Washing machine drive belt removal advice
Before you rush out to buy yourself a new drive belt, you need to check carefully to
make sure that it is the drive belt that is the cause of your problem.
Drive belts are manufactured to last and will often outlive the machine itself. This is
especially true of washing machines that are run by an induction motor, as they don’t
have carbon brushes.
However, what can happen is that the belts can fray at the edges which can interfere
with the smooth running of the machine. If you have a fairly modern machine, this
will probably be caused by a fault with the pulley system, or even a failure of a
Many of the non-brush motor machines will use the pulley system to manage the
high spin rate, without the need for any further winding on the motor. These pulleys
can, and do, have faults. The effect of this is to make you believe the belt itself is the
problem, and is loose or stretched.
As for the induction motors, apart from in the more expensive machines, these are
generally not used much in modern machines.
Modern machines also quite commonly use electronic control systems, this enables
the belt to detect an out of balance situation. This means the modern machine can
react when a problem arises and will often shut down a spin cycle to save potential
damage to the machine from a perceived threat.
You may also find this problem arising if you are washing a single item, or a very
light load. The machine is designed to work with a full load which is why the
electronic system will assume there is a problem if there is too little in the machine,
as it will think the machine is not balanced. You may well have to move to a manual
drain for these items to remove them from the machine. It is probably best to wait
until you can have similar items together, making a heavier load, when using a cycle
such as Gentle or Delicate wash programmes.
Replacing the drive belt
Although changing the belt is a relatively simple process, you will need to be
extremely careful as even experienced Service Engineers have received quite
serious cuts whilst carrying out this operation. You may well decide to err on the
side of caution and employ someone to do this for you.
If you have decided to carry out the work yourself, the first thing is to purchase the
correct drive belt. Once you have don this, you won’t be alone if you believe it is
too small and wonder if you have bought the correct one. Modern drive belts are
deliberately made in this way, and are designed to stretch to the correct size when
correctly fitted to your machine, although this is the hardest part of the job.
Safety first is definitely the way to go when working with washing machines, as for
all electrical items, and you must ensure that the machine is completely switched off
and the plug removed from socket. It is not a good idea to let children get too close
whilst you are replacing the belt, as the edges can be extremely sharp and could do
a serious injury to a small child’s hands.
All this said, to start you will have to pull the washing machine out, to give you plenty
of room to work. By checking in your Manufacturer’s Manual, you should see a
diagram or description of how to remove the back of the machine, or outer casing.
Once you have removed this, you should be able to see the drive belt. Take great
care when removing the old belt, especially it if has frayed as it will be extremely
sharp, it may be advisable to put on gloves for this part of the operation.
Once removed, it is always a good idea to check that threads from the old belt
have not wrapped around the pulley – especially if it has frayed. If these are not all
removed it may well have an impact on the operation of the new drive belt.
Starting from the motor drive pulley, start to attach your new drive belt, a bit of effort
and a lot of patience will be needed to ensure the belt is slowly stretched up to the
drum pulley. Make sure the drive side is onto the drum pulley, keepingt he belt
taut and work it around the drum pulley slowly by turning the pulley, whilst holding
the belt in place. This method will give you a better chance of success and, more
importantly, remain uninjured.