Preventing Costly Breakdowns: Tips to Increase Efficiency and Extend V-Belt Life

It's vital to select the ideal V-belt for your specific application.

Emerson Bearing Company Of Boston V Belts
Emerson Bearing

BOSTON — Emerson Bearing, a Boston-based bearing company catering to niche markets nationwide — and the sister company of Action Bearing, which serves the New England market — offers tips to extend the life and increase systems efficiency of V-belts. 

The V-belt is an important component of many industrial and manufacturing systems. In an effort to help reduce the need for frequent maintenance and to prevent costly and unexpected breakdowns, Emerson Bearing recommends implementing the following best practices to extend your V-belt lifetime and boost overall V-belt quality:

  • Use the correct installation procedures. While you may initially consider saving time by rolling the V-belt onto the drive to install it, this comes with certain risks if installers neglect first to loosen the motor. This installation method presents a safety hazard, potentially damaging sheaves and belts, and putting heavy loads on the belt and the system's shafts and support bearings.
  • Choose the right-sized belt. There have been certain technological advancements in V-belts regarding their materials, tensile cord advancements, construction methods, and cross-section profiles. They're available in a range of profiles, sizes, and widths. To optimize their performance and prevent V-belt damage, you'll need to select the ideal V-belt for your specific application. If your belt is loose-fitting, this will lead to decreased efficiency and life, making it important to ensure the V-belt is the right fit.
  • Regularly check sheaves for wear. V-belt users often replace these components while neglecting to check for signs of wear on the sheaves. These signs may include polished, ridged groove sidewalls or groove sidewall cupping. If the sheaves display signs of wear, it's best to replace them, seeing as worn sheaves can take off as much as 50 percent of the V-belt's lifetime.
  • Tension the belt properly. The best method for tensioning belts and maximizing their longevity is to use a belt tension tool. Relying solely on touch to gauge tension could make it more challenging. Too much tension will increase the risk of the band breaking while greatly reducing bearing life. Conversely, too little tension will cause the belts to slip over time due to high temperature and noise levels.

"We are dedicated to helping customers not only find the right V-belt solution for their application, but to provide tools and information necessary to help enhance performance and extend service life,” said Steve Katz, president of Emerson Bearing. “’s online library contains comprehensive information regarding the selection, application and maintenance of bearings and related parts."

For additional best practice information, visit Emerson Bearing’s comprehensive “Resource Library” at

Emerson Bearing serves 16 major markets and their team of experts can assist with bearings and related products for specific industrial and manufacturing applications. To speak with a marketing specialist, contact 800-225-4587 or visit

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