One of the more alarming problems a washing machine can develop is an issue with the belt. The belt is what most washers use to spin the drum which agitates, washes, and then spin-wrings the clothes before you put them in the dryer. You know something is wrong with your belt when you notice that your washer is running, but the drum is never spinning or seems to be spinning in a flawed way. You may smell rubber burning, which is what happens when the belt tries and fails to spin, or is stuck. This is a clear sign that it’s time to change your washing machine belt.
These instructions are generalized and can vary by model and brand. Not all washing machines utilize a drive belt.
1) Gather Your Supplies
The first step in any repair is to gather your supplies. This way, you have everything you need on-hand as you progress through the repair. You will want to have both types of screwdriver, Phillips, and Flat, along with a wrench set for tools. You will also want at least two towels and a friend to help you with the heavy lifting. Be sure you have the correct replacement belt for your brand and model of the washer before beginning.
- Screwdrivers – Both Types
- Wrench Set
- Replacement Belt
- A Partner
2) Disconnect the Washer
In appliance repair, it’s important to always disconnect the power before starting. For this particular repair, you will also need to disconnect the water connection to your washer. Start by pulling your washer away from the wall as far as it is safe.
- Disconnect the Power
Unplug your washing machine from the wall outlet. If you can’t reach the wall outlet, you’ll need to pull the washer out anyway.
- Disconnect the Water
Twist the water shut-off valve or valves behind the washer. Then loosen the clamps and disconnect the hoses that attach your washer to the hot and cold water taps in the wall. This will allow you to work with your washer more freely.
3) Check for an Access Panel
If your washer is a model with a hinged access panel in the back or side, then you’re lucky. You won’t be tipping your washer sideways today. If you see an access panel, release the clamps or screws and swing it open. Meet us at step five.
If you do not see an access panel, your washing machine is standard and we’ll continue to step four.
4) Flip Your Washer on Its Side
Without an access panel, the only way to reach your washer’s belt is by flipping it on its side. The belt is located on the underside of your washer and you’ll need the washing machine to be tipped over.
- Put Down Towels
Start by putting down towels on the floor to cushion the washing machine when you tip it over. This will protect the paint and soak up any minor puddles that may occur.
- Position With a Friend
Carefully position yourself with a friend to lift and tip the washing machine. One person should tip up from the bottom while the other guides the top of the washing machine to the floor. Position yourselves accordingly.
- Ease the Washing Machine Over
Together, slowly and carefully tip your washing machine over. Ease it to the floor by supporting the falling top edge. Use blocks or books to prop up the washing machine enough not to crush any fingers.
5) Remove the Old Belt
The next step is to remove the old belt completely. It may be damaged or burnt from failing to function. As long as the belt is cool and the washer is unpowered, it is safe to work with.
- Identify the Belt
Always be sure you know what you’re looking at. The belt will be a wide black rubber strip looped around a pair of gears that turn the washing machine drum. If you’re not certain, look up diagrams of your washer’s make and model.
- Release the Belt Clamps
There are belt clamps that connect the rubber coupling to the belt and washing machine motor. Find and release these clamps based on their fastening mechanism. This will loosen the belt on the gears. Set the clamps aside where you can find them later.
- Slide Off the Old Belt
Now that the old belt is loose, slide it off of both gears carefully and set it aside. You can throw away or keep and experiment with the old belt, it is no longer needed.
6) Install the New Belt
Now you can install the new replacement belt into your washing machine. Make sure all the packaging is fully removed before placing the part onto your washer assembly.
- Slide On the New Belt
Slide the new replacement belt over the gears the same way the old belt was mounted. Make sure everything aligns correctly before continuing.
- Return the Belt Clamps
Grab the clamps you removed earlier and put them back on, connecting the rubber coupling, belt, and motor as they did before.
7) Flip Your Washer Back Up
the next step is also tricky and you’ll need your friend to return to perform this step safely.
- Position Yourselves
Stand in your previous positions at the top and bottom of the washer, in the direction you want to tip it back up. Place your hands underneath the tipped edge and at the currently top-facing bottom edge of the washer.
- Carefully Lift the Waser
As you lift the tipped-over side of the washer, have the person at the washer’s feet slowly ease the machine to the floor. Avoid a thump or crash as you tip the washer back up, as this can cause internal damage that will need further repairs.
8) Connect and Test the Washing Machine
Now it’s time to see if your repair worked! You’ll need to fully reconnect your washer and run an experimental load of clothes to find out.
- Connect the Water
Reconnect your washing machine’s water lines to the faucets set into the wall. Then open up the shut-off valve to allow water to flow freely into the washer again.
- Connect the Power
Reconnect the power cable to the outlet in the wall. If you flipped the breaker just to be safe, flip it back to ensure your washer has power again.
- Take it for a Test Spin
Finally, throw in a few hand towels or t-shirts and set the washer on a light cycle. If it spins and doesn’t show any other signs of problems, then congratulations. You’ve just completed a serious washing machine repair.—
If you’d like more helpful repair guides or a technician to come to take a look at your washing machine, contact us today!