Tips For Troubleshooting Common Vacuum Cleaner Problems

Posted on: 19 December 2014

There are two basic types of vacuum cleaners: the upright and the canister. Both operate on similar principles, which is a universal motor that drives a fan to draw air into a bag or canister. Vacuum cleaner problems are commonly due to worn or clogged roller brushes or a damaged drive belt. So, when problems occur, it is good to know a few troubleshooting tips to help you get your vacuum back up and running properly.

Problem 1: Noisy Motor

If your vacuum is making loud noises that you know are not normal, there are several possible reasons. 

  • Dirty motor
  • Faulty belt drive
  • Loose or damaged fan

You can start with one problem at a time and work your way through the list until you've fixed the problem. Start by opening the vacuum housing and cleaning any visible dirt and debris. While in there, clean and replace filters. 

You can remove and change the belt. While you have the belt and roller off, use a comb to remove any pet hair, lint, or other debris caught in the roller brush. 

While you have the vacuum open, inspect for chips, dents, warping or other damage to to the fan. Wiggle the fan, and If it feels loose, tighten the connection to the motor shaft. If the fan is chipped or broken, it'll need to be replaced. You might want to contact the manufacturer to get the needed parts or to do the repairs. 

Problem 2: Sluggish Motor

If the motor isn't running as it should, feels sluggish or is not sucking up dirt and debris as it should, there are a few possible problems. 

  • Jammed fan
  • Worn brushes
  • Worn or dry bearings

Start troubleshooting by gaining access to the inside of the vacuum, and look for caked dirt, debris, or anything else that may be jamming the fan. If you find something, carefully remove it. 

If the fan seems fine, you can inspect the brushes for wear and tear. If brushes are old and worn, they'll need to be replaced. To remove roller brushes, unplug the vacuum, pry the roller out of its slot on each side using a screwdriver, and check for problems. Long thread and hair can jam the brush. If so, this is simple fix. All you need to do is use a utility knife to cut through the wound-up hair and threads. 

While you have the brush roller out, you can apply oil or light grease to the bearings. A good choice in lightweight oil is an SAE 20-weight, non-detergent oil.

If you cannot determine why your vacuum is running poorly, contact the manufacturer for assistance. The manufacturer can help you locate a repair center such as Vacuum of Jacksonville or find replacement parts, so you can do the repairs yourself.