How to Tighten Altima Belts

by Grace Mclain

Most all of the Nissan Altima vehicles that were built before 2000 came equipped with multiple drive belts. These drive belts controlled all of the front engine accessories. The accessories include the water pump, power steering pump, air conditioner compressor and the alternator. As the engine is running, the drive belts are turned around each accessory by the crankshaft. This gives each accessory the ability to perform its required function. If the belt starts to fray, change it out before it completely breaks.

Open the hood, and locate the adjustable idler pulley for the belt that needs tightening. The idler pulley has a locking bolt in the center of the pulley, and an adjustment bolt on the end of the pulley.

Loosen the locking bolt from the center of the idler pulley with the ratchet and a socket.

Turn the adjustment bolt on the side of the idler pulley clockwise with the ratchet and socket until the belt is tight.

Check the tension of the belt by pushing inward on the belt with your hand. The belt should have only a half-inch of slack to be properly tensioned.

Tighten the locking bolt in the center of the idler pulley back down tight. Crank the engine for about 10 seconds. Turn the engine off and recheck the tension of the belt. Adjust as needed.


  • check The tension of the belt can also be checked by using a belt tension checking tool that can be bought at most any auto parts store.


  • close Keep hands and tools away from moving engine parts.

Items you will need

About the Author

Grace Mclain has been writing professionally since 1998. Her articles have appeared on, and LIVESTRONG.COM, and she specializes in automotive and business topics. McIain has a professional writing certificate from JB Hunt in Little Rock, Ark.

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