The national cost for a drive belt tensioner replacement in 2023 is between $80 and $381 with an average of $209​

Save $20-$200 on your auto maintenance or repair when you book through us.

CarAdvise is a free membership discount club for car owners, like Expedia or Sam's Club. We have over 26,000 shops of the largest brands in our network, like Firestone and Pep Boys.


Lower than retail price.


We've got your back.

12k/12mo Warranty.

Auto Service Peace of mind.

14-Day Assurance.


National average cost of a a Drive Belt Tensioner Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost


What is a drive belt tensioner and how does it work?

The rubber drive belt on your vehicle allows the engine to provide power for a number of systems. Attached to the engine are a power steering pump, alternator, air conditioning compressor, and (in some cases) a water pump. Each of these components has a pulley on the front. Snaking around the pulleys is the drive belt, also known as a “serpentine belt”. Now, a device is in place to keep tension on the belt. This drive belt tensioner might need to be adjusted to provide a particular amount of tension, it might be spring-tensioned, or it might operate by hydraulic pressure. In any case, the job of the drive belt tensioner is to make sure that the serpentine belt does not become loose as it turns all of the pulleys.


Signs that your drive belt tensioner needs to be replaced

When a drive belt tensioner is failing, there are certain signs that might alert you to its condition. If your vehicle has a manually-adjusted tensioner, some of these signs could also suggest that it needs to be adjusted. These signs include:

Squealing noise coming from the front of your engine that raises in pitch with engine RPMs

The belt comes off of its pulleys

Your battery warning light comes on

The drive belt flutters or tracks in an off-centered manner

This text is only for demo

There are 0 shops within 20 miles of your location.



How is a a Drive Belt Tensioner Replacement done?

Drive belt tensioner replacement first requires access to the front of your vehicle's engine. That might include removing shields or guards or disconnecting engine accessories. With the belt and tensioner in clear view, a mechanic will typically do the following:

  • Release any tension from the drive belt tensioner by either loosening the tension bolt or turning against the tension with a special service tool
  • Taking care to note the routing of the serpentine belt in advance, remove the belt from the engine
  • Unbolt the old tensioner and remove it from its mounting location
  • Install the new tensioner and torque the mounting bolts to the manufacturer’s specifications
  • Inspect all other related components for signs of wear
  • Reinstall drive belt and load tensioner
  • Reinstall any components that were removed for access

Other questions customers ask

What happens if a belt tensioner goes bad?
A loose or seized drive belt tensioner can cause your drive belt to break or come off of the engine. When that happens, you will likely lose important functions of your vehicle. For instance, if you are driving, you could lose power steering assist, something that can be dangerous if you happen to be turning through an intersection at the time. Also, your alternator would no longer be operational, so your engine would eventually stall out for lack of electrical power. And your battery would die. Because the drive belt powers the water pump on some engines, dangerous overheating could be another result of a failed drive belt tensioner.
What causes a drive belt tensioner to go bad?
The drive belt, or “serpentine belt” on your vehicle is moved by the engine crankshaft. That means, whenever your engine is running, so is the drive belt and all of the pulleys that it engages. Therefore, the belt tensioner sees an enormous amount of use. Eventually, the tensioner pulley bearings give out. Sometimes the tensioner mechanism, whether screw-type, spring-tensioned, or hydraulic, gives way. Excessive dirt and dust can cause premature wear.
How long can you drive with a bad tensioner pulley?
If a drive belt tensioner is going bad, the resulting damage - namely a broken or thrown belt - might not be immediate. But they might be. If you suspect that the belt tensioner is going bad, or any other drive belt component, such as another pulley, is failing, make sure to have it inspected and replaced as soon as possible to avoid a potentially dangerous loss of vehicle function.

This is demo Question

This is demo Answer

Trusted by even more leading companies.

We've earned a reputation as the go-to choice for quality car care, with some of the biggest names in business reaping its benefits and improving their customer's car care experience.


Join the world's largest consumer fleet.

Over 1.5 Million already have.

Questions? We've got answers.

Our digital platform is designed to make maintaining and repairing your vehicle a breeze – from conveniently scheduling services, finding shops in the area, approving work remotely or getting free expert advice so you can be confident about any decision.

There’s nothing to pay up-front; you simply only pay for repairs or services that you approve. 

Nope, no funny business here—just get the job done and pay for what you approve. It really is that simple.

With our handy nationwide network of over 26,000 shops to choose from and free sign-up – you can rest assured your car is in good hands. 

With CarAdvise, you don’t need a fleet of 100,000 cars to get an amazing deal on car services. Our discounted prices are guaranteed to beat any other retail options – so why spend more? On average customers save 15-40% when they choose us – that could mean hundreds saved in just one service job.

Learn More

At CarAdvise, we believe life is unpredictable and if you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment – no worries! We promise there’s never any penalty for missed appointments.

We’ve partnered with the best in the industry such as Firestone, Pep Boys, JiffyLube, Canadian Tire, NTB, Meineke, Tire Kingdom, AAMCO, Monro, FCA dealerships and many independent shops across the country.

Ready to join the party? Just a few clicks and you’ll be all set – create your account now. You can easily create your account here.

Just email us at or give our friendly team a ring at (844) 923-8473 and we’ll be sure to lend you the helping hand you need.

Please have your license plate or VIN ready.