Crankshaft pulley wobble – Symptoms

What causes a crankshaft pulley to wobble?

A crankshaft pulley will start to wobble due to wear and tear.

After a certain amount of time driving around, this part of your car will start to give out. Then again, a car crash can also put your crankshaft pulley out of commission in an instant.

Before you go out and buy a new pulley, take a second to see if it’s wobbling because it’s broken or due to something else.

For example, your rubber belt could be off. You can adjust it or replace it if it’s causing your crankshaft pulley to wobble. A little adjustment can save you a lot of money!

Your crankshaft pulley could also be wobbling because its bolts are not secure enough. Similar to the rubber belt, adjusting the bolts could mean a world of difference.

Now, if everything is okay, but the crankshaft pulley keeps wobbling, you may have a bigger problem. Your crankshaft pulley may have broken.

Can I drive with a bad crankshaft pulley?

Absolutely not! You shouldn’t drive with a bad crankshaft pulley. Doing so is a recipe for engine disaster – and it could cost you a lot of money to take a chance. Once the crankshaft pulley fails, other elements will stop working, and thus causing plenty of trouble inside your car.

You probably drove a lot if you got to the point of having a bad crankshaft pulley. Not to worry, though. It doesn’t cost that much to replace it, and you can do it yourself if you want to.

How to replace a crankshaft pulley

  1. Turn off the engine
  2. Disconnect the battery
  3. Remove the drive belt
  4. Take out the old pulley
  5. Put the new pulley in its place

Yes, it’s that simple! Of course, you should try it if you know your way around cars. Otherwise, ask a mechanic to help you out.

Don’t risk having a new crankshaft pulley go wobbly on you because you wanted to save a little money – because it’ll cost you more long term!

How do I know if my crankshaft pulley is broken?

Since your crankshaft pulley is crucial for your car, you will quickly notice when it goes bad. Crystal clear signs like transmission damage, power steering failures, and crackling sounds in the engine are warning you there’s a problem with your crankshaft pulley.

Let’s not forget wobbliness. A wobbly crankshaft pulley is a clear-cut sign that you need a replacement as well.

I would advise you to pay attention to the other warning signs.

As you know, the crankshaft pulley is crucial for your engine well-being – and if something is off down there, your crankshaft pulley may have something to do.

Once you confirm your crankshaft pulley has gone bad, I suggest parking the car until you fix the issue.

What causes a wobbly harmonic balancer?

A harmonic balancer is constantly under pressure. It often faces heat, torque, weight, and tension on top of it – and any of these elements eventually wears the balancer down, causing it to break. You shouldn’t drive with a broken harmonic balancer because it can cause engine damage.

I could write down a list of every single thing damaging your harmonic balancer – but it wouldn’t make a difference. This little item gets damaged because it’s supporting a huge moving structure as you drive it around town.

Simply put, your harmonic balancer will get wobbly when it received enough damage. Then, it’s time to replace it. There’s rubber inside of it that will disintegrate over time, and that’s making it wobbly.

Don’t worry, though. Sure, driving around is damaging your harmonic balancer – but it’ll take a long time before it wobbles and you have to replace it.

How often should you replace a harmonic balancer?

The great thing about a harmonic balancer is how long it lasts. You can use one for 50,000 miles, which translates to 10 years’ worth of use for most drivers. After that many miles, your harmonic balancer will be beaten up and in dire need of a replacement.

Now, how can you know when you need to replace a harmonic balancer? It’s all about the sound it makes. If you go out for a drive and hear a crackling noise (and you can’t pinpoint where it’s coming from), you should check your harmonic balancer.

As usual, I like to remind you that when I talk about miles or time before something breaks, I’m giving an estimate.

You may be among the lucky few who can use a harmonic balancer for more than 10 years – or yours may give up after 5 years. It’s better to listen to the warning signs than to strictly follow a timeline that’s made out of averages.

Once the harmonic balancer breaks, it’ll cost you somewhere around $400 to get a replacement. It’s a little bit expensive, but a once-in-a-decade investment.

Is a crankshaft pulley the same as a harmonic balancer?

Well, it’s not that simple. In older car models, you could use the terms crankshaft pulley and harmonic balancer for the same thing. Nowadays, they are considered to be two different parts integrating one thing – but people still use both names interchangeably.

I know, it’s confusing.

I’ll try to explain it as best as I can. Once you read what I have to say, try to take a look at your car, and you’ll quickly notice the difference – and see how these two things are integrated into one.

The harmonic balancer is the part that slides into the crankshaft pulley.

People often confuse one another because they are connected and look like one moving part – but they are two different parts.

Why is this distinction important? Well, as you have read in this article, different parts can have different problems.

Unless you can tell them apart, you will be blindly guessing what the problem with your car is.

And believe me, you don’t want to go out with issues in your crankshaft pulley or harmonic balancer. Lucky for you, now you know all about it!

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