Essentially a power generator, the automobile alternator keeps the battery charged and enables it to power the important electrical parts of the car continuously. Without this, the battery would fast drain because it wouldn’t have enough power to continuously power all of the components.
So, in this article, we’ll go over the most common symptoms you have a bad or loose alternator belt. That said, we’ll be discussing related questions on alternator belts, including:
- What causes the alternator belt to go bad or get loose?
- How often should you change your car alternator belt?
- Can you replace the alternator belt yourself?
- How much does the alternator belt replacement cost?
Ok, let’s get started!
Symptoms of a bad or loose alternator belt
Here are the most common symptoms you should look out for if you suspect that your alternator belt has gone bad or loose:
- The lights in the automobile begin to flitter or seem dimmer than usual. This can indicate problems with the alternator or the battery. Before the lights eventually quit operating owing to a lack of power, the flickering might last for a time.
- The battery warning light illuminates. Although it’s crucial to look into many potential causes, this ought to be one of the first significant warning indicators.
- The engine compartment is emitting a loud chirping or squealing sound. An increase in friction with the pulley parts is what’s causing these noises.
- The car’s battery is dead. If the problem is serious, the battery won’t be able to keep a charge and might even expire soon after the car has started.
- Read More: Symptoms Of a Bad Timing Belt
What causes the alternator belt to go bad or get loose?
If you’ve noticed one or more of the symptoms listed above, one of these is likely the culprit that triggers it:
- A damaged tensioner. The tensioner holds the belt firmly in place to prevent sliding. A crack or contact between the tensioner arm and spring casing should be looked for.
- Misaligned pulleys. A misplaced drive pulley can strain the belt, causing it to fray or come off entirely.
- Liquid leaks. Technical fluids like coolant, oil, and power steering fluid can have an impact on belts. These are petroleum-based, and as a result, they risk harming the component’s rubber surface.
- Defective or harmed bearings. Additionally, slippage and overheating from high friction can be brought on by bearing damage.
- Alternator belt aging. The belt will stretch and wear over time, so this is the most frequent cause for replacement. If kept too long, cracks could develop.
How often should you change your car alternator belt?
New serpentine belts can last far longer and are frequently easier to repair than used V-belts, which normally last up to 4 years or 40,000 miles. The typical serpentine belt has a lifespan of 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Compared to ordinary belts, those produced of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) last longer and can be used for about 10 years before needing to be changed.
However, when the alternator belt becomes older, a number of issues can surface. It may begin to fray, wear, crack, or peel, for instance, or it may become loose or out of place. The simplest approach to avoid the system shutting down while the car is in motion and significant harm to the driven components and battery is to replace the belt in good time.
Can you replace the alternator belt yourself?
You certainly can. If you have the necessary equipment and knowledge, you ought to be able to repair this component by yourself at home. The belt tensioner is one of the numerous damaged or worn-out components that have to be replaced.
How much does the alternator belt replacement cost?
Depending on the car model, replacing an alternator belt might cost anywhere from $50 to $300. It costs $20 to $100 to replace an alternator belt, and labor might run $30 to $200. Since the alternator belt is frequently relatively affordable, you can save money if you know how to change and tighten it on your own.
The majority of contemporary automobiles, as I previously mentioned, employ an automatic belt tensioner; therefore, if one of these automobiles has a slack belt, the tensioner needs to be replaced. You can anticipate paying $30 to $150 for a new one of these tensioners, which are often a little more expensive.
Read More: How Much Does Timing Belt Cost to Replace?
To maintain the reliability of your car’s electrical system and guarantee dependable performance, it is essential to be aware of the signs of a faulty or loose alternator belt. A failed alternator belt can cause a variety of issues, such as battery problems, dim headlights, and issues with engine performance.
You can repair belt problems quickly and stop future harm to your car by being aware of warning indicators including screeching noises, dashboard warning lights, or electrical failures. Driving safely and without issues depends on routinely checking and maintaining the alternator belt and other crucial parts.