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How to Replace a Vacuum Cleaner Belt

Updated: Dec. 18, 2018

Complete this simple task in 30 minutes

How to Replace a Vacuum Cleaner BeltFamily Handyman
If the vacuum motor is running but the carpet cleaning head isn't spinning, replace the belt. It takes less than 30 minutes, plus an inexpensive new belt.

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How to replace the vacuum cleaner belt

Photo 1: Open the cleaner head

Access the inside of this model of carpet cleaner head by first unplugging the vacuum, then taking out the screws and lifting off the cover. Other heads may snap on and off. Cut off any tangled carpet threads wound around the brush’s roller.

Photo 2: Replace the belt

Remove the broken drive belt and study how the belt connects the motor shaft with the brush’s drum. Some models require you to pull out the brush to attach a vacuum belt replacement (our model didn’t). Install a new drive belt by first threading it around the drum. Using a large straight-slot screwdriver, pry the other end of the belt around the motor shaft’s roller. Spin the drum by hand to check the tension, then reinstall the cover plate.

Replacing broken or stretched drive belts is one of the most frequent repairs for canister vacuums. Inside the motorized carpet-cleaning head, a rubber drive belt connects a small motor to a spinning brush that beats the carpet pile and loosens dirt to be sucked up into the machine.

Jot down your vacuum’s brand and model, and buy a vacuum belt replacement at either a fully stocked hardware store or a vacuum cleaner service center (search online or look in the Yellow Pages under “Vacuum Cleaners, Service & Repair”). A belt costs about $4; buy several so you have spares. Then, take about 30 minutes to repair it yourself.

Unplug the vacuum cleaner and follow the steps shown in Photos 1 and 2. Once the new belt is on, ensure that it’s properly installed and centered on both drums by turning the motor shaft by hand. If the belt is properly sized and installed, it’ll spin the brush.

Required Materials for this How to Replace a Vacuum Cleaner Belt Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Replacement belt