The accessory belt tensioner maintains proper belt tension to ensure the seamless operation of the parts connected to it. The belt drives several components together, including the water pump and alternator, so adequate tension is required to keep it running. The accessory belt tensioner must be adjusted to the correct tension at all times. Any looseness on this part may cause the belt to become derailed, jeopardizing the operation of the peripheral devices dependent on it. At some point, the spring inside the tensioner may start to weaken and become worn out. When this happens, the tensioner will lose its capacity to maintain the required belt tension. Ultimately, various engine parts will stop working, rendering your vehicle inoperable. Replace a damaged accessory belt tensioner right away before the problem worsens. Here are the tools you'll need and the steps to follow in replacing a faulty belt tensioner:
Difficulty level: Moderate
- 3/8-inch drive breaker
- 3/8-inch drive metric socket set
- 3/8-inch drive ratchet
Step 1: Disconnect the car battery and turn the engine off for safety. Using the breaker bar and a socket, turn the damaged accessory belt tensioner either counterclockwise or clockwise to loosen it. This leaves the belt free of tension.
Step 2: Slide off the belt from underneath the roller pulley and let it hang downward in the direction of the other pulleys.
Step 3: Remove all bolts securing the tensioner to the engine using the ratchet and a socket. Pull the damaged tensioner out and detach it from the engine carefully.
Step 4: Before discarding the old tensioner, align it with the new one to ensure they're both of the same size. Position the new accessory belt tensioner on the engine block and put back the mounting bolts to secure it in place. Tighten all bolts using the ratchet and socket.