What you need to know about the Alternator Belt in your Car

Firstly, we should know what actually an Alternator Belt is. An Alternator Belt is a belt which is connected with the alternator and the crank shaft in a car and it is used to serve the purpose of providing charge to the battery of a car. Or in simple words we can say that Alternator Belt is the power behind the working of your Car’s battery and simply the power behind the working of your car and its features.

Alternator Belt Benefits

It aids and helps in supplying power to car’s electrical system and basically helps in the functioning of stereo, ignition coils, air conditions, engine cooling fans and even the headlights and the other lights of a car. It can be said that without an Alternator Belt your Car may be able to run but it will not have any of its features, and no one of us would want to have car without common features like Air Conditioning and Stereo etc. Moreover it can be impossible to drive without the headlights at night and it can be too dangerous to drive if the engine cooling fans are not functioning properly. And as all these features are directly dependent upon Alternator Belt, we can say that a car cannot work without an Alternator Belt, and hence it is one of the most important mechanical equipment required by the mankind.

Alternator Belt – How it works

alternator-belt-04Now let us know how an Alternator Belt actually works. This may involve mechanical terms which may be difficult to understand, but in simple words we can describe that a belt is connected on an alternator and it is connected through an alternator pulley with the engine fans of our cars. When we switch on the engine, the belt rotates the pulley at the pace of the fans and hence keeps the rotor of the alternator to turn and generate electricity which is then passed onto the electronic modules of the car and hence makes all the systems in car function.

The rotor turns and generates electricity as long as the car is switched on and hence provides us with some extraordinary features available in the car and assists in smooth driving.

But since it is the major working part in a car’s mechanical system which works non-stop as long as the car is switched on, it is the part which is inevitably most prone to failures and breakages. Breaking, losing or cracking of an Alternator Belt is one of the commonest problems and it is indicated by the squealing sound that is produced when we switch on the air conditioning of our cars.

We all must have experienced this ear hurting sound at least once in our driving experience and now we know exactly why it is produced. Despite this, damage on the ribs of the belt too is one of the most apparent and observed problems.

alternator-belt-01Well, now as we know that the Alternator Belt is one of the most important mechanical parts for the proper functioning of a car’s features and we know that it is one which is more prone to failures and breakages too, it is fitting enough that we should also know how to deal with a sudden malfunctioning of an Alternator Belt. If it breaks while driving, there is no need to panic as the car will not stop working immediately, but it would be better to get it repaired as soon as possible.

While most modern cars used a single Serpentile Belt which can be adjusted by just loosening the Tension Gauge, but if it doesn’t help, one must not take long to visit a mechanic. There is certainly no need for panic, but we would advise to at least have a quick repair.

To conclude, we can say that though little known or less heard about, but the Alternator Belt is surely the hidden power behind the efficient working of a car and hence to maintain the smooth working of a car, we must also ensure the smooth functioning of the Alternator Belt.

Replacing an alternator belt

Replacing the alternator belt is quite easy. All of them need to get ready with the perfect tool. This is when starting a project, where you need to take protection. The key must be out of ignition and the negative battery cable should not be connected while you start.

Step 1 – Check the Belt

It is always a wonderful idea to look at the belt whether it needs changing. You can check the tension of the belt. When the belt is pushed and it moves more than half to one fourth inch, it means the belt is worn out and needs to be replaced. So it can be removed then.


Step 2 – Tension Release

When you release the tension on the belt you need to locate the pulley for the tensioner. The belt can be wound round a number of accessory pulleys depending on the make and model of the car. This pulley is to be attached to a metal bracket that can bolt the car and block the other end of the pulley. You can also use a ratchet or a wrench that fits at the very end of the bracket.

Step 3 – Getting Familiar

When you detach the Alternator Belt, you must learn all the twists and turns and see how the belt goes. It is important that the new belt is put exactly the way the old one was put to make it work properly. Remember to install it the way it has been installed. For that you can make a drawing or take a picture of the whole thing.

Step 4 – Installing the belt

Twist the new belt around the pulleys except on the alternator. You can refer to the drawing or the picture that was taken earlier on. Make sure the best is installed properly and the way it should be installed to prevent any damage to the car. The wrench can be used to pull in the direction that is right and that should loosen the tension. Then the belt can be slipped over the pulley of the alternator. After the tensioner is slowly released, you can avoid any damage or injury and then remove the wrench.

Step 5 – Final Check

Place everything the way it should be placed. You can check the tension of the belt by pushing it again. It should have moved more than one fourth inch to half inch. You are all set to go now. You can now attach the negative battery connection and start the car.

Follow the instructions verbatim, one after another to avoid any accident while replacing the alternator belt. Following the above instructions one by one will surely help you replace the belt and get ready to start your car in no time.