Checking, Adjusting, And Refitting Drive Belts

Checking, Adjusting, And Refitting Drive Belts – A Complete Guide

Drive belts are a common addition in many modern vehicles. They help move the alternators, power steering, the vehicle pump, and many other components. After some time, the drive belt will wear out from continued usage. It will become unable to drive the generator or the water pump. It is an indication for checking, adjusting, and refitting drive belts and correcting the problem.

How To Tell There Is A Problem

You can identify problems with your drive belts easily. They will become loose after stretching, and they might fall off the pulleys. The drive belts can also crack and break depending on the level of damage. As a result, it is important to identify the problems before they escalate.

#1. The Ignition Light Comes On

The ignition light indicates a problem in your engine section. When the drive belt breaks and the generator goes off, the engine light will come on. Additionally, it will cause a flat battery warning since the generator will not charge it. Checking, adjusting, and refitting drive belts will correct this problem.

#2. Overheating

The drive belt also powers the water pumps to the engine and other components. Indeed, when it breaks, the pumps will fail, leading to overheating in the engine. Furthermore, the check engine light will come on, and while checking the causes, you will notice the state of the drive belts.

The drive belt can also wear out from the engine heat. As a result, it will cause wearing out and lead to breaking. These premature failures are a good indication to check the state of the drive belt.

Which Drive Belt Types Are Available?

Vehicle manufacturers use different drive belts based on the engine performance and whether they will effectively turn the required components. Indeed, you can make the correct changes when you know the drive belt type on the vehicle. Here are the options available;

#1. V-type drive belts: This drive belt is installed in the deep v-shaped grooves on the pulley wheel. They contact the sides of the grooves for best performance.

#2. Serpentine: The drive belt has grooves running along its length. Its grooves increase the tension with the pulley wheel and ensure it remains in contact. In conclusion, it slips less often compared to other drive belts.

Checking The Drive Belts

You can often check the drive belt’s condition to identify problems as early as possible. It also allows you to check the state of damage and thus decide whether you will replace or repair them. Turn off the engine before commencing any checks on your drive belts. Run your hands along the length of the drive belt, identifying areas with wear or broken places. Results from checking, adjusting, and refitting drive belts are;

#1. Cracks: Cracks are common if you haven’t replaced the drive belt for long. You can feel them mostly on the edges, and they show the belt will break in a while.

#2. Oil-soaked belts: The belt relies on its grooves to prevent slipping. If they are soaked in oil, they will easily slip from their position and be additionally damaged. The belt can also have too little oil, increasing friction on them. Rub some oil along their length and reconnect them to the pulley.

#3. Glazing: This is the shiny appearance on the belt. It results from wearing out and will require replacement. It also shows you need adjusting and refitting to increase grip. A glazed drive belt will not drive the pulley and causes engine problems manifested through the engine light.

Replace the belts after checking. Most drive belts cannot be repaired, and replacement will make them last longer. The engine light will go off, and the battery will recharge well.

Adjusting Belt Tension

Checks can also show the drive belt has lower or higher tension than needed. Low tension makes it unable to drive the wheel, while high tension increases friction and breakages. Adjusting the belt tension is thus an important part of checking, adjusting, and refitting drive belts.

To check the drive belt, find the distance between the longest points on the pulley. You can measure them with a ruler to get accurate results. Place your index finger and thumb here and move them from side to side to test the tension. If the drive belt moves too freely, it is loose and less movement shows it is too tight. You can now adjust it depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. Here’s how to adjust the tension.

#1. The drive belt has an adjustable pivot for tension adjustment. It is between the generator and the engine. It is also held in place by restraints that prevent it from slipping out of place, making tension adjustment easier.

#2. While testing the tension with your hands, move the drive belt using a metal rod or wood. Once you attain the prescribed tension level, you can tighten the adjusting strap bolts to hold it in position. Finally, tighten the pivot bolt.

#3. If the tension is too high, you can also follow this procedure. Conclude by tightening the pivot bolt and adjusting strap bolts to work well.

Refitting Drive Belts

If your drive belt is too damaged, you can replace it. Firstly, get the right drive belt as recommended by the manufacturer as it will fit well and last longer. Secondly, loosen the adjusting strap bolts on your generator. Thirdly, loosen the pivot bolts, and the drive belt will move freely. Finally, remove the belt through the topmost side of the pulley. It is next to the water pump in most vehicle models. You can now begin reinstalling the new cable.

Ensure it has the right tension by testing it throughout the process. Wind it slowly into the correct position and fasten the adjusting strap bolts. You can now turn on the vehicle engine to ensure that the installation is successful. You will have completed checking, adjusting, and refitting drive belts.


Checking, adjusting, and refitting drive belts are important for vehicle maintenance. You should do it regularly for the best performance. In conclusion, it will save you money and prevent engine malfunctions through timely replacements.