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How to Tighten the Serpentine Belt of a Maxima

by Allen Moore

The Nissan Maxima is equipped with a serpentine drive system that transfers torque from the crankshaft pulley to the various engine accessories such as the alternator, power steering pump and air-conditioning compressor. The belt that transfers this energy must be held in place with a belt tensioner, a moveable device with an idler pulley that pushes the belt into place, holding it taut so that it does not fly off the engine. The tensioner on the Maxima is tightened or loosened with a set of 14mm bolts on the side of the unit.

Step 1

Raise the hood and use the flashlight to locate the tensioner. It is near the rear exhaust manifold and has two bolt heads below the pulley.

Step 2

Loosen the locking nut using the 14mm socket, universal socket adapter, extension and wrench. The locking nut faces the same direction as the pulley. Do not remove the nut completely or you will spend the next few days trying to reinstall it.

Step 3

Turn the adjuster bolt counter-clockwise with the same tools you used in Step 2. The belt should be tight enough to deflect one inch, no more or less. The adjuster bolt head is perpendicular to the pulley.

Tighten the locking nut back down using the same tools you used to loosen it in Step 2.


  • Spend a few minutes becoming familiar with the set-up before tackling this job. Knowing what you are moving, before you move it, will help tremendously in the process of tightening the belt.

Items you will need

  • Flashlight
  • 14mm socket
  • Universal socket adapter
  • Socket extension
  • Socket wrench

About the Author

Allen Moore's career includes awards in poetry and creative fiction, published lyrics, fiction books and nonfiction articles as well as a master certification in automotive service from the Ford Motor Company. Moore is a contributing writer for and various other websites, a ghostwriter for Rainbow Writing and has over a dozen works of fiction currently in print.

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