Thursday, April 24, 2008
Car's idler pulley bearings -- Stupid wife, ignorant husband, have argument about theirs
Dear Dr. Jim
My wife and I have been arguing about this, I hope you can tell us who is correct.
Our car was making screeching noises from under the hood. The repair shop diagnosed the problem as being with the idler pulley bearings.
The car was repaired to the tune of $568.40 so obviously those people did find the problem and correct it. Whether it was the idler pulley bearings or not, we have know way of knowing. They did fix our car, that is for sure.
Our argument is about the idler pulley bearings. Miss Know-it-all Mechanic-not says Simple, those are for when the car is resting, being idle. If it doesn't have good bearings then the car has no idea of where it is or where it is supposed to go after the rest is over. Period.
That is plain stupid, cars never know where they are, they just go where people tell them. I understand automobile mechanisms pretty well and know the idler pulley is to keep the engine running or pulled along when it is idling. Bearings keep the car straight as how to run when it gets busy again.
Thank you, Dr. Jim, for settling our argument.
Dave, the car hunk and affectionado of Burbank
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If it helps, you are no closer than your wife to a correct definition. So please don't brag about this to your friends or your reputation as a car affectionado will tumble a little.
The idler pulley has nothing to do with the car at idle, it keeps a belt tight enough to not slip while turning the other pulleys. Those are located at the front of your engine and go around and around when the car engine is running.
If the idler pulley bearings get hot, they may freeze up making the pulley stop rolling with the belt. In turn, the belt wears quickly while rubbing against the stopped idler pulley and soon will begin fraying and break in a short time.
The stopped pulley can also stop the belt, causing wearing and breaking to occur very rapidly. The belt driven water pump pulley stoppage causes overheating that will ruin your engine. Head for your repair facility before it stops ASAP to prevent engine and other damage!
Why is it called an idler pulley? Because it doesn't have a load to pull. It just goes round and round, happily and idly along, not pulling a load and doing no work at all.
One word of self-protection here: ASK FOR THE REPLACED PARTS. Garages are required by law to give you--you must request this in the repair request--whatever they replace (it is yours) instead of throwing old parts away. This way you can see for yourself what went wrong.
After you look, be sure to turn them back in for a refund if you were charged a 'core charge.' This means the part can be rebuilt, often you were getting a rebuilt item in the repair. Rebuilding is especially common for water pumps and alternators.
I hope this has helped. Remember now you two, no name calling (I'll do that). Modern automobiles are complicated machinery and even the mechanics have to go back to school when new innovations are introduced.
So, keep on keep'n on, and till then,
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