Why Does My Vacuum Smell Like Burnt Rubber?

Vacuum cleaners contain multiple components that work together to provide suction to remove dust, dirt and debris from your home's flooring. A vacuum cleaner's belt helps turn the brush roller that helps guide debris into the appliance. When a problem occurs during the vacuuming process, a burning smell may develop, indicating a component is failing to operate properly.

Red vacuum cleaner in empty room.
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A burning smell can indicate a variety of problems with your home's vacuum cleaner.

Belt

A stuck or broken belt is one reason your vacuum cleaner may be omitting a smell of burning rubber. Turn off and unplug your vacuum cleaner, and see if the belt is broken or if there is string, carpet fiber or hair keeping the belt from moving the brush roller. Pull out any strings, fibers or hair from the brush roller, or replace the belt if needed.

Debris Clog

If you are vacuuming an area rug or vacuuming over an object that becomes lodged between the brush roller and belt, your vacuum cleaner will emit a burning odor. Turn off and unplug your vacuum cleaner, and slowly pull the rug or object from your vacuum cleaner.

Non-working Brush Roller

A brush roller that is broken in half or not turning will also emit a burning odor. Turn off and unplug the appliance to check the condition of the brush roller. Replace the roller, if needed, or have the vacuum cleaner inspected by an authorized service center.

Motor Issue

If the belt and brush roller are working properly but you still smell burning rubber, the problem is a possible faulty motor. Have the vacuum cleaner inspected by an authorized service center.

Changing the Belt

Change your vacuum cleaner's belt at least once a year if it is a rubber belt that stretches. If your belt is metal and on a gear assembly, replace it according to the recommended time in your vacuum cleaner's owner's manual; metal belts are long lasting.