The engine of your car can have several belts depending on its design. Most modern vehicles have one drive belt or serpentine belt that brings power from the engine to various accessories like the water pump, AC, and the alternator.
In some cars, you will have a separate belt in charge of the alternator, aptly called the alternator belt. The alternator keeps the battery charged, which in turn powers the electrical components of your vehicle.
In order to continuously charge, the alternator has to spin. It spins thanks to a pulley, which is connected to the crankshaft via the alternator belt. The alternator and crankshaft move together thanks to this connecting belt.
While your car could potentially drive for a short time without the alternator, the battery cannot sustain itself for very long. Therefore, the alternator belt, which keeps the alternator spinning, is vital for your vehicle to drive.
As with many other parts of your car, the alternator belt can be susceptible to wear and tear. Many modern belts use an automatic alternator belt tensioner pulley that keeps the tension steady but it can still become loose over time or even tear.
Since accessories like the alternator in your car depend on a functioning belt you should look out for these symptoms that can indicate a faulty belt.
Battery Warning Light
If there is a problem with the alternator belt, the first indication can be the battery warning light. The same goes if your battery dies unexpectedly, as a loose belt won’t be able to power the alternator and the battery will die while trying to power on its own.
If you notice your lights, both headlights and interior lights, flickering or dimming, this is an indication of a battery or alternator problem. It can also be a sign for a worn alternator belt — either way, you should take your car to a garage as soon as possible.
If you notice your car stalling more than usual, especially when the lights are flickering at the same time, there is a very high chance that the alternator belt is at fault.
Alternator belt noise
If the belt is loose or doesn't have enough tension you will often notice a squealing noise. If you continue to hear this noise it is time to have your car checked by a mechanic because if ignored the belt could come off completely.
During your car service, the mechanic will also check for physical signs of wear and tear on the alternator belt. Rubber parts can peel off and tears can appear. Ultimately the alternator belt can snap. Either way, it is time for a replacement.
How to change the alternator belt? Changing the alternator belt is not too difficult, but you need to know your way around your car and have the necessary tools ready. When in doubt, we recommend having any repair or replacement done at your local garage.
While the alternator belt cost is not very high, the replacement price will depend on how easily the mechanic can access it. Some belts are difficult to find and replace, which will increase the labour cost for your alternator belt replacement.
Your mechanic knows how to replace it quickly and also how to tighten the alternator belt once it is in place, making sure you can drive safely thanks to the correct amount of tension on the belt.
When you request quotes on autobutler.co.uk you can compare prices from various garages nearby and find the right one for you.
|Make||Compare and save*||You save on average*||Ratings|
Get an air con service and optimal cooling. Right now from only £50*. The system is checked for leaks and your refrigerant will be refilled. Get instant quotes and see your price!
Get a complete service with a stamp in accordance with the manufacturer’s and dealer's specifications. You can save on avg. £94* by comparing quotes with Autobutler.
Get a interim service and keep your car running smoothly. Right now from only £70*. Includes oil and oil filter replacement, re-filling of up to 4 litres of engine oil and a complete review of your car based on a 46 visual checkpoints.
Order oil change online and save money! Right now from only £60*. Includes re-filling of up to 4 litres of engine oil and oil filter replacement. Get instant quotes and see your price.