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Emerson Bearing Shares Tips for Better V-Belt Reliability

Nov. 13, 2022 - Emerson Bearing, Boston, Massachusetts, offers tips to extend the life and increase efficiency of V-belts.

To help V-belt users reduce the need for frequent maintenance and to prevent unexpected breakdowns, Emerson Bearing recommends these best practices:

Install belts correctly. While you may initially consider saving time by rolling the V-belt onto the drive, doing so carries risks if installers don’t first loosen the motor. This installation method presents a safety hazard. It can damage sheaves and belts, and put heavy loads on the belt and the system's shafts and support bearings.

Choose the right-sized belt. Advancements in V-belt materials, tensile cords, construction methods, and cross-section profiles now offer 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 application. A loose-fitting belt will decrease efficiency and life. That’s why it’s important to ensure the V-belt is the right fit.

Check sheaves for wear regularly. Users often replace V-belts but neglect to check for signs of wear on the sheaves. The signs may include polished, ridged groove sidewalls or groove sidewall cupping. If the sheaves display signs of wear, it's best to replace them. Worn sheaves can reduce V-belt lift by up to 50%.

Tension the belt properly. The best method for tensioning belts and maximizing their longevity is to use a belt-tensioning tool. Relying solely on touch to gauge tension is less accurate. Too much tension will increase the risk of the band breaking and also greatly reduce bearing life. 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


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