How to Use Serpentine Belt Tool

by Chris Moore

Removing a serpentine drive belt from an engine usually requires a type of socket tool to loosen the belt tensioner. Depending on the vehicle, you can either use just a ratchet wrench or may need a large breaker bar. There are, however, aftermarket belt tools that can work with any vehicle. A serpentine-belt toolkit can be assembled to work with any type of vehicle and the tensioner it uses.

Connect the socket to the end of the belt tool's bar. The exact size of socket you need depends entirely on the year and model of the vehicle and the bolt it uses on the tensioner. A full serpentine-belt toolkit will include every possible socket you should need.

Attach the extensions to the other end of the bar if your vehicle's tensioner is in a location where the bar itself can't reach. The extensions are usually bolted on. The exact length of the bar that you need also varies depending on the vehicle.

Place the belt tool's socket onto the main bolt for the car's belt tensioner. Apply force to the bar to turn the tensioner; whether you need to turn the bolt clockwise or counterclockwise varies by vehicle. Turning the bolt relieves the tension on the belt.

Slip the serpentine drive belt off its pulleys while the tool relieves the tension. Make sure you know exactly how the belt is routed along the pulleys as you remove it. Slowly and carefully retract the bar to release the tensioner after removing the belt.

Use the tool in the same way to install a serpentine drive belt. Make sure you route the belt along the pulleys in the correct path (many vehicles have a guide printed somewhere under the hood) and the belt's "ribs" are centered within the grooves of the pulleys. Use the same caution when releasing the tensioner after installing the belt.


About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.

More Articles