Removing a Serpentine Belt

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
I am frustrated with my car. My belt ripped to shreds today, and I tried, to no avail, to put a new one on. I got to the top pulley, which is the alternator, but it needs about a half an inch more to get it on. I looked for a tension release, but I couldn't find one. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your time.

Most cars have a tensioner, which is basically an idler pulley that is spring loaded. Look around and see if there is just a plain pulley not attached to any device. Now look closely at it. Is there a large nut in front of it? If so, then that is most likely it.

You will need a large wrench (do not use an adjustable pliers or vice grip) or a socket wrench with an extra long handle. It will take some force, but rotate the pulley away from the belt (it should be obvious which direction it is when looking at it). Now, once you get it up, hold it steady with your strong hand, and quickly pull the belt off the nearest pulley with the other. Gently lower the tension and release the tensioner pulley. Now, when you go to reinstall the belt, the tensioner will be the last pulley it wraps over. It could get a little ackward if you are not used to the motions.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

If you have a question for Bob send it to: . He's able to answer many of them personally and we'll include the best questions in future issues of The Dollar Stretcher.
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