sure to check the drive and pulley wheels. If you see any issues (such as spinning wheels), these will also need to be replaced.

Step Four: Replace the Belt

With the old belt removed, you may now fit the s-belt in the tensioner pulley. Try to match the pattern of the old belt and to make sure it is in line with all the right grooves. It is important to note that if the s-belt is not in the replicated position, it will not work and your car could suffer lasting damage or not work properly.

Step Five: Reset the Pulley

With the new belt replaced, you can now resecure the tensioner pulley.  Your car should run smoothly again from now on.


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