Engine Maintenance

How to Check Drive Belt Tension


Bookmark and Share

It’s important to check and adjust the drive belt tension of the car because the drive belt controls many operations. If the drive belt is stretched or worn out, several components of your vehicle will stop functioning, and this can be a safety hazard to both you and your family. As a general guideline, check the drive belt tension each time you replace the oil in your vehicle. Although many car owners prefer to get the drive belt professionally inspected, you can do this job on your own without paying an auto mechanic to complete the task.

How to Check the Drive Belt Tension:

  • Some vehicles are equipped with a single serpentine belt while others have a two belt system. Read your car owner’s manual to find out more about your vehicle and make note of any instructions you need to follow to adjust the drive belt.
  • To inspect and adjust the vehicle’s drive belt, you will require a flashlight, a tension gauge (optional), a wrench, a steel bar and new belts (if necessary).
  • After you’ve kept your tools handy, look for the alternator driver in the engine compartment. It will be located in the passenger’s side of the car.
  • With the help of the flashlight, inspect the belt and look for wear and tear. If the belt has a shiny or glossy appearance, it will have to be promptly replaced. Slide your fingers across the belt to identify any cracks, torn sections and missing rib sections.
  • Although a tension gauge is handy, you may use your fingers to check the tension. Press the belt down around the center of the span and make note of the deflection. If the belt can be pushed down more than half an inch, you will have to adjust the tension.
  • To adjust the tension of the drive belt, use the wrench to loosen the adjusting and mounting bolts. With the help of a steel bar, tighten the adjusting bolt as you hold the tension. You will have to check the tension once again, to make sure that the drive belt has been adjusted properly.
  • If you have to replace the drive belt since it’s completely worn out, you will have to release the tension and slide the belt over the pulleys. Since manufacturers use different brackets to hold the belt-driven accessory in place, you need to read your owner’s manual to find out how to replace the belt.
  • The old belt will be longer than the new belt you’ve purchased because it gets stretched due to wear and tear. You must make sure that you buy a drive belt that’s perfectly sized so it can be easily replaced.

When working on your vehicle, you need to put safety before everything else. Avoid working on the car after you’ve driven it. Also park it in a shady spot and wait for the engine to cool down before starting work in the engine compartment.

Bookmark and Share