Checking for Loose Drive Belts

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated March 30, 2012)

If there is one single part of the engine that needs to be taken care of properly, it has got to be the drive belt. Drive belts (also known as serpentine belts) are the one piece of equipment that can help make the entire engine work together properly. This basically means that if it becomes too loose, breaks, or some how becomes damaged in some other way, your entire engine stops working. Without a working engine, your car doesn't move. The easiest way to keep this from happening is by checking for loose drive belts. It's not that difficult, and really only requires that you follow these simple steps.

  1. Find the belt. Before you can check your drive belt to see if it is loose, you need to be able to identify it. For most vehicles this is a fairly easy thing to do since all you need to do is look at the front of the vehicle's engine. Typically you will find a single large belt that runs from the top of the engine to the bottom, usually in a serpentine fashion (hence the nickname).
  2. Visually inspect. Once you have identified the drive belt take a look at it. Usually you can get a good idea of what you are faced with by simply looking. The belt should not look like it is lose at all, and it should firmly be in place with all the wheels and pulleys that it has to work with. Furthermore, when you look at the belt make sure that it is not dried out or cracking. If it looks like it is, you will need to replace it as soon as possible.
  3. Feel it. Take the time to actually touch and feel the drive belt. By simply pressing on the belt you can tell if it needs to be tightened or not. When pressed in, the belt should move no more than one inch. At this time also take the opportunity to feel the belt and see if there are any notches missing in the teeth on the underside, or if there are any cracks that you can't see, or anything that simply feels wrong.
  4. If necessary, tighten it up. If the belt ends up moving more than an inch when you press against it, you will need to tighten it. Make sure that the belt is still useable though, otherwise you could accidentally break it when you begin tightening it. The tool that you use to tighten a drive belt is, imaginatively enough, known as a tensioner. These can be purchased at most automotive parts stores.
  5. Perform regular checks. Don't forget to check your drive belt on a periodic timeframe to ensure that you don't miss anything. This simple preventative maintenance action can help ensure that your serpentine belt doesn't break or come off when it would be most disadvantageous for you.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Removing Road Salt

There is nothing that really works quite as well at keeping the regular winter driver safe from harm as road salt. At the ...

Discover More

Getting Whites White with Front Loaders

Even though front loading washing machines are becoming more popular with the environmentally conscious, they still have ...

Discover More

Understanding the Types of Fertilizers

Fertilizers have the potential to be great gardening tools; however, they must be used wisely. Part of using fertilizers ...

Discover More
More Car Tips

What Is a Power Flush?

Sometimes when a person hears a term that they don't understand from their mechanic, like "power flush," they are too ...

Discover More

Replacing Your Engine Coolant

There is more to replacing your engine coolant than simply pouring a little of your preferred brand into the proper slot. ...

Discover More

Adding Water to Your Radiator

If you have never done it before adding fluids to engine of your vehicle, let alone water to your radiator, can be a ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 - 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)