What is the Alternator Belt all about?
The alternator belt is a rubber belt located in the engine compartment behind the drive belts. Its job is to keep the crankshaft in sync with the camshaft(s), ensuring the proper timing and operation of the engine valves and therein, the engine.
Keep in mind:
- When replacing an alternator belt, also replace the water pump, tensioner, and pulleys.
- If the pulleys and tensioners should fail after only replacing the belt, it can cause valve or piston damage and lead to more expensive repairs, in order to have the engine run properly. It is therefore essential to replace the whole set.
- We only replace the water pump if it is driven by the alternator belt (true for 60% of the cars).
How it’s done:
- Remove accessories needed to gain access to engine timing cover.
- Remove engine alternator cover, inspect alternator belt and pulleys for needed parts.
- Remove and replace alternator belt, water pump, pulleys, and tensioners.
- Reinstall alternator cover and all removed parts.
- Start engine and check for proper engine operation and engine alternator, as well as for cooling system leaks.
Follow the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer and replace the alternator belt as recommended. The alternator belt drives the water pump in 60% of the cars. The labor cost of replacing the water pump is significantly higher than the cost of the pump. While replacing the alternator belt, it is cost effective to replace the water pump. We highly recommend replacing the alternator belt pulleys and tensioners. The tensioner applies pressure to the timing belt keeping it tight, while the pulleys keep the timing belt in line. These components are sealed units that contain bearings (they cannot be lubricated on a regular basis). The bearings wear out over time and may seize, causing the timing belt to come off, which can cause major internal engine damage.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Alternator Belt?
- Abnormal squeaking coming from the timing cover area.
- If the timing belt breaks, the car will not start.
How important is this service?
Ignoring the replacement of a alternator belt as a part of scheduled maintenance, could result in major engine failure down the road. You should not wait for your alternator belt to break, it must be serviced regularly.