If you are asking how you can tell if your drive belt tensioner is going bad, then you're going to have to look for some important signs. A good indicator that there may be trouble is a low battery indicator light. When the tensioner pulley isn't keeping the belt tight, then your alternator armature won't spin as fast and won't generate as much current as it should. You may also want to give your belts and belt tensioners a visual inspection while they are running at a low RPM. It's entirely possible you may notice some slack in the belts, which would indicate a release of tension. You would also have the opportunity to see rust or damage on the belt tensioner or pulley that could affect how smoothly it rotates. If this is the case, then you will eventually have a malfunction and the drive belt could come off the pulley or pulleys. That means you will not be able to use your engine accessories like the A/C compressor, power steering, or alternator. So it is best to get a broken belt tensioner fixed sooner rather than later.
What does a drive or serpentine belt tensioner do?
Your drive belt tensioner is an important part of your engine's secondary functionality. First and foremost, your engine produces power to propel your car or truck. But the rotational force from the crankshaft is transferred via a serpentine belt or other drive belts to pulleys on your alternator, A/C compressor, and power steering pump. An exact amount of tension is required to turn the pulleys on these accessories in order to power them. The serpentine belt tensioner reduces slack in the belts so that it can turn those pulleys. Sometimes it can release tension causing problems, and should be adjusted regularly until it must eventually be replaced.
Fix the problem yourself.
Adjusting or replacing a belt tensioner isn't terribly difficult, but your greater challenge will be getting access to it. More often than not, it can be done with the engine still in the car; but some other parts like cooling hoses or fan shrouds will need to be removed. Sometimes, it is easiest to lift the engine out of the compartment with a hoist or cherry picker. But once you have access to it, rotate the tensioner with a breaker bar to relieve tension on the belt and slide the belt off the pulley. Now, unbolt it from the engine block. Installation is pretty straight forward, performing all these steps in reverse. The only tricky part is going to be putting your serpentine belt back on the new belt tensioner and rotating it tight while keeping the belt in place. Once you've got that, test the belt for slack through the course and make sure all the belt grooves are properly aligned to the grooves in each belt tensioner pulley.
Start saving time and money right now!
Why go through the trouble and uncertainty of buying your new replacement serpentine belt tensioner from anywhere other than here? At Car Parts Discount, we carry a wide variety of tensioners and pulleys from inexpensive aftermarket brands and original equipment manufacturers. No matter which one you choose, you can count on getting a high quality part at a great price. So have no fear; buy your parts here.