A crankshaft pulley helps drive the timing belt. A crankshaft pulley or crank pulley itself is driven by the engine of a car and in extension by the camshaft. Via the timing belt the camshaft provides energy for other car parts including the alternator, the PAS pump or the ac compressor if the vehicle is equipped with an air con system.
Crankshaft pulleys are made of light weight yet strong material. In addition it is dented so that the timing belt cannot slide off. A crankshaft pulley also has a ring made of rubber which works as a sort of damper for the movement of the engine.
A crankshaft pulley needs to be replaced when it no longer turns properly. This can lead to alternator failure as the latter is not driven by another force anymore. Before it comes to that though, you will often notice squeaking or a cracking noise when you start your engine. The noises increase when you turn your steering wheel or switch on the air con. When you start driving however, it is well possible they disappear.
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