Your car includes an accessory belt that drives the numerous ancillary components of the engine, including the alternator, A/C compressor, and the water pump. Meanwhile, the part that keeps it in place as it functions is called the accessory belt tensioner. If the belt starts to stretch and stops functioning normally, it might be time to replace the tensioner with a new one.
Required skill level: Intermediate
Needed tools and materials
3/8-inch drive breaker bar
3/8-inch drive metric socket set
3/8-inch drive ratchet
Disconnecting the power
Open the hood of your vehicle and secure it in place. Disconnect the battery so you will not accidentally touch an electrical connector or terminal while working around the engine. Look at the top of the fan shroud to see the accessory belt routing diagram; if it is not there, check the underside of the hood. Use this diagram to route the belt back around the pulleys in case the belt comes out of the pulleys when replacing the tensioner.
Locating the old accessory belt tensioner
Find the tensioner on the front of the engine. The accessory belt will be routed underneath the roller pulley, which is attached to the tensioner. Look for the bolt head in the middle of the roller pulley. You can rotate the accessory belt tensioner from there.
Removing the accessory belt
Using the breaker bar and a socket, turn the tensioner either clockwise or counterclockwise. This will help relieve the tension from the belt. You will see two holes protruding from the tensioner. Once you see the second one stick out from the component, stick the retaining pin through it to lock the tensioner in place. Then, reach under the roller pulley and slide the belt out. Let it hang down toward the other pulleys.
Removing the tensioner device
Look for the bolt that secures the tensioner to the front of the engine. Most tensioner devices have a bolt head in the middle of the spring-loaded arm of the tensioner. Some of them are attached to a bracket connected to the front of the engine by two or three bolts. Using the ratchet and a socket, remove the hardware that the tensioner device is attached to.
Installing the new accessory belt tensioner
Pull the tensioner off of the front of the engine and match it to the new component to make sure that the new stock is of the right size. Then, mount the new tensioner to the front of the engine and tighten the hardware back down tight using the ratchet and socket.
Reinstalling the rest of the components
With the new accessory belt tensioner installed, rotate it from the roller pulley again with the breaker bar and socket then slide the belt under the pulley. Slowly release the tensioner and remove the breaker bar. As it is retracting against the belt, the accessory belt tensioner will remove all of the slack out of the belt and bring it to the proper tension.