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How To Replace and Install an ATV Drive Belt

When to Replace Your ATV Drive Belt

The drive belt transfers power from the engine and has a direct affect on your ATV's performance. Knowing when and how to change your drive belt will keep you from getting stranded, and can help prevent unnecessary wear or damage to other mechanical components. It's a good idea to carry a spare drive belt while you ride, just be sure to follow the manufacturer's storage instructions.


The brand of the drive belt, driving style, heavy hauling, and faulty installation can all influence belt longevity. Inspect the drive belt at regular intervals, and if you feel the belt slip while riding or something seems off with the clutch, it's definitely time to investigate.


If a visual inspection of the drive belt reveals uneven or excessive wear, frayed edges, or sheared cogs, remove the belt for a closer look. Drive belt pulley assembly damage, improper pulley installation and alignment, high engine idle, and loose engine mounts can all contribute to drive belt deterioration.


As always, be sure to check your service manual for specific maintenance information.


Associated Task:

While the drive belt cover is off, inspect and maintain the drive and driven pulley assemblies, and their center-to-center distance, alignment, and offset.


Things You'll Need:

  • Shop towels
  • Socket wrench for outer cover fasteners
  • Vernier caliper
  • Straightedge
  • Ruler (in. or mm)

Removing the Drive Belt

CAUTION: To avoid damage and ensure proper operation, make sure that the drive belt is the correct size. Correct drive belt fit is crucial to ATV operation.

NOTE: The smaller, drive pulley is on your left, and the larger, driven pulley is on the right.


  1. Stabilize the ATV per the manufacturer's recommendation.
  2. Put the transmission in neutral to aid manual movement of the drive belt pulleys.
  3. Remove debris and clean surfaces on and adjacent to the drive belt outer cover.
  4. Remove the fasteners on the outer cover of the drive belt with a socket wrench.
  5. Prepare to remove the drive belt:
    1. Before you remove the belt, read the manufacturer markings, and note the belt direction.
    2. If there is no arrow marking the belt direction, mark an arrow on the belt.
  6. Rotate the larger, driven pulley clockwise to loosen the drive belt, and pull the belt off of the pulleys.

NOTE: Loosening the drive belt is done in different ways, depending on the make and model of your ATV. A special tool may be required to rotate the driven pulley, or you may be able to press down on the inner sheave of the driven pulley and rotate it by hand. Consult your service manual for specific instructions.


  1. Measure the belt at its widest point with a Vernier caliper. If the belt width is less than the manufacturer's minimum specification, discard it.
  2. Inspect the drive belt, and discard a belt with one or more of these conditions:
    1. Excessive wear
    2. Uneven wear
    3. Frayed edges
    4. Sheared cogs
  3. Remove debris and clean all exposed surfaces of the drive belt enclosure.

Installing the Drive Belt

CAUTION: To avoid damage, always install the drive belt in the same direction as the original installation.


  1. Place the drive belt on the pulleys:
    1. Position the belt to move in the same direction as the initial installation.
    2. Position the belt so that the manufacturer's markings can be easily read.
  2. Move the pulleys back to their operational position.

CAUTION: To avoid damage, always measure the deflection of a new drive belt. Measure the deflection of a used drive belt if changes to the pulley assemblies or shims were made.


  1. Measure the drive belt deflection (slack):
    1. Place a finger on the top surface of the belt, and compress the drive belt to remove slack.
    2. Continue to compress the belt with your finger, and lay a straightedge across the top of the two pulleys.
    3. Measure the widest point of deflection from the top surface of the drive belt to the bottom of the straight edge (in. or mm).
  2. Compare the deflection measurement to the manufacturer's specification.
    1. If the deflection measurement did not meet the specification:
      1. Loosen the drive belt and add shims to the driven pulley.
      2. Repeat step 11 through step 13.
    2. If the deflection measurement meets the specification, go to step 14.
  1. Rotate the driven pulley to seat the drive belt in the sheave grooves.
  2. Install the outer cover of the drive belt.

- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides

shop gates and dayco atv drive belts

How To Replace and Install an ATV Drive Belt

When to Replace Your ATV Drive Belt

The drive belt transfers power from the engine and has a direct affect on your ATV's performance. Knowing when and how to change your drive belt will keep you from getting stranded, and can help prevent unnecessary wear or damage to other mechanical components. It's a good idea to carry a spare drive belt while you ride, just be sure to follow the manufacturer's storage instructions.


The brand of the drive belt, driving style, heavy hauling, and faulty installation can all influence belt longevity. Inspect the drive belt at regular intervals, and if you feel the belt slip while riding or something seems off with the clutch, it's definitely time to investigate.


If a visual inspection of the drive belt reveals uneven or excessive wear, frayed edges, or sheared cogs, remove the belt for a closer look. Drive belt pulley assembly damage, improper pulley installation and alignment, high engine idle, and loose engine mounts can all contribute to drive belt deterioration.


As always, be sure to check your service manual for specific maintenance information.


Associated Task:

While the drive belt cover is off, inspect and maintain the drive and driven pulley assemblies, and their center-to-center distance, alignment, and offset.


Things You'll Need:

  • Shop towels
  • Socket wrench for outer cover fasteners
  • Vernier caliper
  • Straightedge
  • Ruler (in. or mm)

Removing the Drive Belt

CAUTION: To avoid damage and ensure proper operation, make sure that the drive belt is the correct size. Correct drive belt fit is crucial to ATV operation.


NOTE: The smaller, drive pulley is on your left, and the larger, driven pulley is on the right.

  1. Stabilize the ATV per the manufacturer's recommendation.
  2. Put the transmission in neutral to aid manual movement of the drive belt pulleys.
  3. Remove debris and clean surfaces on and adjacent to the drive belt outer cover.
  4. Remove the fasteners on the outer cover of the drive belt with a socket wrench.
  5. Prepare to remove the drive belt:
    1. Before you remove the belt, read the manufacturer markings, and note the belt direction.
    2. If there is no arrow marking the belt direction, mark an arrow on the belt.
  6. Rotate the larger, driven pulley clockwise to loosen the drive belt, and pull the belt off of the pulleys.

NOTE: Loosening the drive belt is done in different ways, depending on the make and model of your ATV. A special tool may be required to rotate the driven pulley, or you may be able to press down on the inner sheave of the driven pulley and rotate it by hand. Consult your service manual for specific instructions.

  1. Measure the belt at its widest point with a Vernier caliper. If the belt width is less than the manufacturer's minimum specification, discard it.
  2. Inspect the drive belt, and discard a belt with one or more of these conditions:
    1. Excessive wear
    2. Uneven wear
    3. Frayed edges
    4. Sheared cogs
  3. Remove debris and clean all exposed surfaces of the drive belt enclosure.

Installing the Drive Belt

CAUTION: To avoid damage, always install the drive belt in the same direction as the original installation.


  1. Place the drive belt on the pulleys:
    1. Position the belt to move in the same direction as the initial installation.
    2. Position the belt so that the manufacturer's markings can be easily read.
  2. Move the pulleys back to their operational position.

CAUTION: To avoid damage, always measure the deflection of a new drive belt. Measure the deflection of a used drive belt if changes to the pulley assemblies or shims were made.


  1. Measure the drive belt deflection (slack):
    1. Place a finger on the top surface of the belt, and compress the drive belt to remove slack.
    2. Continue to compress the belt with your finger, and lay a straightedge across the top of the two pulleys.
    3. Measure the widest point of deflection from the top surface of the drive belt to the bottom of the straight edge (in. or mm).
  2. Compare the deflection measurement to the manufacturer's specification.
    1. If the deflection measurement did not meet the specification:
      1. Loosen the drive belt and add shims to the driven pulley.
      2. Repeat step 11 through step 13.
    2. If the deflection measurement meets the specification, go to step 14.
  1. Rotate the driven pulley to seat the drive belt in the sheave grooves.
  2. Install the outer cover of the drive belt.

- End of Procedure -


Return to all Repair & Install Guides

shop gates and dayco atv drive belts