You can't argue with the importance of having a working crankshaft pulley in your ride. See, this component pretty much takes care of almost every major operation in your engine. Aside from serving as a harmonic balancer, this component plays a role in powering your car's various components such as the alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioning compressor. And it's able to accomplish this by turning the drive belts that power these parts. By being able to turn the drive belts, you won't have to worry about losing power, dealing with a malfunctioning air conditioning system, or running low on alternator voltage. Given the things it does for your vehicle, it's crucial for the crankshaft pulley to have a long lifespan. To ensure that it can do just that, each one is crafted from heavy-duty materials to keep them from falling prey to wear and tear. The device is also manufactured to match today's OEM specifications making it a perfect replacement for factory-installed pulleys. The component also comes in a direct-fit design making installation quick and easy to do. Because of the role it plays, having a working crankshaft pulley installed is a must. With its help, your engine and its part will be able to function properly enabling your ride to dish out superior performance all throughout.
Crankshaft Pulley Buyer’s Guide
- The crankshaft pulley is the device that drives multiple components on the crankshaft with the help of drive belts.
- Power distribution is the main function of the crankshaft pulley, but it is also used to dampen engine vibrations.
- The crankshaft pulley is designed to last the life of the engine. However, the vibrations and heat coming from the engine can shorten its lifespan to 50,000 miles or less than a decade.
- When the crankshaft pulley fails, it can exhibit several symptoms including excessive engine vibrations, alternator and power steering pump failure, damaged transmission components, and more.
- An aftermarket crankshaft pulley can cost anywhere between $30 and $550.
Through the combustion process, the engine can produce the power needed to move the mechanical components in your vehicle. Not all of these mechanical components, however, are used to make the wheels rotate or shift the gears. A few of them have a very specific function of ensuring that the electrical components in your vehicle are receiving the electrical power they need. In the center of this power distribution is the crankshaft pulley.
What is a crankshaft pulley?
Also known as a harmonic balance wheel or crankshaft sheave, the crankshaft pulley is a device that is attached to the engine’s crankshaft. It is also connected to the other components on the crankshaft through the drive belts.
What does a crankshaft pulley do?
The crankshaft pulley’s main responsibility is to ensure that power is distributed to several engine components so they can operate in sync and allow the vehicle to run without a hitch. As the crankshaft rotates to move the wheels, the crankshaft pulley attached to it also turns to move the drive belts. This will produce the mechanical power and torque needed to power up various components such as the power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, and alternator.
Aside from vehicle power distribution, the crankshaft pulley is also responsible for dampening the vibrations on the crankshaft. Doing this ensures the prolonged lifespan of several crucial engine components.
How long does a crankshaft pulley last?
Most of the time, the crankshaft pulley can last the life of the engine. But in some cases, it will fail after 50,000 miles or less than 10 years. The main cause of its failure is the deterioration of the rubber isolation ring. Since the crankshaft pulley constantly rotates, the heat from its movement as well as the high temperatures coming from the engine can wear out the rubber component. If there’s an engine oil leak or coolant leak, the leaking lubricant can also contaminate the crankshaft pulley and speed up its deterioration.
Symptoms of a failing crankshaft pulley
A mechanical part like the crankshaft pulley is always susceptible to failure since it is regularly exposed to extreme heat. And when it fails, it can lead to more serious engine problems—which can be totally avoided by replacing the device when it is worn out. If you are not sure when to replace your crankshaft pulley, you should look for the following symptoms before making a decision.
One of the responsibilities of the crankshaft pulley is to dampen engine vibrations. So once it fails, the device won’t be able to prevent the crankshaft as well as the engine from vibrating excessively. This is a problem that you need to fix right away because the engine will shake more violently at high speeds, which can put you at risk when you are driving on the highway.
The alternator is powered by the crankshaft pulley. When it fails, the alternator won’t be able to provide the electrical energy needed by several electrical components including your headlights, tail lights, air conditioning system, and even the ignition system. So don’t expect your engine to operate smoothly once the crankshaft pulley fails.
Power steering pump failure
Same with the alternator, the power steering pump is driven by the crankshaft pulley through a drive belt. If the crankshaft pulley is faulty, the power steering pump won’t be able to pump hydraulic pressure in your steering wheel—preventing you from enjoying your vehicle’s power steering.
Damaged transmission components
Too much engine vibration can cause damage to your transmission components. Parts like the bearings, gears, and input shafts may stop working properly if they get badly damaged due to the vibrations. When this happens, it could lead to other bigger problems like transmission fluid leak and difficulty in shifting gears.
Erratic idle engine speed
If the engine is at idle, you may observe that the engine speed is inconsistent. This happens because the faulty crankshaft pulley is not doing its job in dampening the excessive shaking of the engine, which is more noticeable when it’s idle.
A crankshaft pulley that is not functioning properly can produce squealing noises as it rotates along with the crankshaft.
Worn-out surface seal
Too much heat can make the seal brittle or worn out. Once this happens, the engine crankcase pressure can force the oil to seep through the loose seal, creating oil leaks in the engine.
Can you do the crankshaft pulley removal on your own?
Replacing your bad crankshaft pulley is doable if you have plenty of DIY auto repair experience.You must have the correct equipment and tools like a car jack, bolt remover, wrenches, and a crankshaft pulley tool to pull it off in your own garage. However, if you haven’t done auto repair of this difficulty level before, it’s highly recommended that you take your car to an auto mechanic and let a professional install a new crankshaft pulley for you.
How much does it cost to replace a crankshaft pulley?
The price of an aftermarket crankshaft pulley falls anywhere between $30 and $550. It can be purchased per piece or as part of a kit. You can also choose a crankshaft pulley that is either made by heavy-duty steel or aluminum. Additionally, to ensure that it can withstand the deterioration that comes from exposure to harmful contaminants, you can purchase a crankshaft pulley with chrome, black, or machined finish. Most aftermarket crankshaft pulleys are offered with a product warranty to guarantee consumer protection.
Finding the right fit
CarParts.com is the ideal place to shop for your auto parts needs. Our website’s vehicle selector can help you find the exact component that you are looking for with just a few clicks. All you have to do is to provide the year, make, and model of your vehicle and we’ll make sure that your search results will be limited to parts and accessories that are compatible with your ride. You can even filter it further by price range, color or finish, quantity sold, brand, material, location, and more.
Finding the Right Crankshaft Pulley for Your Car
If your car's accessories aren't working and you start hearing some knocking noise in your car's engine bay, one of the components that you'll need to check, and probably replace, would be the crankshaft pulley. Also known as a harmonic balance wheel or crankshaft sheave, it is a grooved, wheel shaped part that is connected directly to your car's crankshaft and connects all of your other accessories via serpentine belts. It also doubles as an internal dampener that decreases the vibrations caused by your car's engine, which could be harmful to certain parts inside your car.
Easy to replace, but hard to reach
Changing your car's crankshaft pulley can be a difficult task, depending on your vehicle's make and model. Some vehicles will have enough space in their engine bays that will allow you to easily take out this pulley. But for most vehicles, you might need to remove the engine itself, and this can be difficult, especially for people who do not have the time and equipment to take out a heavy engine. We strongly advise you to check your car's engine bay and see if you could take out the crankshaft pulley yourself. If you have enough working space in the engine bay, then you should definitely order a replacement and swap out the crankshaft pulley on your own. If you are unlucky enough to have a tightly spaced engine bay, then you'll either have to go to a mechanic to help you out or spend an entire day removing the engine and crankshaft pulley yourself. Don't worry, crankshaft pulleys are common car parts and shouldn't cost much, so you'll still have a little bit of cash at hand, in case you'll need to hire a mechanic to install it for you.
Save money and buy an OEM replacement
You won't go wrong when getting a compatible OEM crankshaft pulley for your vehicle, it'll be designed according to your car's exact specifications, allowing you to install them easily. The crankshaft pulley is a very basic car part with a simple design, so you won't have to worry about getting something with added features and such. Prices for most OEM crankshaft pulley replacements should hover around $100 - $250, and it should only go higher if you're getting a high-performance replacement that's designed for racing applications. If you are driving an older vehicle, we highly recommend that you also purchase replacement crankshaft pulley bolts, seals, and washers, as these could have worn out along with the pulley itself over time.
Replacing Your Car's Crankshaft Pulley the Easy Way
A broken crankshaft pulley will certainly give your ride problems since it's responsible for two things. First, it drives the serpentine belt that powers up various devices under your car's hood. It also doubles as a harmonic balancer absorbing the resonance from the crankshaft whenever the engine is running. Replacing your crankshaft pulley can be a little bit tricky, but with a little bit of patience, you should be able to pull it out and replace it with an aftermarket part in about an hour or so.
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you'll need
- Lug wrench
- Crankshaft pulley remover tool
- Power drill
Note: Our guide is a universal procedure for removing the crankshaft pulley, but since every engine is different, you might have to access your pulley differently depending on the layout of your vehicle's engine.
Step 1: Pop your car's hood open and locate the crankshaft pulley. For most vehicle's, it should be near the driver's side of the engine bay, although it could also be facing the passenger side of the car in some engine models. It's a big device where your serpentine belt is attached on so it's not hard to miss.
Step 2: Using a pair of locking pliers, hold the top metal arm of the pulley so that the roller lifts up and releases the drive belt. Keep it in place using the locking pliers and pull out the belt carefully from the crankshaft pulley.
Step 3: The bolt in the center of the pulley is pretty tight, and is usually place in an awkward position where you won't be able to loosen it easily. You'll need a crankshaft pulley remover tool and a power drill to remove it properly.
Step 4: Connect your crankshaft pulley remover tool to your power drill and tighten it securely into place.
Step 5: Next, you should place the teeth of the crankshaft pulley remover tool onto the bolt in the center of the pulley. With your power drill set in reverse, slowly squeeze on the drill's trigger until you get the bolt off from the pulley.
Step 6: You should be able to pull out your crankshaft pulley and fit in a replacement with ease. Remember to tighten the bolt using your crankshaft pulley remover tool and make sure that the pulley is locked in place.
Step 7: Install your serpentine belt back into place, remove your locking pliers, and start your engine. Everything should run smoothly and you are done!