ATD Tools 8604 Tru-Grip Serpentine Belt Tool
Last updated date: June 22, 2020
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We looked at the top Serpentine Belt Tools and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Serpentine Belt Tool you should buy.
Update as July 9, 2020:
Checkout The Best Serpentine Belt Tool for a detailed review of all the top serpentine belt tools.
In our analysis, the ATD Tools ATD Tools 8604 Tru-Grip Serpentine Belt Tool placed 7th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
Tru-Grip Serpentine Belt Tool. Clamping jaw allows user to position the belt without the belt slipping out of the tool. Tru-Grip and long reach allows belt routing in tight access areas. Body made of lightweight alloy steel for durability and strength. Ergonomic handle provides comfort and ease in use, acting as an extension of the user's hand.
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An Overview On Serpentine Belt Tools
There are tools in a mechanic’s garage that are absolutely necessary and are well suited to a variety of jobs: The ratchet wrench, pliers, a crowbar and the like. Let’s be clear that a serpentine belt tool is not one of those items. It’s specifically designed for one job, although it can be surprisingly adaptable (especially in cramped spaces). But ask any mechanic who has had to that difficult job and they’ll swear by this deceptively simple bar.
First, a little background on the serpentine belt. This aptly-named strip of reinforced rubber is an essential part of the system that drives any component not powered directly by the car’s engine. Most often, that includes but is not limited to the alternator, power steering, emissions control systems and the water pump. As you can imagine, things can go south very quickly if this belt breaks or slips off its pulleys — but it does happen.
The problem is that replacing this simple belt can be a time-consuming activity for any professional mechanic, not to mention an amateur one. The belt snakes over a series of pulleys that are attached to the accessories that it powers, and those pulleys are usually placed far apart in cramped areas towards the front of the engine compartment. In most cars, there is a tension mechanism that you can adjust with a wrench, thereby loosening the belt. Mechanics might need to remove several components like the wheel well or engine cover in order to get enough elbow room to loosen that tensioner — if they’re doing it the hard way.
The easy way is to use a serpentine belt tool. Bear in mind there are actually two types of serpentine belt tools: One specifically designed for getting to and adjusting that pesky tensioner, and the other to help you grab and place the belt.
In its most basic form, the first kind is a long, thin bar with a drive square on one end. Once you put the correct socket on, you’ve got a wrench that can extend down into the hard-to-reach areas under the hood. You can use it to adjust the tensioner without having to take half your car apart, and that can save a lot of time and sweat.
These tools will often come in kits that include not just an array of common sockets for the job, but one or more extension bars. In some cars, the tensioner isn’t just placed in a tight spot; it can also be in an awkward one. Extension bars can be added to the end of a serpentine belt tool, allowing you to get leverage from a variety of angles. In many cases, you can even fasten a standard wrench onto the end of the tool.
The second kind of serpentine belt tool is used not to loosen the pulleys, but to manipulate the belt itself. Serpentine belts can wind across many pulleys in spots that are even more difficult to access than the tensioner. A serpentine belt installation tool is a long rod with a two or three-pronged fork at the end. This fork is situated at a right angle to the main bar, and the tines are meant to fit between the grooves in the belt. This makes it much easier to grab and stretch over pulleys without having to actually reach them.
In either case, you’ll want it made of sturdy metal. That’s especially true for the first type of serpentine belt tool, which is going to be subject to a lot of pushing and pulling. A selection of the different socket sizes is a big plus, especially if you plan to work on more vehicles than just your own. And don’t overlook the grip: A non-slip rubber handle can make all the difference when you’re leaning into a too-tight tensioner.
The Serpentine Belt Tool Buying Guide
It’s typically pretty easy to tell if your serpentine belt needs to replaced in the first place. There are even tiny gauges that can measure the acceptable level of wear in your grooves if you really want to do your own diagnosis. But while you’re looking for wear, check your tensioner arm first by giving it a look while the engine is running. A smoothly-operating tensioner should run without wobbling in the belt at all, though the tensioner itself might vibrate slightly. If the tensioner arm is moving side to side by 1/4 inch or more, you may want to have it replaced before it puts more wear onto a new serpentine belt.
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