Crankshaft Pulley Vs Harmonic Balancer: Which Is Better For Your Engine?

You should know that the crankshaft pulley is basically part of the harmonic balancer. However, among many drivers, there are still debates over crankshaft pulley vs harmonic balancer.

Are you one of those riders who wants the best out of the engine with these components? Then, look at the guide below to help you choose the exact part you may need in your car’s crankshaft.

We checked all the key points between these two, which include build type, performance, mechanism, longevity, cost, and many more. So, read the comparison and make the call.

Crankshaft Pulley Vs Harmonic Balancer Comparison Table

Crankshaft pulleys are often compared to balancers, but some key differences exist. Here, in this table, the overview of both options is provided. Let’s hop into it.

 Key Point Crankshaft PulleyHarmonic Balancer
Build materialOEM Steel or Billet AluminumMetal and rubber
WeightLightweightBit heavy
PurposeDistributing powerPreventing engine vibrations

Okay, it’s time for a deep dive now!

While both can be effective at keeping the engine running smoothly, the choice of the pulley will ultimately depend on your specific needs. Here are some key considerations:

Comparing Build Material

The first and foremost thing of this comparison is the build material.

Yes, the crankshaft pulleys are made from a wide variety of materials. The most common type of material is steel, but others, such as aluminum or brass, can also be used. Steel is often used because it is strong and durable. This type of pulley is designed to be mounted on the crank end. Furthermore, it has a central hub and outer ring with 2 pulley options.

The harmonic damper is constructed of high-quality metal and rubber. Here the rubber is installed between damper steel, and it has holes to connect other parts with bolts. And this is the prime concern that takes the catch.

Compared to pulley build material, the balancer build material is more composed and has a more defined design. Additionally, the damper build material is typically less expensive.

Working Mechanism- Different But Dependent

The crankshaft pulley uses the engine’s torque to spin the case with a serpentine belt. It operates by utilizing the capability of the engine to turn the shaft. This turns the generator, which in turn powers your car or other motor vehicles. The unit can be used in most engines, but it is most commonly used in gasoline and diesel engines.

On the other hand, the harmonic damper works by using its rubber parts to reduce the vibration. This system is beneficial because it keeps the machine running smoothly and efficiently.

Check what experts like Alan Lee Litvin is saying regarding this-

“The crankshaft pulley is attached to the harmonic balancer assembly by 3–4 bolts. It has one or several groves in it to provide a source to drive the fan belt or belts.”


A crankshaft pulley is used mainly to distribute power. The system starts from the shaft and transforms into specific parts such as power steering, air conditioning, and alternator. In addition, it makes sure the important engine unit runs smoothly and avoids inconsistency between different parts of the car. Most vehicles have it but understanding the various kinds and their functions is crucial.

Harmonic pulleys also known as harmonic balancers are used in many different vehicles to stabilize the engine by absorbing torsional vibrations. This device works by correcting the frequencies of vibrations that are generated in engines. Eventually, this system helps improve the look and feel of your car while reducing the amount of noise it makes.


The crankshaft pulley is an essential engine component that helps turn the crankshaft. It is important because it affects the speed and power of the engine. Plus, it helps to move the gears in an engine and provides power to the engine. Furthermore, this part greatly impacts a vehicle’s engine performance and reliability.

The harmonic balancer pulleys help reduce harsh vibrations and improve a car’s or truck’s performance. When installed and properly configured, it can help to eliminate or significantly reduce engine shaking. The damper is designed to help correct engine vibrations and eliminate noisy situations. Additionally, they can improve fuel efficiency by eliminating wasteful mechanical energy production within the engine. Thus, users enjoy easier start-ups and improved driving experience.

The same was explained by a user from Car Talk Community,

“The “crankshaft pulley” can be a separate part that bolts to the harmonic balancer or the pulley can be an integral part of the balancer… The term ‘Balancer” is used rather loosely…It’s main purpose is to absorb torsional vibration in the crankshaft”

Comparison in Terms of Longevity

The lifespan of an engine is often determined by how often it requires service. A crankshaft pulley noise uses the same gears as a conventional engine belt, so it can be replaced relatively easily. However, balancers are more reliable and typically last longer than other power transmission belts.

comparison in terms of longevity on crankshaft pulley vs harmonic balancer
Comparison in Terms of Longevity

Many crank pulleys have a life expectancy of 6 to 7 years, while the balancers can last up to 10 years.

How To Use A Crankshaft Pulley

A crankshaft pulley is a type of belt drive transmission system used in many different types of engines. Using this pulley is pretty simple. Firstly, place a puller (hook type) on the threaded holes. Then, on the pulley, bolt a plate and tighten the stud. Try to avoid impact wrenches.

How To Use A Harmonic Balancer Pulley

It’s quite easy to use a torsional damper. You’ll need to just attach the bolts to the crankshaft. Check the following tutorial video to do it properly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the crankshaft pulley the same as the harmonic balancer?

No. These two parts are quite different. For an externally balanced engine, the balancer is required. The engine’s noise and vibration are decreased as a result. On the contrary, the pulley is needed for an internally balanced engine.

Is harmonic balancer connected to crankshaft?

Yes, the component is attached to the crankshaft to keep it in balance. The central metal hub is connected to the case with bolts. This prevents it from racing out of balance and causing issues with the engine.

What is a crankshaft pulley?

It is an essential mechanical device. The device is attached to a car’s crankshaft and usually has a 1/2 belt. With a top-quality build (steel or aluminum), it lasts long enough. Distributing power is its main purpose. Thus, the engine runs more efficiently.

When should I replace the crankshaft pulley?

There are certain situations where a crankshaft pulley needs to be replaced. The faulty part or product itself is the most typical cause. Also, if the engine starts to vibrate more than usual and make noises. Other symptoms are power pump failure, dead alternator, idle engine irregularity, and many more.

What is another name for harmonic balancer?

This useful component has many different names. Some people call it simply crankshaft damper, while few others call it by harmonic damper name. It is also often known as a vibration damper or torsional damper, as its main purpose is to reduce engine vibration (torsional).

Final Verdict

Many drivers feel that a harmonic balancer is the best option for engines, while others might prefer to stay with the only crankshaft pulley.

A crankshaft pulley is a type of belt-driven machine pulley that keeps the speed of the belt at a constant level. And a balancer is used here to reduce vibration in the engine’s crankshaft. The two types of pulleys are different in purpose and usage, but they can be really a performance beast when used together. So it’s important to understand which one is right for your vehicle.

Today, many vehicle users are looking for ways to reduce the noise level of their engines. And you may already know the answer!

The best way is to use a harmonic balancer. This device helps to balance the speed of the crankshaft and avoid vibrations that can create noise. Only a crankshaft pulley is still a great option if it fits your vehicle’s needs.

Hopefully, now, you can make the decision that is best for your engine. Thanks for reading the article on crankshaft pulley vs harmonic balancer. We hope you found it helpful.

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D Conroy

Meet our senior writer and content manager of Automasterx. He has worked in several mechanical garages and mastered different vehicle diagnoses and parts repair. He never stops until finding out the ultimate solutions for any vehicle fault code. However, ensuring the only solid solutions for each vehicle malfunction is his core part of the duty, alongside analyzing fault codes and signals.

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