Has your vacuum’s belt broken or become overstretched? Here’s a DIY guide for how to replace a vacuum cleaner belt.
Knowing how to do basic vacuum repairs is a useful skill for saving money. And if there’s one repair job that everyone should know how to do, it’s replacing a vacuum drive belt.
In this article, we’ll go through a basic process for replacing a belt. While every vacuum is different, the steps in this article apply to most vacuum cleaners.
What is a Vacuum Belt?
Vacuum belts are rubber belts that drive the rotation of the brush roll. A spinning brushroll agitates dust and dirt, which can then be collected by the vacuum’s suction. This makes the belt a critical component for ensuring that a vacuum runs smoothly and effective.
Over time, vacuum belts can break or become stretched. This isn’t surprising, as some vacuum belts spin more than 100,000 times per minute! When a belt becomes damaged, the brush roll won’t turn correctly, which prevents the vac from properly agitating carpet fibres.
Replacing the belt can restore your vacuum’s performance and is surprisingly easy to do.
How to Replace a Vacuum Belt
Every vacuum model is different, so the exact steps for replacing a belt can vary. The general process is always similar though.
We’ve provided general steps below that apply to most vacuum cleaners, rather than for a specific model or brand. If you need help with your vacuum, feel free to ask in the comments section.
Tools You’ll Need
- Screwdriver for the base plate screws
- Flat head screwdriver for prising the new belt into position
- Replacement belt
Step 1: Find a Replacement Belt
It’s vital to find a vacuum belt that fits your specific make and model. We recommend using your vacuum’s model number when finding the belt, as marketing names can sometimes cover multiple models.
Each vacuum has a belt with a specific tension and length, which maximises efficiency. The wrong belt won’t function properly, leading to reduced performance and durability.
Fortunately, it’s usually easy to find a replacement belt for modern vacuum cleaners. The first place to look is the brand’s website, as many sell parts for their vacuums. You can also try Amazon, specialist vacuum repair websites, or your local vacuum repair shop.
Step 2: Remove the Base Plate
Important: Make sure your vacuum is switched off and unplugged before attempting to replace the belt!
As the vacuum belt turns the brush bar, you’ll need to access this area. Start by tilting the vacuum onto its back, then removing the base plate.
You’ll probably need a screwdriver to remove the plate and get full access to the brushroll area.
Step 3: Remove the Brush Bar (if Necessary) and Broken Belt
Once the base plate is removed, you should be able to access both the brushroll and the belt.
But before you start the replacement process, look carefully at how the belt attaches to the brush roll. Is it held in place by tension alone? Or is there something else that’s holding the belt in position? Does the brush need to be removed? It’s important to check so you know how to attach the new belt.
Once you understand how the belt attaches, you may need to remove the brush roll (often by sliding it through the belt loop) and then detach the belt from the motor shaft. On some vacuums, you can just slide off the drive belt without needing to remove the brush roll.
Tip: Take a few photos of the brush bar before you remove it, just in case you forget how the various parts fit back together.
Step 4: Install the New Belt
Start by placing the new belt around the motor shaft, then thread the brush roll through the belt.
You’ll then need to reinstall the brushroll back into its original location. For flat or round belts, the tension required may require you to use a screwdriver to pry the end of the belt into the correct position.
Your New Belt Will (Probably) Look Too Small
Depending on the type of belt your vacuum uses, the new one may look or feel too small. This is partly because the old belt will have stretched during use, but also because many vacuum belts are held in place through tension.
Even so, it’s a good idea to double check that the belt is the correct part for your vacuum’s model if you’re not sure that it fits.
Stretching is most common on flat or round vacuum belts. It’s less common on other types, such as geared (cogged) belts.
Step 5: Replace the Base Plate
Once the brushroll is fitted, double check that everything looks correct by comparing it with the photos you took earlier. You can also try manually spinning the motor shaft to check that the belt is driving the brush roll.
You can then replace the base plate and any other components that needed to be removed to access the brush roll.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Easy to Replace a Vacuum Cleaner Belt?
Yes, in most cases changing a vacuum cleaner belt is a straightforward repair job. As long as you can find the correct belt for your make and model, you should be able to replace it.
How Do I Know if My Vacuum Needs a New Belt?
There can be several signs that your vacuum cleaner needs a new belt. These include:
- Your vacuum has become noisier than usual. If the belt is stretched or not functioning correctly, it may cause the machine to sound louder.
- Your vacuum’s brush bar is turning slower (or not at all.) The most obvious sign that your vacuum needs a new belt is when the brush bar stops turning properly.
- Your vacuum isn’t cleaning as effectively as it should. If your vacuum doesn’t seem to be picking up dirt and other debris, then the drive belt could be the issue.
What Other Maintenance Tasks Should I Perform on My Vacuum?
Vacuum cleaners are low maintenance machines, but it’s important to keep them clean. We’ve written a full guide to cleaning your vacuum cleaner, including how often you should clean filters, hoses, and more.
Replacing a vacuum belt is a relatively simple job, but it can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. We hope this article has given you the confidence to try when your vacuum next needs a new belt.
The good news is that most modern vacuum belts last years before needing to be replaced, so this isn’t a repair job that you’ll need to perform frequently.
Do you have any questions about how to replace a vacuum cleaner belt? Or is there a specific model or brand you need help with? Let us know in the comments section below.