Replacing Your Accessory Belt


No matter what kind of vehicle your drive your engine has some belts running some of the different equipment your car has.  The first thing we need to do is be very clear on the different types of belts that your engine has:

Timing Belt VS Accessory Belt

All car and truck engines have accessory belts.  These are the belts at the front of your engine that you can easily see when you pop your hood.  They drive things like your alternator, power steering pump and air conditioning using power from a pulley on the end of your crankshaft.

Timing  Belts are a different kind of belt altogether.  These belts are always hidden behind some type of plastic shielding and they will have teeth rather than ribs.  These teeth help keep the crankshaft and camshaft pulleys in proper alignment which is very important to keep your engine running properly.  Timing belts should be changed at the factory recommended intervals and are a relatively difficult job.

Accessory belts, on the other hand, are more often changed based on what they look like rather than a time interval.  If the ribbed or “V” side of the belt is cracked, shinney or has frayed edges, then it’s time for you to get a new belt installed.

Accessory belts, also known as engine drive belts, serpentine belts or fan belts, are usually easy to change using simple hand tools and a little common sense.

How to Replace your Accessory Belt

  1. Identify how to belt(s) are tensioned
  2. release the tension on the belt
  3. Remove the old belt and install the new one
  4. Tension the new belt
  5. Check the belt routing to make sure it is properly installed on all pulleys

Accessory BeltAccessory belts can either be tensioned using an automatic tensioner or manually using sliding or pivoting pulleys.  In the video above we talk about how to tighten manually tensioner pulleys since it is the more complicated setup.  If your vehicle has an automatic tensioner there is always a place to put a wrench on the tensioner to release the tension.  Simply put your wrench on and turn the tensioning arm to release the tension and install your new belt!

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Pictures Provided By:

accessory_belt.jpg – By FabrikaCr – Licensed By Getty Images – Original Link