Best 6 Serpentine Belt Tensioners Reviewed – Why Do We Prefer Them?

Best 6 Serpentine Belt Tensioners Reviewed – Why Do We Prefer Them?

For your car accessory system to run smoothly, the belt-drive system must be in good condition. Among the various components of the belt-drive system, the belt tensioner is one of the most vital.

Also referred to as the serpentine belt tensioner, this is a pulley utilized to maintain tension on the engine belts.

There are three different types of tensioners, and they include automatic, fixed, and adjustable belt tensioners.

In this review, we will focus on the automatic belt tensioners available on the market.

Best Overall

ACDelco 38159 Professional Automatic Belt Tensioner and Pulley Assembly

ACDelco 38159 Professional Automatic Belt Tensioner and Pulley Assembly

What We Liked Most About This Product

ACDelco, a branch of General Motors, is one of the leading brands for aftermarket replacement parts for the automotive industry.

The company offers some of the best aftermarket replacement parts for a wider range of vehicles. However, it mostly covers GM vehicle makes and models.

The ACDelco 38159 Professional automatic belt tensioner and pulley assembly is an OEM fit part and works with different vehicles.

The most exceptional feature to note about this tensioner is the torsional round spring design that delivers constant tension for the belt drive system’s smooth operation.

Product Overview

Besides, this device is simple to install and works exceptionally well. It features a tension, pulley, and damping system.

It is best suited for accessory belt drive systems that need an automatic serpentine belt tensioner. With this device, you will have excellent belt tension with good alignment and damping for optimal operation.

You can use this aftermarket automatic belt tensioner to cover domestic or even import vehicles and other applications.

It will fit with much ease and works on most GM vehicles. However, you should get in touch with the manufacturer to find out if it is compatible with your car make, model, and year.

One of the challenges that you will face is a stiff device after the first few days of installation. But after a short while, it will run smoothly and quietly.

Featuring a limited lifetime warranty, this is a worthy investment as it will increase tension and prolong the parts of your belt drive system. Since it is an OEM quality belt tensioner, it will perfectly fit most cars.


  • Easy to install
  • Versatile as it covers domestic, import, and heavy-duty applications
  • It has consistent tension
  • Comes with a pulley assembly
  • Durable construction for long-lastingness
  • Works on different car make and models
  • OEM quality
  • Limited lifetime warranty


  • Several users have complained that the bearings are quite stiff in the first few months of use

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AA Ignition Automatic Serpentine Belt Tensioner and Pulley Assembly

Automatic Serpentine Belt Tensioner and Pulley Assembly

What We Liked Most About This Product

AA Ignition may not be popular for automotive parts, but it has some quality and reliable parts on offer. The AA Ignition automatic serpentine belt tensioner is one of such examples.

This serpentine belt tensioner is fantastic because it is not only affordable but as well as meets strict quality control.

Made in South Florida, this serpentine belt tensioner is made by ASE certified technicians, which means that it meets OEM standards.

Product Overview

What’s more, the belt tensioner works with various car makes and models from GM, Chevrolet, Nissan, and GMC.

Some of the GM models include:

  • 2004 – 2007 Buick Rainier,
  • 2008 Hummer H3,
  • 2002 – 2008 Cadillac Escalade,
  • Escalade EXT,
  • 2003 – 2006 Isuzu Ascende

For GMC models, they include:

  • 2005 – 2009 Envoy,
  • 2001 – 2008 Sierra 2500 HD,
  • 2004 – 2005 Envoy XUV,
  • 2007 – 2008 Sierra 3500 HD,
  • 2003 – 2008 Savana 1500, 2500, 3500

For Chevrolet car models, they are:

  • 2007 – 2008 Avalanche,
  • 2001 – 2008 Silverdo 2500,
  • 2003 – 2006 SSR,
  • 2003 – 2008 Express 1500, 2500, 3500,
  • 2006 – 2009 Trailblazer

Apart from being compatible with various car makes and models, this tensioner is simple to install and comes with a pulley assembly. Moreover, the included instructions allow even DIYers or car enthusiasts to install the tensioner.

But if you’re not sure about the installation, hire a professional technician. A unique function of this automatic serpentine belt tensioner is the torsional round spring. This delivers steady tension for the extended use of the tensioner.

So, if your car needs an automatic belt tensioner, this may be the perfect device for you.

Despite the fantastic features of this tensioner, it is sold at a low price. You will also relax knowing that the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty, so your investment is secure.


  • It has a torsional round spring that delivers consistent tension
  • Compatible with a broader range of GM, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles
  • OEM fit
  • Sturdy construction for longevity
  • Straightforward to install
  • Meets strict quality control
  • Instructions for ease of set up
  • Inexpensive belt tensioner
  • Lifetime warranty


  • It is not very durable

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Gates 38158 Belt Tensioner Assembly

Gates 38158 Belt Tensioner Assembly

What We Liked Most About This Product

Another notable serpentine belt tensioner on the market is the Gates 38158 belt tensioner assembly.

Gates is a re-known brand with various aftermarket automotive parts. The company produces OEM quality parts that are also compatible with different car makes and models.

The Gates serpentine belt tensioner is made of aluminum, which makes it lightweight. However, it is the quiet operation that makes it an excellent belt tensioner for your car.

So, as you replace different parts of your steering and suspension system, consider getting the Gates 38158 belt tensioner assembly for a smooth performance.

Product Overview

Similar to many belt tensioners on this list, the Gates automatic belt tensioner is also straightforward to replace.

Furthermore, the device is OEM quality and fits perfectly with compatible vehicle makes and models. The unit is also compatible with a wider range of GM car makes and models.

Nevertheless, you should find out if this serpentine belt tensioner perfectly fits your car parts.

Expect this belt tensioner to run for not less than 12, 000 miles before you can start experiencing any issue. It is also sold at an incredible price, making it ideal for car enthusiasts, DIYers, and even professional mechanics.

However, it is not very durable as it is made of aluminum, which may not withstand extended pressure. Overall, this is an exceptional serpentine belt tensioner with outstanding features.

Aside from that, the manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty against defects in materials or craft. Therefore, you can relax knowing that you’re investing in a quality OEM part.


  • Quiet in operation
  • Straightforward to set up
  • It fits perfect
  • Lightweight unit
  • OEM quality
  • 12-month warranty


  • Poorly made of lightweight aluminum that cracks with ease

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Dorman 419-011 Automatic Belt Tensioner

Dorman 419-011 Automatic Belt Tensioner

What We Liked Most About This Product

Dorman is one of the oldest aftermarket automotive parts companies on the market.

They have many automotive parts on offer, making it one of the most preferred aftermarket parts brands by professional mechanics.

The Dorman 419-011 automatic belt tensioner is made by a team of ASE Blue Seal certified technicians to ensure it meets the highest quality standards. What stands out most about the Dorman belt tensioner is its sturdy construction.

Product Overview

The Dorman automatic serpentine belt tensioner is resistant to shock and heat. Thus it can withstand a lot of pressure.

Additionally, the belt tensioner fits easily, making it straightforward to replace. It comes with a spring, damping design, and sealing system for spectacular operation.

Besides, the steel pulley ensures that the tensioner lasts a bit longer.

With greater compatibility, this tensioner will fit on a variety of vehicle makes and models such as Ford and other GM vehicles.

However, get in touch with the manufacturer and determine if it matches your car make, model, and year. After all, it is OEM quality.

All-in-all, this is a quality serpentine belt tensioner that will help you have a smooth-running belt drive system.

When replacing your old serpentine belt tensioner, make sure to replace the serpentine belt as well for smooth functioning. With a 12-month warranty, you will rest knowing that you’re covered in case anything goes wrong with the tensioner.


  • Durable construction for long-lastingness
  • Outstanding resistance to shock and heat
  • Fits perfectly
  • Corrosion resistance
  • 12-month warranty


  • Not suitable for heavy-duty use

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ACDelco ACK040378HD Professional Accessory Belt Drive System Tensioner Kit

ACDelco ACK040378HD Professional Accessory Belt Drive System Tensioner Kit with Belt and Tensioner

What We Liked Most About This Product

If you want a combination of both a serpentine belt tensioner and belt, then this is an ideal package for you. The ACDelco kit helps you to replace both your belt and tensioner.

This belt drive system kit is exceptional because it is easy to install, thanks to the detailed instructions included in the purchase.

Installation is straightforward, and even a startup mechanic or DIY enthusiast can replace the old belt and tensioner with this kit.

Product Overview

The ACDelco ACK040378HD features a serpentine belt, serpentine belt tensioner, and pulley.

These are well-made for longevity. The kit will also ensure you have a properly aligned belt drive system that runs the steering wheel, suspension, and water pump efficiently.

Besides, it is quiet in operation, which is often an issue with most aftermarket belt tensioners. It meets OEM standards and works with most GM vehicle makes and models.

You will also get a limited lifetime warranty. This means that it will be covered against defects in material and workmanship, as long as you don’t violate the warranty terms.


  • Features a tensioner and belt
  • Sturdy construction
  • Versatile as it covers different vehicle makes and models
  • Provides proper alignment for maximum durability
  • Straightforward to install with instructions
  • OEM quality and finish
  • Quiet operation
  • Limited lifetime warranty


  • Several users have complained that it doesn’t come with an ACDelco belt

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I hear a squeaking or grinding noise from the front of my car. What is the problem?

If you’re driving your car and hear a squeaking or grinding noise coming from the front, you probably have a worn-out or damaged serpentine belt tensioner. When you come across such an issue, you should take your car to the mechanic immediately.

Failure to do so might cause the steering wheel and AC to stop functioning. And if the belt tensioner completely fails to function, then the car engine may overheat and breakdown suddenly.

What should I consider when choosing a serpentine belt tensioner?

Similar to selecting any other car replacement part, there are various factors that you should consider when choosing the best serpentine belt tensioner.

Some of the things are compatibility with your car make and model, the device’s durability, aftermarket parts, and warranty.

How do I know that my belt tensioner is nearly failing?

Inspecting your vehicle regularly is vital as you’re able to find out the issues that your car is facing.

For instance, several signs can alert you about a worn-out belt tensioner, and they include:

  • Pulley bearing wear
  • Loss of spring force
  • Rust bleed & cracks
  • Tensioner arm misalignment
  • Pulley wear
  • Tensioner noise
  • Tensioner assembly misalignment

When you notice one of these signs, then know that it is time to change your serpentine belt tensioner.

What is the importance of a belt tensioner?

A belt tensioner is vital in the smooth operation of the accessory belt drive system. It can maintain the right amount of tension on the belt nonstop throughout its duty cycle. Besides, it helps to secure other parts like the water pump and alternator from unreasonable failure.

If the belt tension is aligned correctly, the drive belt system accessories will work right. But if it’s too low, you will hear some noise from slipping, and if it’s too high, it will lead to undue wear to the belt-drive accessories.

Why is it crucial to replace the belt, tensioner, and pulley at the same time?

This is because all of these parts almost wear at the same time.

If you want the entire belt drive-system to function smoothly and efficiently, you should replace all components and accessories instead of replacing one part.


Now that you’ve gone through our six best serpentine belt tensioners, you should have an easier time picking the belt tensioner for your car make and model.

Not every serpentine belt tensioner you find on the market will work with your belt drive system. For this reason, you need to find out if the device you’re choosing is compatible with your car.

The belt tensioners we’ve highlighted are some of the best, with exceptional performance. They are also compatible with a broader range of vehicles, and most of them meet OEM quality!