How to Replace Your Car’s Idler Pulley

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Average rating from 332 customers who received a Idler Pulley Replacement.

Idler pulleys are a newer style of tensioner and guide for your vehicle’s drive belt. They help to maintain control and tension on the belt as it rotates at high speeds. Failure in this pulley can result in a loose or dropped drive belt, noises from failed bearings, and or a damaged drive belt. With the right tools, replacing this part can be done in a short amount of time.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing an idler pulley

Materials Needed

  • Replacement idler pulley
  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Torque wrench

car battery showing both cables

Step 1: Disconnect the battery. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the car battery to cut power to the engine.

Set the cable aside where it cannot make contact with anything metal.

diagram showing where to find the idler pulley in relation to the belt

Step 2: Remove the drive belt. To remove the drive belt, first release the tension to the belt.

If your idler pulley attaches to the alternator, you will have to remove the bolt attaching the pulley to the alternator and push the entire alternator down to relieve the tension on the belt. If your pulley attaches to the engine block, then loosen the bolt attaching it to the engine block and push the pulley back to release the drive belt.

  • Note: Some vehicles have will have engine covers with bolts around the perimeter that need to be removed before you can access the drive belt below.

hand removing the bolt and washer from the idler pulley

Step 3: Remove the old pulley. With the belt set out of the way, remove the retaining bolt and pull the pulley out.

Keep the pulley and any gaskets or hardware that come off with the pulley. You will need to install the new pulley with this hardware in the exact same order.

hands installing an idler pulley

Step 4: Install the new pulley. Compare the new pulley with the old to confirm it is a proper replacement. Assemble and install the new pulley with the appropriate hardware.

Use the existing hardware from the old pulley if the new pulley doesn’t come with bolts and gaskets. Make sure you are assembling and installing the new pulley and hardware in the same order as the old pulley and hardware.

Once the pulley and hardware are in place, hand tighten the retaining bolt.

torque wrench being used on pulley

Step 5: Torque the pulley. Using a torque wrench (and a socket to keep the pulley from spinning if needed), torque the pulley bolt to 40 ft/lb.

Set the wrench to 40 ft/lb and apply pressure to the bolt with the wrench until it clicks and you know you’ve hit the required torque.

hands installing a drive belt

Step 6: Replace the drive belt.

  • Note: Replace any covers or plastic shields you may have removed to access the belt.

Step 7: Reconnect the battery. Reinstall the negative battery cable.

Replacing an idler pulley can be done in a reasonable amount of time and for a decent price. If you find that you need assistance, or you would simply prefer that a professional perform the repair, feel free to contact one of the certified technicians at Yourmechanic to replace your idler pulley at your home or office for you.


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Recent Idler Pulley Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Idler Pulley Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

332

Rating Summary
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Torrieanto

11 years of experience
498 reviews
Torrieanto
11 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala - Idler Pulley - Clearwater, Florida
Torrieanto goes above and beyond what is expected when it comes to repair work on my vehicle. He is always professional and courteous. He takes the time to ensure I understand the work being performed and shows me every aspect of the vehicle and components involved both before and after his repair work is complete. It's always a pleasure doing business with Torrieanto and that is why I request him specifically for all my service calls with YourMechanic.
Chevrolet Impala - Idler Pulley - Clearwater, Florida
This was my first service with YourMechanic and having Torrieanto as my mechanic today made a great first impression. Torrieanto was polite, professional and very easy to deal with. He made me feel comfortable discussing my concerns with my car's performance and my "self-diagnosis" of the issue. Most mechanics I have dealt with prefer to wave me off and let me know that they are the pro. Following his overview of my vehicle's performance he gave me a summary of his findings, made sure I understood, agreed with and was comfortable with the work he recommended and was going to perform. He even told me he was going to do his best to keep my cost below my expectations. (WOW!) Again, most mechanics take advantage of our lack of knowledge often changing unneccesary parts therefore earning more in labor and leaving us with a larger bill than necessary. His attitude was truly refreshing! Upon completion, Torrieanto showed me exactly what part was removed, pointed out my newly installed idler pulley and politely answered the few questions I expressed regarding my concerns about the "what-ifs" of my possibly delaying this sort of repair. He was beyond polite! He kept a clean workspace and treated me and my vehicle with respect. I will definitely request Torrieanto specifically when I need my vehicle services in the future. Thank you YourMechanic and thank you Torrieanto!

Angel

16 years of experience
84 reviews
Angel
16 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C300 - Idler Pulley - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
My experience with Angel was amazing. He was very polite efficient and knowledgeable . He explained everything he was doing as he goes along he listens to my concerns and he made recommendations regards other issues. I will have no reservations in recommending him to my friend and family in taking care of their car.

Luis

17 years of experience
206 reviews
Luis
17 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Idler Pulley - Somerset, New Jersey
Great guy and professional mechanic who got the job done in a reasonable time. Great communication as well!

David

12 years of experience
272 reviews
David
12 years of experience
Ford Focus - Idler Pulley - Marietta, Georgia
He arrived earlier than scheduled, did an inspection of my vehicle. Explained what was wrong and what parts I needed. He was able to do the job fairly quickly and got me back on the road! He was professional and polite. I would definitely use him as my mechanic on any other future jobs I may need.

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