How to Adjust a Fan Belt Tensioner

Fan belt tensioner (often referred to as the accessory belt) is connected to the flywheel and provides power to various accessories like, water pump, air conditioner compressor, power steering pump, power brakes and the alternator. Some cars employ a single belt, whereas others use 2 so as to divide the work load and therefore, fan belts are significant items for any car’s effective performance and maintenance. The adjustment of a fan belt tensioner is a fairly easy process and using the tools and materials, as per the steps mentioned below, you may go about your project with little difficulty or complications.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Large screwdriver
  • Wrench

Step 1 - Thoroughly Check your Car

In order to avoid any possible problems once you have begun the project, it is important that you pre-determine and understand the dimensions, limitations as well as the possible mechanism of your vehicle. In effect, see whether your car employs a single drive belt or a multiple drive belt system so as to conclude exactly what number of belt(s) might need to get adjusted or replaced. In order to analyze all these factors check your car thoroughly and get all your information/details correct. Once your car’s check in terms of the mechanism is complete, check the belt(s) for possible damage, irregularity, wear or tear spots, cracks and slackness.

Step 2 - Identify the Problem and Adjust

Once the possible problem(s) have been identified and acknowledged move towards solving them. In effect, loosen the tightly secure belt tensioner which is positioned as depicted according to the diagram on the sheet of plastic underneath the hood. Use your car’s manual or the diagram to identify the route to be followed by the fan belt. Using a somewhat large or hefty screwdriver, pry the accessories (that utilize slide adjustment) around the fan belt tensioner so as to resolve the issue with it. If it needs to be taken off and repaired/replaced then do so or if it has stretched, lost shape or loosened up, it can be tightened back up to its original shape, size and appearance. Note that the new fan belt should be appropriate in terms of the features, model and size specifications for your car and that it follows the same route as the old one.

Step 3 - Final Check Up

End your project successfully by prying the screwdriver against the newly adjusted fan belt tensioner and tighten it secure and safe while you hold onto the belt with a solid/steady hand. See to it that once the belt is tightened it should be able to budge for more than an inch and note that too tight a belt could jeopardize the employed pulleys in your car. However, your check up of your adjustment will only be complete once you start the engine and are sure that the belt works effectively without slipping or squealing especially once the air conditioner is switched on. If it does so (even after some time at a later date), it is probably because of an excessive stretching. Repeat the process and tighten the belt gently around the tension adjuster.