The crankshaft harmonic balancer is also known as the crank pulley damper. It is connected to the crankshaft on the engine and reduces vibrations that originate from your engine. In addition, it serves as a pulley for the drive belts. Without the crankshaft harmonic balancer, your vehicle would not run smoothly and it would have constant problems, including not starting. There are two elements of the crankshaft harmonic balancer. They include an energy and a mass dissipating element. Together, these work to balance out and get rid of the vibrations from the engine.

Each time the cylinders in the engine fire, torque is applied to the crankshaft. At certain speeds, the torque is in sync with the cylinders, which creates resonance. This resonance causes too much stress for the crankshaft. If this stress continues, the crankshaft will break and your vehicle will be inoperable. To balance the vibrations and resonance, the mass element resists the acceleration of the vibrations and the energy element absorbs them.

Over time, the crankshaft harmonic balancer can go bad from constant exposure to chemicals, the elements, or from old age. If this happens, the crankshaft may develop cracks and ultimately fail. As soon as you notice any of the symptoms that your crankshaft harmonic balancer is going bad, it is important to have a professional mechanic replace the damaged crankshaft harmonic balancer right away. Ignoring this problem will only make it worse and cause extensive repairs.

Since this part can wear over time, it is important that you recognize the symptoms so you can have your crankshaft harmonic balancer replaced before problems escalate.

Signs that your crankshaft harmonic balancer needs to be replaced include:

  • The engine is loud and you feel vibrations coming from your engine
  • The pulley belt may slip causing your vehicle to backfire or misfire
  • The vehicle’s ignition timing will be off
  • The vehicle will not start at all

It is important to have your balancer replaced as soon as you notice a problem, otherwise other parts of your car can become damaged and your vehicle will be inoperable.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Crankshaft Harmonic Balancer Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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