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In order to operate properly, your engine requires a number of belts. Most of the belts operate important accessories – your alternator, for instance, or your water pump. Your engine (most likely) has a serpentine belt, as well as a timing belt and possibly others depending on the make and model of your vehicle. It also has a balance shaft belt. The balance shaft helps to balance the engine during operation by eliminating unwanted vibration. If left unaddressed, that vibration would cause serious damage to the engine and other components (including the transmission) over time.
Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, you may actually have two balance shafts. One is belt driven, and the other is gear driven from the oil pump. If the belt fails on one, it creates excess vibration in the engine, which can cause the bearings to fail in the other balance shaft, effectively damaging the oil pump and potentially leading to catastrophic engine failure.
While you may be able to drive the vehicle without the balance shaft belt, we do not recommend it. It creates a lot of unwanted vibration and noise. Over time, this vibration can damage the clutch, cause the crankshaft to fail, and affect the overall engine lifespan. If you believe your balance shaft belt is damaged, have one of our expert mechanics inspect and replace it if necessary. The best time to do this is during your timing belt replacement so you can catch it before it breaks.
Your engine will run without a balance shaft belt in place, but it is not recommended. Without an operational balance shaft, your engine’s harmonics can become destructive, leading to serious damage to many different components. Have the vehicle inspected by one of our expert mechanics and the balance shaft belt replaced immediately.