How to Adjust the Tension on a Maytag Washer Belt

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Things You'll Need

  • Pliers

  • Screwdriver

  • Bucket

  • Light grease lubricant (optional)

  • Replacement 41 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch main drive belt (optional)

  • Replacement 40 1/2-inch by 3/8-inch pump drive belt (optional)

When your Maytag washer stops spinning properly, a loose drive belt may be to blame. Replace the belts if they look worn or frayed, but if they're in good condition and relatively new, try tightening them first. Sometimes, the screws that hold the assembly in place can come loose and add too much slack to the belts. If you adjust the pump pulley as far as it goes and the belts are still too loose, try replacing the belts entirely.

Step 1

Unplug the washer. If your washer is gas-heated, turn off and disconnect the gas supply. Slide the washer forward until you can readily access the back panel.

Step 2

Locate the water hoses toward the top of the back of the washer. Turn off the water supply at the wall and at the machine by turning the valves to the right. Use pliers to loosen the couplings, and drain each hose into a bucket until the flow stops.

Step 3

Locate the service panel, and lay the washer on the floor with the service panel facing up. Depending upon which model you have, the service panel may be the front, back or side panel. The correct panel will have an obvious seam and easily accessible screws. Remove the service panel.

Step 4

Look at the bottom of the washer and locate all the parts. The large wheel in the center is the transmission pulley, the small wheel to the upper left is the drive motor pulley and the small wheel to the right is the pump pulley. The motor is located inside the machine above the drive motor pulley, and the pump is located inside the machine above the pump pulley.

Step 5

Push the motor toward the center of the machine until it stops. It should glide easily. If not, lubricate the glides. Hold the motor in place with one hand and use the other hand to loosen the screws that hold the pump pulley in place.

Step 6

Push the motor toward the side of the machine. This should put tension on the pump drive belt, which runs from the pump pulley to the drive motor pulley. Tighten one pump pulley screw back into place.

Step 7

Pull the motor back into place, which should tighten both belts. Loosen the one screw slightly, allowing the pump pulley to slide into place. Tighten all three pump pulley screws.

Step 8

Pinch the center of the pump drive belt together. If the gap is more than 1/4 inch, loosen it slightly. If it is less than 1/4 inch, the belt is worn and must be replaced. Replace the belts using the same procedure as for tightening, except remove the old belts and install new ones before loosening the pump pulley screws.

Step 9

Reattach the service panel and stand the washer upright. Reattach the water hoses, and use pliers to tighten the couplings before turning the water supply back on. Check for leaks before plugging the machine back in and connecting the gas supply.


The pump drive belt's job is to keep tension on the main drive belt. If the pump drive belt is still loose after tightening it, replace both belts.

Always use Maytag replacement parts. Generic parts can cause damage.


Always disconnect the power and gas supply before attempting any repairs.


Angela Brady

Angela Brady has been writing since 1997. Currently transitioning to a research career in oncolytic virology, she has won awards for her work related to genomics, proteomics, and biotechnology. She is also an authority on sustainable design, having studied, practiced and written extensively on the subject.