Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Drive Belt Tensioner

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Cost of Replacing a Bad or Failing Drive Belt Tensioner

Common signs include grinding or squeaking noises coming from the belt, unusual belt wear, and belt-driven accessories like the alternator failing. Our certified technicians can come to you and diagnose the problem. You will receive a $30 credit towards any follow-up repairs that result from the diagnostic. Following are example prices for Drive Belt Tensioner Replacement. Click on the button below to get an upfront quote for your car.

Cars Estimate Parts Cost Labor Cost Savings Average Dealer Price
2005 Nissan 350Z $287 $216.62 $70.00 11% $324.12
2011 Toyota Avalon $317 $247.08 $70.00 10% $354.58
2008 Chevrolet Express 2500 $116 $46.03 $70.00 24% $153.53
2003 Mercedes-Benz ML500 $230 $159.58 $70.00 14% $267.08
2007 BMW 750i $231 $132.88 $98.00 18% $283.38
2013 Jaguar XK $317 $211.80 $105.00 15% $373.05
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How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing Drive Belt Tensioner?

belt tensioner

A drive belt tensioner is a pulley mounted on a spring mechanism or adjustable pivot point that is used to keep tension on the engine belts. Spring tensioners are designed to tension automatically while the pivot design types can be adjusted manually. Both are used to keep tension on the engine serpentine belts so that they can drive the various engine accessories.

When the tensioner has an issue, it can affect the how the belts drive the pulleys which can affect the performance and functionality of the vehicle. Usually a bad or failing tensioner will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential problem that should be serviced.

1. Grinding or squeaking noise from the belts or tensioner

The most common symptom of a bad or failing drive belt tensioner is noise from the belts or tensioner. If the tensioner is loose the belts may squeak or squeal, especially when the engine is first started. It is also possible for the tensioner pulley or bearing to wear out, in which case the vehicle will produce a grinding noise from the pulley.

2. Unusual belt wear

Another symptom of a potential problem with the drive belt tensioner is unusual belt wear. If the drive belt tensioner pulley has any sort of issue it can cause unusual and accelerated wear on the belt. A bad pulley can cause fraying on the edges of the belt, and in severe cases can even cause it to break.

3. Belt-driven accessories fail

Another symptom of bad or failing drive belt tensioner is failure of the belt driven accessories. Many of the engine’s accessories, such as the alternator, water pump, and AC compressor, can be belt driven. A seized or loose drive belt tensioner can cause the belt to snap, which will disables those accessories and can cause problems such as overheating, a dead electrical system and battery, or a disabled AC system. Usually a belt that has failed because of the tensioner will have to be replaced, along with the tensioner, in order to restore full functionality to the vehicle.

A drive belt tensioner is an important component as it is what keeps the belt properly tensioned so that it can properly drive the vehicle’s accessories. If you suspect that your drive belt tensioner may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if it should be replaced.

drive belts (ex. serpentine, v-belt)
belts

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YourMechanic Drive Belt Tensioner Replacement Service

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Chris

19 years of experience
1240 reviews
Chris
19 years of experience
2007 FORD FUSION - DRIVE BELT TENSIONER REPLACEMENT - MISSION VIEJO, CALIFORNIA

Lucas

18 years of experience
767 reviews
Lucas
18 years of experience
Great work. Thanks
1999 SATURN SL1 - DRIVE BELT TENSIONER - LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

David

7 years of experience
45 reviews
David
7 years of experience
David was very informative and explained everything in detail. Highly recommend using David
2006 GMC SIERRA 1500 - DRIVE BELT TENSIONER - ORLANDO, FLORIDA

Fabrice

17 years of experience
108 reviews
Fabrice
17 years of experience
Professional
2005 HONDA ODYSSEY - DRIVE BELT TENSIONER - ORLANDO, FLORIDA

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