Any way to check an alternator belt?

Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby Chrisw443 [OP] » February 9th 2015, 9:56am

I took my new van into the shop for an oil change, (I know I am a noob) But the mechanic said because my belt was a little squeaky i should change it? I don't think i need to for quite a while, but I am all worried now. Course I can't hear the squeak. Anyway, is there a guideline to which belt on a 1995 safari is the alternator belt, and a good way to check it?

Van runs perfect so far.
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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby chevymaher » February 9th 2015, 1:13pm

On the grooved side do you see small cracks. No then it fine. Yes then that the guideline to change it. But it would last years still. Just so you know it isnt a panic situation even then.
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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby 1998kingbong » February 9th 2015, 1:46pm

Sounds like he is trying to drum up work. If the price sounds fair have them do it. If you do not know the history of your van, somethings are good to just replace.
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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby Lumpy » February 9th 2015, 2:29pm

There's only one belt on your engine. It snakes around all the pulleys on your engine (called a serpentine belt for that reason).

I suggest - Go to any online auto parts store and look up your van year/make/model and see what a new serpentine belt costs. Then compare that to what the oil change guy is asking for the belt + labor. If the difference seems acceptable to you, then you can make an informed choice.

ALWAYS keep the old belt in case of an emergency.

Replacing a serpentine belt is just slightly more involved than checking your oil or coolant level. It's less work/time/tools required than changing a flat tire. One wrench, 5 minutes and it's done. Look for a sticker in your eng compartment that shows the routing of the belt - over this one, under that one etc.


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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby Coaster » February 9th 2015, 2:34pm

if you own a 95 without AC you can expect an afternoon of searching for the right belt, and the third or fourth one you pull out of the box may be the right one. trust me the parts guy will be a frustrated as you
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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby Lumpy » February 9th 2015, 2:41pm

Coaster wrote:if you own a 95 without AC you can expect an afternoon of searching for the right belt, and the third or fourth one you pull out of the box may be the right one. trust me the parts guy will be a frustrated as you


Take the belt to NAPA. They'll match it either with the numbers on the belt or by physically measuring it or by the lookup tables - or all three.

NAPA or Gates are the only belts that I'll buy.


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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby RECox286 » February 9th 2015, 8:12pm

My LAPS carries Dayco brand, so it is the brand of choice for my trucks for the past 30 years.

They have given me good service...as good as OEM, so I can't complain. They run on my air

compressors, table saws, cars, trucks, and anything else that takes a belt.

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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby Chrisw443 [OP] » February 9th 2015, 9:44pm

Well thanks for all the responses, I'll double check the belt today before I leave, however, I looked at the belts last night, they look intact to me. So I think he was just trying to get money outta me.
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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby Lumpy » February 10th 2015, 12:16am

Chrisw443 wrote:
... I looked at the belts last night...



BELT (singular). There's only one.


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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby RECox286 » February 10th 2015, 12:24am

Speaking of belts...just one more for the road, please.

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Re: Any way to check an alternator belt?

Postby Leeann_93 » February 10th 2015, 12:40am

Chrisw443 wrote:Well thanks for all the responses, I'll double check the belt today before I leave, however, I looked at the belts last night, they look intact to me. So I think he was just trying to get money outta me.


Just because it (seriously: one belt, so it) 'looks intact' doesn't mean it's any good. They stretch, they crack on the underside....

Replace the belt, replace the belt tensioner. It's 15 minutes of your time and you'll know you're good for the next 40,000 miles plus.
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