Suzuki recalls SX4, Grand Vitara for tensioner failures

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a recall of certain 2009-2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara SUVs and 2010-2011 SX4 compacts over serpentine belt tensioner failures that could cause a wide variety of problems.

This new Suzuki recall pertains specifically to 4-cylinder 2009-2011 Grand Vitara models built before October 17, 2010 and SX4 models built before October 14, 2010 with 32,291 vehicles in total impacted by the recall notice.

In these recalled Suzuki vehicles, the spring mechanism in the serpentine belt tensioner pulley may have been manufactured incorrectly and with repeating movement, this spring can break. When the spring fails, the tensioner stops providing tension which allows the serpentine belt to slip and/or come off altogether. This belt drives the alternator, water pump, air conditioning compressor and the power steering pump and when the belt comes off, these items stop working. This means that the electric charging system, the engine cooling system, and air conditioning and power steering will all cease to function.

Even if the belt does not come off completely in the vehicles included under this Suzuki recall, a loose belt can cause things like the alternator not to function properly which can cause a slow, gradual drain of the battery. When the belt fails completely, the SX4 and Grand Vitara will most noticeably lose power steering – making the vehicles much harder to drive. While the recalled vehicles may still run when the serpentine belt comes off, prolonged driving will either kill the battery (causing the vehicle to stall and not restart) and in a worst case, the lack of the water pump drive could cause the engine to overheat very rapidly.

This Suzuki recall is expected to begin tomorrow and owners of the 32,291 vehicles affected by this recall will be asked to return to their local Suzuki dealership where a new tensioner will be installed, free of charge to the customer.

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