What Causes V-Belt Pulleys to Wear?

We know that belts love to slip on worn pulleys, but what causes pulleys to wear in the first place?

For most pulley drive systems, belt slippage is the culprit.  You can check out our post on causes of belt slippage here.

To clarify, pulleys wear when belts are allowed to slide through rather than gripping the belt grooves.  Any condition that allows the soft belt rubber to slip rather than grip will cause the belt surface to act as an abrasive, slowly abrading away the much harder metal pulley grooves.

When pulleys operate in dusty, dirty conditions, the dust and dirt will act like sand on a hard floor, causing slippage and accelerating abrasion.  To make matters worse, a lot of dust around agricultural and mining machines contains hard, abrasive particles such as silica.

Eliminate belt slippage, and you’ve eliminated the primary cause of pulley wear.  Check out our post on reducing belt slippage here.

In addition to reducing belt slippage, you can also consider replacing the pulley using a harder base metal or heat treating the pulley to increase its hardness, or we can apply an extremely hard skin of Vulcan Grip®, our company’s patented, nano-crystalline pulley coating.

Jon Osborne

Jon Osborne is the founder and President of Extreme Industrial Coatings, LLC. This former US Air Force officer is a machinist, welder, chemist, metallographic technician, thermal spray journeyman, and named co-inventor on a thermal spray-related patent.

EIC has specialized in the repair and manufacture of severe-duty machine components since 2003. We have performed work for clients throughout North America, as well as in South America, the Middle East, and the Asian Pacific region.


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