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Sonny's-Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Checking the Belts on High Pressure Pumps

CarWash College™ Preventive Maintenance Tip of the Month

September 25, 2007
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At CarWash College™ we teach preventive maintenance. This month we are going to talk about belts on high pressure pump stations. High pressure pump stations can run many pieces of equipment in the tunnel, ranging from wheel blasters to high pressure arches.

Belts are a critical part of an effective operation of a unit and need to be checked on a monthly basis. Let me start by saying that it is extremely important that the belt guards remain installed until it is time to check the belts. One indication of a faulty belt may be a squealing noise; however, not all worn belts will squeal. Friction caused by a loose belt slipping in the pulley gives the belt edges a hazed or glossy appearance. If the belts are slipping it will also accelerate belt cracking. Improper tension allows a belt to slip, causing the side walls to wear smooth, and the belt will eventually harden and become hazed. The more hazed the belt surface becomes, the more likely it is to become noisy and slip, resulting in a loss of ability to transfer power to the pump, which, in turn, results in a pressure drop. Belt tension will also decrease over time. Having too much tension can also result in accelerated wear, increased operating temperatures, and premature failure. The belt should be able to be turned a quarter-turn when tight. Just a few degrees of misalignment on the pulleys can increase belt operating temperatures by 30 degrees, reducing belt life by as much as 50%.

The belts on the high pressure pump are important. If you were to lose the belts on the pump for your wheel blaster, you would be forced to suspend service or prep the wheels by hand. If you had to suspend the service, the loss of revenue from not being able to sell your top packages could really add up. The loss of just 30 top packages a day at $10.00 per package would cost you $300.00 in lost revenue. On the other hand, if you had the capability to manually prep the wheels, it would result in increased labor and slower speeds, reducing the volume of the car wash. As you can see, it is important to keep spare belts on hand and check the belts on a monthly basis.

Robert Andre is the Manager of On-campus Training for CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.