How to Loosen Tensioner Pulley Without Tool

How to Loosen Tensioner Pulley Without Tool? Definitive Guide For 2023

If you want to run your car in a controlled way then make sure your tensioner pulley fits in with your engine. Having an unfit belt may invite some trouble for your car and for you as well.

For doing this you must know about these serpentine belt parts and the process of how to loosen tensioner pulley without tool. Because, in an emergency situation, appropriate tools may not be available around.

In this article we will explain about the process and also the adjustment and categories available of tensioner pulley. So, you can have a clear vision according to that. Let’s start with knowing the tensioner pulley first.

What is “Tensioner Pulley”?

What is Tensioner Pulley

Tensioner Pulley is a common way for a timing belt to drive something. The belt goes around one or more tensioner pulleys, always keeping it tight and in the right place. Some part of the system usually needs to be adjustable so the belt can fit around the pulleys. A tensioner pulley, which can be done by hand or automatically, is one way to make this kind of change.

Most manual tensioners can be placed by touching or modified by turning a bolt. Even most automatic tensioners are spring-loaded.

Some of these systems only have power and accessory pulleys. One of the accessory pulleys is usually adjustable in those cases. Most of the time, this adjustment is made by sliding or tilting the whole thing until the belt is tight and then bolting it into place. In some cases, an adjustment screw may slide or tilt the accessory into position. A tensioner pulley is another way to make a belt tighter.

Steps to Loosen a Tensioner Pulley

Steps to Loosen a Tensioner Pulley

Most tensioner pulleys can loosen with a standard one-way ratchet. Always check your car’s repair manual for specific information and steps.

Find Sticker-labeled: Locate the pulley for the belt tensioner as indicated by the label. Check the belt tensioner pulley to see how much space there is for a tool. A standard 1/2-inch shaft will work if the difference is also 1/2 inches in diameter and cube, which is the common scenario with many vehicles.

  • Serpentine Buckle Information Sticker: Find the meandering belt knowledge sticker if indeed the belt tensioner sprocket on the sticker is not on the car. The sticker above will tell you where to put the serpentine belt and how big it is. Sometimes, these decals also show what size socket or rack and pinion end it would need to soften the belt serpentine belt pulley.

Note the required socket if it’s written on the sticker about the serpentine belt.

  • Pulled In: While the pulley and belt are apart, check them. Check the pulley by giving it a little wiggle to see if that is loose. When they can pull in a lateral direction, tensioner drive shafts should be tight. Even though they can bend a little when pulled in the order they work. The serpentine belt shouldn’t be splitting too much and should feel solid when you touch it by hand. Slide the meandering belt off any attached pulleys as you pull the forward pulley off.
  • Try Tool: If you can’t get the belt loose without tools, the right tool is in the hole in the middle of the belt tensioner pulley. It’ll also give you the leverage to pull the belt tensioner to the front and release the pressure on the serpentine belt. If the gap is made for a 1/2-inch square, but the ratchet end alone doesn’t reach the hole, a ratchet extension bar could help. Also, it really would help to loosen the buckle crank pulley on some cars if you had a performer Torx bit. Taking the tool away lets you release the tension on the belt tensioner pulley.

Three Types of Tensioner Pulley

Three Types of Tensioner Pulley


There are three different variations of the tensioner pulley. Here are some general basic rules,

  • Mechanical Tensioner Pulley: Motorized tensioner pulleys are the most straightforward, most common, and least likely to break. Most of the time, a sliding bolt is used to adjust it. But mechanical tensioner pulleys have to be changed by hand. It makes them easy to mess up, which can cause the belt tension to be too low or too high. Also, they need to be changed to deal with belts stretching over moments.
  • Spring Tensioner Pulley: As the name suggests, a spring is used in a spring tensioner pulley to keep the belt tight. Most spring tensioner pulleys are NAI tensioners and have a hydraulic damper. They are harder to use and cost more, but they don’t need to be changed and are less likely to cause mistakes. The spring keeps the tension, and the hydraulic damper keeps it from jumping up and down when the load changes.

To loosen a push belt spring.

  • Hydraulic Tensioner Pulley: Most of the time, hydraulic tensioners are found in the timing case. And most of the time on cars with timing chains, but some are used on vehicles with timing belts. Oil pressure out from the engine oil pump is used to power hydraulic tensioners. They may press on a tensioner pulley or tensioner slipper. You’ll probably need to know the year, make, and model, and you may need to use different tools for tensioner pulleys.

Replace Serpentine Belt NO special TOOLS required


How Do You Make a Serpentine Belt Tighter?

A serpentine belt controls your car’s cooling fan, alternator, and other parts. Since the serpentine belt goes around several pulleys, keeping the right amount of tension on it is essential. If the serpentine belt is too loose, the alternator won’t charge the battery right, and your accessories might not work. Follow those steps to tighten your belt and fix the problem.

1) Locate the serpentine belt tension screw under the hood. That visible screw is a wing-nut near the alternator.

2) Turn the socket wrench clockwise to tighten the wing nut. Check your socket and set that fits snuggly over the wing-nut to draw it and pull the serpentine belt.

3) Keep checking belt tension. Grab the belt between two pulleys. Most automobiles should have a 1/4-inch belt play.

4) recheck belt tension. Start the car and watch the belt move.

Listen for the alternator whine. If the alternator whines or “pulses,” the belt is overly tight and will harm it. To loosen the belt, move the adjustment screw counterclockwise.

Check one last time. You can also make sure that all of your accessories are getting power all the time. Turn on everything at the same time.

Loosen Tensioner Pulley Without Tool

How to Adjust Tensioner Pulley?

Open the car’s hood and use the locking rod to hold it in place. Now, locate the tensioner pulley on the front of the engine and adjust it by hand. A bolt head will be in the middle of the pulley, and an adjustment bolt will stick out of the side, top, or bottom of the pulley. Most of the time, the pulley is attached to a bracket, which is then attached to the stand for the alternator or the shelf for the power steering.

Transform the bolt head in the middle of the serpentine belt pulley in the reverse direction of rotation using a wrench and a socket. You may loosen the accessories belt by turning the adjustment bolt counterclockwise on the pulley’s side, top, or bottom using the ratchet and socket.

Which do you prefer: Tensioner Pulley, Tightening, or Loosening?

You may need to tighten or loosen a tensioner pulley to fix or maintain something. To replace a drive belt, you must relax a tensioner pulley because the new belt is smaller than the old one.

Most of the time, after putting on a new drive belt, you’ll need to fasten a tensioner pulley or fix a stretched serpentine belt that hasn’t worn out enough to need to be replaced. Most tensioner pulleys are either accessory-integrated (AI) or not accessory-integrated (non-AI). Think of AI tensioners as accessories that can be adjusted, like an alternator, and NAI tensioners as idler pulleys that can change.

Final Take

to Loosen Tensioner Pulley Without Tool

Drive belts, timing belts, and timing chains won’t work well or for very long if the tension is wrong. If the drive belt is too loose, the accessory won’t work well and will slip and make noise. A loose timing belt or timing chain could cause a lot of noise, wear that isn’t normal, or the crankshaft break. Pulling the tensioner pulley gives the serpentine belt slack.

That facilitates belt removal and motor part replacement or maintenance. Different tensioner pulleys keep the engine and its parts quiet and reliable over time. Hopefully, that makes you aware of the process and helps to find the solution.