The drive belts on an engine are an area where caution must be used in order to prevent injuries when working on the AC system. Many drive belts on late-model vehicles are held in place by a spring-loaded tensioner that holds strong pressure on the belt at all times. The belt tensioner must be released with the proper tool to safely remove or install the drive belt.

Drive belts on older vehicles are typically a V-belt type and are adjusted by moving one of the accessories on a pivot to allow the belt to be loosened or tightened. The key point to remember when dealing with adjustable V-belts is to tighten the belt to the correct level but not overtighten it. Overtightening these belts adds stress on the pulley and bearing of the accessories and could lead to early failure. It is also a prudent action to recheck and possibly adjust the belt tension on brand-new V-belts after they have been installed for a few days.

V-belts are used on older-generation cars and trucks. These belts are adjusted by physically moving one of the driven components within an open groove in the mounting brackets or by installing an adjustment strut that allows the belt tension to be adjusted by shortening or lengthening the

The accessories on most late-model vehicles are driven by a serpentine belt that is much wider than the belts on older vehicles. This belt system typically uses a spring-loaded tensioner that holds constant pressure on the belt during

The belt tensioner on a serpentine belt must be released when removing or installing the drive belt. Some vehicles allow a ratchet or a socket to be used to release the belt tensioner, while other vehicles require a special belt-release tool to be used to service the drive

A belt tension gauge is a valuable tool to use when installing a new V-belt or when adjusting the tension on a used V-belt. After this tool is inserted on a section of the belt, it measures the deflection of the belt and lets the user know if the tension is correct. If the tension is too loose, then the belt can be tightened up. If the tension is too tight, then the belt can be

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