How to Replace Alternator Belt in 5 Steps

What You'll Need
Alternator belt
Wrench or ratchet

This article will educate you on how to replace alternator belt. An alternator belt also known as a serpentine belt is a continuous, solitary belt that is used to drive numerous marginal devices in an automotive engine or a car engine, such as power steering pump, alternator, air conditioner compressor, air pump, water pump, and other accessories. Replacing an alternator belt is fairly easy; all you need to get started are the right tools. As always, when starting on a project, it is always a good idea to practice precaution. Make sure that the key is out of the ignition and that the negative battery cable is disconnected before you start.

Step 1 - Check the Alternator Belt

It is a good idea to check if the alternator belt needs replacing before you decide to do something on it. You can check if alternator belt needs replacing by doing the following steps: Check the belt tension, if you push on the belt and it moves more than ¼ inch to a ½ inch then it means that it is worn out and needs replacing, now you can go on ahead and remove it.

Step 2 - Release the Tension

Releasing the tension on the belt will allow you to remove it. First you need to locate the tensioner pulley. The alternator belt can be wound around a number of different accessory pulleys, depending on the model and make of the car. The tensioner pulley is attached to a rotating metal bracket which can either bolt onto the car or engine block at the reverse end of the pulley. Use a wrench or ratchet that fits the rotating end of the bracket.

Step 3 - Get Familiar with the Alternator Belt

Know how the alternator belt is attached and where it is attached exactly, you will need to know this when you put in the new alternator belt. Memorize every twist and turn the belt goes. It is imperative that you put in the new belt exactly the way the old one was put, or else it will not work properly. To be able to remember the exact way the belt is installed, you can either make a drawing of it or you can take a picture of it.

Step 4 - Install the New Belt

Twist the new belt around every one of the pulleys, except the alternator.  Refer to the drawing or the picture you took earlier of how the belt is attached and where it should be attached. Making sure that it is installed properly and exactly the way it should be will prevent any damage to the car. Use the wrench to pull in the direction needed to loosen the tension and slip the belt in place and over the alternator pulley. Now, slowly release the tensioner, making sure to avoid any injury or damage. Remove the wrench.

Step 5 - Make the Final Check

Make sure that everything is placed the way it should be. Check the belt tension by pushing on it again; it shouldn’t have moved more than ¼ inch to ½ inch. Now you are good to go. Make sure that you get rid of all the rags and tools out of the engine area. You can now attach the negative battery cable and you can now start your car.