Do You Have A Serpentine Belt? What's That?

Do you have a serpentine belt that drives everything on the front of your engine?

A serpentine belt is the long belt with all the little * notches * on the underside.

It goes around the crankshaft pulley, the power steering pulley, the alternator pulley, the air conditioner pulley, and the water pump pulley.


It will probably have an idler and most definitely has a tensioner.

The tensioner does just what it says.

It is what keeps tension on the belt, to keep it tight.

You do not have to loosen any bolts and pry anything to tighten this belt!

It is a good idea to check this belt often.

It is also a good idea to change it after about two or three years.

After all, if it brakes, or slips and eats all the teeth off, you will be running on the battery.

O The alternator will not work.

O You will not have power steering.

O The air conditioner will stop cooling (if it's winter time, who cares?).

But, worst of all, your water pump will stop working!

The engine will heat up so fast you will not know what's happening!

Check the belt often.

While you are checking the belt, how about taking a look at the pulleys?

Especially the idler and the tensioner pulley.

O The best way to check these pulleys is to remove the belt and rotate them with your finger.

O If you hear a * roaring * noise, replace it.

O If the pulley has a * roughness * about it as you turn it, replace it.

Ok, so you want to take the belt off and inspect it.

How do you get the thing off?

On the tensioner there is a hole, well, not really a hole, but a square hole.

It will either be a 3/8 "or 1/2" slot.

Some have a bolt head from 1/2 "to 3/4".

And then, there are exceptions: as you look at the tensioner you will be able to tell what YOU have.

Put the appropriate tool on the bolt head, or inside the slot, and pull up on the tool.

If that is not the proper way, push down. 🙂

Either way, you have to get the tensioner to move off the belt so you can take the belt off one of the pulleys.

I usually have better luck removing it from the alternator.

Either way, once you have it off one of the pulleys, you can release the tensioner and then the belt can be removed.

Pay VERY close attention, before you remove the belt, as to the way it is laced around all the pulleys.

It takes less than 5 minutes to remove this belt … but it can take 5 hours to get it back on correctly … make a drawing or study the diagram.

Some, and most, vehicles have a diagram of the belt directions placed somewhere under the hood.

May be on the bottom of the hood, or on one side of the vehicle inner fenders.

Usually it is in a place that makes it almost impossible for you to look at it as you are trying to replace the belt. 🙂

If either of the pulleys have to be replaced it's no big deal.

Just remove the bolt, or bolts, holding them onto the engine.

Replace them the same way.

Now, on the tensioner, there is a little peg on the back side.

Align it with the hole in the block … it's there so you can get the tensioner back on right.

Replace the belt, and that's it … nothin 'to it!

Oh, was your diagram lable stuck on up-side-down? 🙁

You did a good job, though; And I knew you could. 🙂