Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Posts Tagged: belt tensioner

Serpentine belt drive systems

Understanding serpentine belt drive systems What does a drive belt do? The role of a drive belt is to transmit engine torque to individual components like the alternator, power steering pump, A/C compressor, and water pump. Older drive systems used a “V” belt design, but newer vehicles use serpentine belt drive systems. A serpentine drives multiple components using both the front and back side of the belt. They also have multiple grooves. But not all multiple groove drive belts are serpentine belts. In addition to driving accessory components, drive belts … Read More

Diagnose a belt tensioner

Diagnose a belt tensioner A worn automatic serpentine belt tensioner can cause belt squeal, misalignment, belt chirp, and alternator bearing damage. Automatic tensioners tend to wear out at around 100K miles. If you have a belt noise or vibration and you’ve changed the belt, it’s time to test your belt tensioner. It’s easy. Just follow the procedures below. First, understand the belt tensioner’s TWO jobs Belt tensioner job #1: Maintain proper belt tension The belt tensioner’s first job is to maintain the proper tension on the serpentine belt. That’s easy … Read More

Should I use belt dressing

Belt dressing and belt squeals and chirps If you’re thinking about using belt dressing to stop belt squeal and chirps, DON’T. It’ll stop the noise for a while. But belt dressing is nothing more than a sticky adhesive. Yes, it helps the belt grip better, but that same adhesive picks up road grit that’ll pick up road grit and destroy the belt and wear out your pulleys. It NEVER solves the root cause of the belt squeal or chirp. Don’t use belt dressing. Find the real cause of belt squeal … Read More

Install serpentine belt

Tip on how to install serpentine belts. If you’ve ever tried replacing a serpentine belt, you know that it comes off easier than the new one goes on. Part of the reason is because the old belt has stretched a bit. But as I have given advice to friends over the years, the one thing I notice is that they always try to install the last portion of the belt around a pulley that has grooves on it–like alternator or power steering. You can do it that way, but it’s … Read More


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