Delavan, Wisconsin
2121 Adelia Ave
Delavan, WI 53115

Importance of Proper V-Belt Tensioning January 22, 2018

Delavan, Walworth
Importance of Proper V-Belt Tensioning, Delavan, Wisconsin

V-belts are designed to balance their load between the belt and multiple pulleys. This system yields traction, speed, load-bearing capability, and longevity superior to older belt designs, but depends entirely upon the belt’s grip upon the pulleys. There are natural issues with the v-belt system, however, that require your active maintenance of its tension:

Tension & Performance Loss

Manufacturer-installedV-belt v-belts lose tension at a surprising rate. High-quality belts can lose nearly 40 percent of their tension after 24 hours of belt life and up to 50 percent over time, while low-quality belts can lose 40 percent of their tension after one hour and up to 70 percent over time.

Low belt tension results in slipping around the pulleys. At around 45 percent tension loss, the belt begins to slip. As little as a 5 percent slip can cause a 50-degree increase in belt temperature—a 40 percent increase from the belt’s ideal temperature. This greatly reduces belt longevity.

Undetectable Tension Loss

Two hundred experienced maintenance personnel were tasked to feel out and re-tension a v-belt by hand. Only 1 percent managed to do so correctly, most falling into a 50 to 93 percent margin of error. It’s nearly impossible to maintain v-belt tension without proper calculation. You must compare the pulley diameter range and belt type with the manufacturer’s specified belt deflection setting. V-belt tension should be checked repeatedly—after a belt has been in use for over 24 hours, refer to it as a “used belt,” allowing for up to 25% higher tension than specified. Note that higher-than-specified tension barely affects bearing temperature.

Even with frequent maintenance, keeping a slippery v-belt constantly tensioned is often difficult. Higher-quality v-belts lose tension at a lower rate and maintain overall higher lifespans than lower-market options.


Industrial Component Sales, Inc. sells industry-leading BESTORQ v-belts, complete with tensioning guides, regionally-administrated customer service for optimal response times, and a depth of product knowledge unrivaled in Northern Minnesota. Call Industrial Component Sales at (651) 270-0151 or visit their website for the top v-belts in the industry.

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