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How to know if timing belt is bad or alternator is bad

How to check if timing belt is bad or alternator bad what's the difference

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The timing belt is internal to the engine. It is routinely replaced according to the mileage of your vehicle. It is a fairly significant job but if you don't do it it can break and your engine stops. You did not give year make model and engine size so I can't really tell you if you have a zero tolerance motor or not, but if you do you risk bending the valves if the timing belt breaks. Some models have chains and they don't need servicing unless the guides wear out or at real high miles the chain can stretch. (Depending on model usual change mileage is 90-100K)

The alternator is external and driven by the motor with a serpentine belt that runs your power steering, A/C and some models pollution pumps. The alternator is what charges your battery. Most chain parts stores like Napa, AutoZone and Advance will do a free alternator check. Your alternator should put out at least 13-14.5 volts to charge your battery. When the alternator goes bad the car will stop running and you will not be able to start without a jump. After it starts if it cuts off again, the alternator is probably the problem because it can run with out battery power but not without alternator. The car can run for a while with just the battery if it is charged enough, but it will eventually run out of battery power and shut down. There should be a light or gauge that comes on when the battery or alternator is bad.

Posted on Mar 17, 2014


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I have replaced the battery & alternator 3 times & it works for a while then the alternator goes bad agian

Very strange question...
The alternator is charging the battery.
They work together. Did you replace it yourself or by a car mechanic? Is the belt OK? How do you know the alternator is bad? I'm so sorry, but this is just not enough info, I'd be very happy to help you, but I'd need a bit more info.

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I have gone to different mechanics who changed the belt multiple times, the idle pulley and the tensioner. Also they have changed the alternator, all within a months period with the same result. please...

Have any of them checked the power steering pump, if the relief valve is jammed open it will cause the loud squealing sound also. Get them to check this.
Let me know if you need more information

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Serpentine belt broke is the engine ruined

serpentine belt no timing belt maybe yes know as a interferece engine but the serp.. belt should be fine just replace

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After replacing the alternator belt it is ok for a few months then I find it is breaking in half again, I have replaced a few times, the last with the most expensive one I could and it is breaking agian....

You probably have an aftermarket alternator, Some come with the wrong pulley installed. You cannot swap pulleys because the shaft is different. This is a very common complaint for this car. Find an original equipment alternator off ebay or a junk yard, you'll see the difference on the pulleys...good luck...blueamber... I have owned 6 of these cars

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Battery light on dash stays on

Hi Richard,

Check the belts, specifically the one attached to the alternator. It should be tight.

Next, if you have a volt meter, check the battery with the ignition off. It should be 12VDC.

Start the engine, check the voltage again. This time it should be at least 13.5VDC.

If there is no difference the alternator may need to be replaced

Best regards,

Dec 26, 2009 | 1999 Dodge Intrepid

3 Answers

How do i know if the alternator belt or alternator is bad

You are referring to the Serpentine Belt. you can check that simply by pressing down on the belt between two pulleys, if you can press the belt down more than a half in, the belt is stretched and needs replacing. also check the edges of the belt for cracking, that will also need replacement.

As for the Alternator, start the car. If the car dies within a few minutes, its bad. You can also take just a standard Volt meter while the car is running, and attach the volt meter to the battery. If you get anything less than 12-15 volts the alternator is not functioning properly and needs attention.

PS When using the Volt Meter, make sure its on DC setting and set it to the 20 volt setting,

Aug 09, 2009 | 1991 Chrysler New Yorker

2 Answers

Alternator belt keeps breaking

Either you have a pully that has a bad bearing, or the belt tension is going bad. One of the two will cause this.

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Squeaking belts

If it's not the belts, it might be your alternator. I had the same problem. I would have the belts tightened, then the problem would come back a few months later. Ended up that the alternator was bad. Replaced alternator, battery and belts and it hasn't happened since.

Feb 20, 2009 | 2003 Mazda Protege

1 Answer

Can an Alternator Belt installation cause a timing belt problem?

I cannot see any reason for the belt to cause timing belt to jump. unless they messed up something installing belt.might wanna get a second opinion

Oct 22, 2008 | 2001 Hyundai Sonata

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