Has your vacuum brushroll stopped turning? Here’s how to fix a vacuum brush that’s not spinning and restore your vac’s performance.
It’s usually obvious when a vacuum’s brush isn’t turning, as the machine will struggle to pick up dirt and other debris.
The vacuum may also start to spit debris back out rather than suck it up, which is definitely not a positive sign!
The good news is that there’s often a simple solution. Here are some of the most common causes of a non-rotating brush bar and how to fix them.
Important: Always switch off and unplug your vac before performing maintenance on the brush bar. If the vacuum is plugged in, there’s a chance the brush could start spinning when you fix the issue. This could cause serious injury to your hand, and even risk an electric shock.
1. Check for Tangles and Blockages
Physical blockages are one of the most common reasons for a brush to stop spinning. Fortunately, a blockage is also one of the easiest problems to fix.
After switching off the vacuum, turn over the floorhead and look for obstructions. If possible, remove the brush bar from the floorhead to make this easier.
Here are a few things to check for:
- Cut away any hair, string, or rug fibres that have caught around the brush
- Remove any larger objects that might stop the brush from turning
- Check for any blockages at the inlet
- Clean away any grime or sticky substances from the brush
Once you’ve cleared any potential blockages, replace the brush roll and try to rotate it manually. You should be able to turn the brush while feeling some resistance. If there’s no resistance, move onto the next step.
2. Replace the Vacuum’s Drive Belt
If there’s nothing physically stopping the brush from turning, then a broken drive belt is the most likely culprit.
What exactly is a drive belt though? And how does it relate to a stuck brush?
A vacuum’s belt drives the brush to turn at a high speed. Over time, it’s common for a belt to become stretched or broken, especially as vacuum belts are often made from rubber.
When this happens, the brush roll will stop turning correctly. This can happen instantly if the belt is broken, or get worse over time if the belt has been overstretched.
The bad news is that the only way to fix this issue is to replace the drive belt. Fortunately, replacing a vacuum belt is a relatively straightforward process that can (usually) be performed at home.
We’ve already written a complete guide to replacing a vacuum cleaner belt. We recommend reading that article thoroughly before attempting this type of repair, but here’s a brief summary:
- Start by noting your vacuum’s make and model, then use this information to find the right replacement belt. Every vacuum needs a belt of the right tension and size – you can’t just use any belt.
- Unplug and switch off the vacuum. Then remove the base plate for full access to the brush.
- Remove the brush bar and broken belt. Make sure to take note of how the belt attaches to the brush roll before removing it (take pictures so you don’t forget!)
- Install the new belt by threading it through the brush roll and reinstalling the brush back to its original location.
- Replace the base plate.
Interesting Fact: A vacuum’s drive belt can spin 100,000 per minute – or more! Considering these high speeds, it’s not surprising that belts are often broken or stretched.
3. Check for a Broken Brush
It’s possible that the brush roll itself is damaged, which can stop it from turning correctly. This is much less common than a broken belt, but is something to check for if you’re sure that the belt is working correctly.
Again, switch off and unplug the vacuum, before turning it over so you can see the brush. Take a look for any signs of cracks or other damage to the brush. You can also spin it manually to inspect the brush from different angles.
If the brush is damaged, then you’ll need to replace it. This is a simple task on most vacuums, although you’ll need to find the correct brush for your make and model.
4. Replace a Faulty Brush Roll Motor
Once you’ve ruled out a physical obstruction, tangle, or a broken drive belt, the next most likely problem is a faulty brush roll motor.
This is a more difficult and costly repair, as the motor will need to be replaced by a professional.
If you suspect that the brush roll motor is broken, then we recommend either contacting the brand’s customer service department or taking the vac to a local repair shop.
A vacuum’s brush bar agitates carpet fibres to remove more dirt and dust. If the bar isn’t spinning correctly, you’ll probably notice a significant decrease in cleaning performance.
In most cases, it’s easy to see what’s causing a vacuum brush to stop turning. Large clumps of tangled hair, string caught around the brush, and larger objects (such as a hand towel) that are blocking rotation are the most common issues.
If there’s nothing stopping the brush from physically turning, then you should check for a broken drive belt. Replacing the drive belt is usually easy, although you’ll need to find the correct belt for your model. It’s also a good idea to inspect the brushroll to see if there are any cracks or other damage.
Finally, there’s a chance that the brush roll motor has developed a fault. If this is the case, then you’ll need to contact a professional to see if it’s repairable. A motor fault isn’t something that can be fixed at home.
Do you have any questions about how to fix a vacuum brush that’s not spinning? Please let us know in the comments section.