How to remove alternator pulley

How To Remove Alternator Pulley

The alternator pulley is a critical component of your vehicle’s charging system. The alternator pulley is responsible for driving the alternator to generate electrical power. Over time, due to wear and tear, you need to remove the alternator pulley. So, you need to know how to remove alternator pulley.

To remove the alternator pulley, gather an alternator freewheel puller remover set and two wrenches. Block the alternator shaft, hold it with one wrench, and unscrew the pulley with the other. Use additional leverage if necessary.

When I needed to replace the alternator pulley, I did deep research and found a way to remove the pulley from the alternator. Finally, I found a way and successfully removed the pulley without damaging the alternator. In this article, I will explain how to remove the alternator pulley as a step-by-step guide.

What Are the Symptoms of a Damaged Alternator Pulley?

You can experience the following signs when you run with a damaged alternator pulley.

Damaged Alternator BeltThe alternator belt becomes damaged due to excess heat generated by the alternator pulley.
Wear On the Alternator PulleyYou can observe scoring lines and belt slippage due to the friction between the belt and the pulley.
Abnormal NoisesIf the alternator pulley is misaligned, you will hear growling or whining noises.
Worn-out bearings can cause changes in the alternator pulley angle, leading to abnormal noises.
Burning SmellsA faulty alternator pulley can result in a burned rubber smell from the alternator belt.

What Are the Effects of a Damaged Alternator Pulley?

Removing alternator pulley using a ratchet

Here are the effects of a damaged alternator pulley:

Inconsistent Headlight Brightness

The alternator cannot provide a steady power supply to the headlights with a faulty pulley. Headlights dim at times and then suddenly brighten again. You know this affects the visibility of the driver and raises potential safety concerns.

Malfunctioning Car Electronics

The alternator is the main power source for the vehicle. A damaged pulley interrupts the flow of electricity. So electrical components start to malfunction or fail completely. You can check the alternator output by doing a bench test.

Starting and Stalling Issues

The alternator charges the battery and the battery provides power to start the engine. With a bad pulley, the battery doesn’t receive enough current to charge. So, what happens if the battery doesn’t charge properly? It causes difficulty starting the car.

Additionally, the alternator supplies power to the ignition system. If the ignition system doesn’t receive enough power to function, it results in an engine stall.

How To Diagnose an Alternator Pulley?

Mainly, there are 2 methods to diagnose the alternator pulley.

Visual Inspection

Serpentine belt

First, inspect the pulley itself for any wear, damage, or misalignment. Examine the alternator belt or serpentine belt for cracks and damage. A damaged belt indicated issues with the pulley.

Listening to Unusual Noises

After visual inspection, move to this method. Listen for any unusual noises like grinding, squealing, or rattling sounds from the alternator area. This noise indicates a faulty alternator pulley.

How To Remove Alternator Pulley

So, how to remove alternator pulley? I will explain how to remove alternator pulley as a step-by-step guide, so you can understand the process better.

To remove the pulley, first, you need to get the alternator out of the vehicle.

How To Get the Alternator Out of The Vehicle

This is how I did it.

Step 1: Disconnect the Battery

Disconnect the negative battery terminal. 

Step 2: Locate the Alternator

Then I located the alternator. I was at the driver’s side of the engine bay.

Step 3: Remove the Electrical Connections

I carefully disconnected the wires and connectors that connected to the alternator.

Note: You can take a photo of the wire locations before removing them. It will help you when reattaching them.

Step 4: Loose the Alternator Belt

I carefully loosened the belt tensioner pulley and the serpentine belt. Then I slipped the belt off the alternator pulley.

Step 5: Remove the Mounting Bolts

Next, I loosed and removed the alternator mounting bolts. I used a wrench for this.

Step 6: Remove the Alternator

Finally, I pulled the alternator away from the vehicle and placed it on a table.

How To Remove the Alternator Pulley

This is how I removed my alternator pulley.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

I used an alternator freewheel puller remover set and two wrenches for the task.

Step 2: Identify the Freewheel Clutch Pulley

First, I locate the alternator pulley. It had a free motion when rotated in one direction.

Step 3: Block the Alternator Shaft

Then, I selected the appropriate tool from the puller remover set and blocked the alternator shaft from rotating.

Step 4: Unscrew the Pulley

Next, I held the alternator shaft in place by using one wrench. I unscrewed the pulley using the other wrench.

Tip: Sometimes it may be difficult to rotate the pulley. If it is, you need a larger wrench or a lever for additional power.

Step 5: Remove the Pulley

Finally, I removed the pulley from the alternator after it unscrewed.

That’s how to remove alternator pulley safely and now you can install the new pulley.


How long does an alternator pulley last?

The lifespan of a pulley is typically around 60,000 miles; however, it can be shortened by worn-out belts and tensioners. It is crucial to regularly verify these components.

What stops a pulley from turning?

A pulley with damaged bearings may fully freeze, which will prevent the belt from moving as intended. By removing your belt from the problematic pulley and giving it a try, you can determine whether this particular problem exists. The pulley probably needs to be changed if you discover any resistance.

What is an alternator pulley made of?

Alternator pulleys are typically made of pressed steel or cast aluminium.

Does alternator pulley size affect speed?

When a larger pulley is turned by a smaller one, the larger pulley will rotate more slowly but with a higher force at the shaft. When a larger pulley rotates a smaller one, the smaller pulley will do it substantially more quickly and with less force applied to the shaft.


Now you know how to remove alternator pulley, and it is a simple task that can be done yourself. You can reduce alternator pulley problems with proper maintenance. Have a nice day!

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