Belts and Tensioners
Need to know timing belt symptoms
Belts and belt tensioners work together to keep various components of your car engine running, such as the water pump, alternator, power steering and air conditioner.
The belt winds its way around these various components and when the engine is running, gives them power. The auto belt tensioner lives up to its name and keeps the belt snug, even under different engine speeds and loads.
A belt (sometimes called a fan belt, drive belt or serpentine belt) is a thin band made of reinforced high-tensile strength cords and synthetic rubber. Belts come in two different types: the traditional V-belt
and the serpentine belt
. Almost all cars today use serpentine belts.
A car belt tensioner is a metal, spring-loaded pulley that attaches to the engine.
Over time, even the best belt can break thanks to high temperatures under the hood and constant bending and flexing. Failure of other engine components can also cause your belt to break. When this happens, your car’s accessories stop working. If you continue to run your car engine, more serious damage can result.
When a belt tensioner starts to wear, the tension it provides weakens, which in turn affects the belt’s performance and causes it to wear prematurely.
Hissing, grinding, growling, rattling, chirping, squealing, or rumbling noises could be signs that your belt or tensioner is failing. If you hear any of these sounds, see your professional automotive service technician immediately.
Ask your automotive service technician to check your belts and tensioners every time you have your oil changed. In between time, check your engine belt periodically on your own, for instance when you’re refilling your windshield washer fluid.
Generally, replacing a worn belt is very easy and can be completed in about 30 minutes by a professional service technician. It’s not a good idea to put a new belt on a worn tensioner, so ask your technician to replace them at the same time as part of your preventive maintenance plan.