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If you’ve never done a belt change on a vacuum cleaner, you may not realize that they can wear out and break fairly easily.

They are after all just made of rubber, and modern vacuums are faster than ever - with some spinning at up to 120,000 revolutions per minute! After continuous turning, a lot of bouncing around on your floors, and the occasional stuck brush roller, they’re prone to stretching and sometimes snapping.

The good news is that it’s often simple to change your vacuum belt. The tricky part is often first diagnosing the problem.

So, how do you know when it’s time to change your vacuum cleaner’s belt? Read on to find out.

Vacuum cleaner with water filter

Your Vacuum Has Suddenly Gotten Extra Noisy

Let’s face it - no vacuum cleaner is exactly quiet, but when your faithful upright suddenly sounds like a jet engine, it could very well be your belt is about to break. Just like noises under your car hood, belts that are stretched to the breaking point, or that have become loose can indicate that problems are on the way.

Fortunately, this problem is easily solved by replacing the belt. Since you can assume that you’ll be replacing a vacuum cleaner belt at some point, it’s a good idea to have a spare on hand, so that you can get your cleaning back on track before you lose the full function of your machine.

Your Suction Power has Slipped

Realizing that your vacuum is just not sucking up dirt and debris as well as it used to can be another sign that your belt has gone bad. Rule out other possible causes by doing a check of other parts of your machine, first. Issues like a full bag or canister, clogged filters, plugged hoses, and brush rolls that are tangled up with hair or string can affect suction, too. If you don’t see any problems there, you are likely to have a broken belt.

Your Vacuum Cleaner is Leaving a Trail

vacuum cleaner vacuuming carpet

Looking back over your floors after a good vacuuming session to see a trail of debris behind is definitely not a happy moment. When you see this, you can assume that your vacuum cleaner is still providing some suction - just not enough to pick up larger objects.

Before you spend your time trying to go back over the same areas, hoping you’ll get it all cleaned up the second time around, check out your brush roll and belt. If you’ve cleaned your brush of any sticky stuff and hair, and it all looks fine, you’re likely dealing with a stretched belt. Remember - they’re rubber, and they can stretch out before they ever break. Without a firm connection to the brush roller, the belt can’t provide the speed you vacuum needs to pick up floor debris.

Conclusion

A broken belt is no big deal. Understanding that your vacuum cleaner belts were actually designed to wear out and break may make you feel a little better about replacing yours regularly. It’s meant to be a simple fix that you can do at home. With a couple of spare belts on hand in your toolbox, you’ll be back on the cleaning trail in no time at all!

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