Tool Review: PBT Stretch Fit Belt Kit

The PBT USA Stretch Fit Belt Kit, No. 70990, provides coverage for all vehicles equipped with stretch fit belts. This kit contains two tools: an installation tool for all vehicles equipped with stretch fit belts and does not require adjustment to use; and a removal tool that allows techs to easily remove and reuse a stretch fit belt that doesn’t require replacement.

The review

Alex Portillo, the shop foreman at Car Clinic, an auto repair facility in Mahopac, NY, has had a stretch belt tool for quite some time now.

Stretch belts are a drive belt commonly found on newer Subarus and Mazdas that need special tools to be serviced. With common A/C compressor failures on Subarus, Portillo found that having the tool for an application like that was more than justification for having the tool.

“Stretch belts are on 2008-and-up Subaru Imprezas and Legacys, and Mazda 3s with 2.3Ls,” Portillo said. “There is no way, that I am aware of, to remove a stretch belt on Subarus without the tool.

“On Mazdas, you really don’t need the tool if you don’t mind working too hard. You can remove the A/C compressor and manipulate its position without removing the lines in order to get the belt on and snug. You might need a second guy when doing this, so the stretch belt tool works a lot better.”

Portillo did have a suggestion on how to improve the tool. “I’d like to see the tool come with the special tool Subaru’s need,” he said. “On some models, like Subarus, the belt company will send additional tools you need that bolt into the bracket in order to hold the stretch belt remover in place while removing the belt.

"When you work on these Subarus, the stretch belt that spins the compressor is behind the alternator belt, so the tool will remove the alternator’s belt, but you'll need another special tool to remove the compressor’s belt.”

Overall, Portillo’s verdict? “Nine out of 10,” he said. “This is a tool that serves me well and I’d recommend it to anybody.”

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