If your vehicle’s engine is making an abnormal noise or the steering wheel is vibrating, it could be due to a misaligned belt. A misaligned belt can cause all types of problems, from decreased fuel economy to decreased performance. Not to mention, it can be quite dangerous! The good thing is that you can easily perform a quick belt alignment at home. All you need is a few simple tools and a little know-how. In this article, we’ll walk you through the entire process step-by-step. By the end, you’ll be an expert in belt alignment!
Remove the old belt:
Remove any remaining fragments of the old belt from around pulleys and other moving parts. This will prevent them from becoming trapped or damaged during the installation of your new belt (see illustration). Also, check that there are no cracks or signs of wear on any of these components if so, they may need replacing before installing your new timing belt. Next, remove all covers from around the pulleys and remove any bolts that hold pulleys in place on each cylinder head.
Install the new belt:
First, you’ll need to remove your old belt and install the new one. To do this:
Remove all the bolts around your engine and pull off any covers that might be covering them up.
Remove the belt around the pulley on top of your engine using a pry bar or flathead screwdriver.
Once it’s loose, slide it out of place and replace it with your new belt by sliding it back over each pulley until it clicks into place.
Section: Inspect the belt:
Inspecting your belt is an important step in any belt alignment job because you can identify any problems before installing it on your vehicle. Look at both sides of the belt for signs of wear or damage. If there are cracks in the rubber or chunks missing, replace the belt immediately before using it on your vehicle!
Check the tensioner:
The tensioner is a device that keeps the belt tight while driving but allows it to relax when the engine is turned off. If your car has an external tensioner, you can inspect it by looking at the top of your engine near where the serpentine belt enters. You should see two pulleys mounted on opposite sides of each other; one smaller pulley on top and one larger below it. The larger pulley should turn freely when you start your car up; if not, get assistance from an auto technician immediately because something is wrong with your tensioner.
Lower the vehicle:
If you’re working on an older vehicle, it’s best to lower it so you can easily get underneath. This will make working on the belts easier, especially if they are located near the car’s centre or at the front or rear of the engine compartment. You may even want to remove your wheels to move around and reach all areas of your car easily.
Recheck after driving for a few days:
After performing your initial alignment check (as described below), drive your vehicle for several days before rechecking your work. This will help ensure that any vibrations or noises that occur after aligning your belts are not caused by them being misaligned again. If everything checks out okay and no strange sounds come from under your hood, you may have fixed the problem yourself.
For most people, performing a belt alignment at home is a viable option. Sometimes though, due to the issues you may be experiencing with your vehicle (transmission, ball joints, etc.), it might be better to take your car in to have the alignment corrected professionally. So next time you have issues with your vehicle, don’t worry! Realign those tires to get back on the road in no time.