The Brush Won't Spin on My Dyson Vacuum Cleaner

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The brush bar on a Dyson vacuum cleaner is powered by a dedicated motor inside the cleaner head assembly. When the brush bar won't spin -- and you're operating the vacuum cleaner in the proper way -- the problem could be simply that it's clogged with hair. If not, the drive belt is the next suspect, and finally the motor itself. You can clear clogs and replace the belt yourself, but motor repair is a job for a Dyson service representative.

Before Suspecting a Problem

The brush bar may not be operating because you're using the vacuum cleaner incorrectly. There are three main possibilities:

  • Dyson vacuum cleaners are designed to lock into an upright position when not in use. When the unit is upright, the motor that spins the brush bar is disengaged. Unlock the handle by depressing the button near the cleaning head, using your foot.
  • The brush bar may not spin if the cleaner head is set too low. Dyson vacuums usually have a setting for cleaning bare hardwood floors and one for cleaning carpets -- if you're cleaning a carpet, be sure the to select the height setting for that function.
  • Some Dyson vacuums have removable cleaner heads, and if the head isn't locked into position, the motor that powers the brush bar won't operate. Unplug the machine, lay it on its back and push the cleaner head toward the main body of the vacuum until it clicks.

The Brush Bar Is Clogged

Hair, fibers and threads can wind around the brush bar during normal use, and eventually they'll prevent the bar from spinning. To clear them:

Things You'll Need

  • Torx screwdriver

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Scissors

  • Belt-lifting tool

Step 1

Unplug the vacuum cleaner and lay it flat in the floor on its back to give you access to the brush bar.

Step 2

Remove the soleplate from the brush bar assembly. On some models, you can do this by turning three locking screws with a coin, while on others, you'll have to remove some screws. The models that require screw removal may have up to eight Torx screws and a single Phillips screw.

Step 3

Cut threads and fibers with a pair of scissors to clear them, being careful to avoid cutting any of the bristles on the brush bar.

Step 4

Disengage the brush bar and pull it out so you can clean threads from the ends. This process also depends on which model you have. Some are held in by four Phillips screws, and others require a special lifting tool to support the belt. Once the brush bar is out, cut threads with scissors, pull them out with your fingers or both.

Step 5

Reassemble the brush bar and cleaner head assembly by reversing the procedure you used to take it out.

The Belt Is Loose or Broken

On some Dyson models, the brush bar is connected to the motor by a rubber drive belt. This belt can break or it can simply wear out and start slipping. You can buy a replacement belt for any model that uses one, but the procedure for replacing it depends on your model.

Things You'll Need

  • Belt-lifting tool

  • Flat-head screwdriver

Step 1

Unplug the machine and lay it flat on its back. Look at the brush bar; if you see two separated by a drive mechanism in the middle of the assembly, the bars are connected by a direct-drive mechanism; there's no belt to replace. If a single bar extends all the way across the assembly, however, the bar is controlled by a belt on one side.

Step 2

Remove the cover or disassemble the head, depending on which model you have. If you can see the belt, use a lifting tool to disengage it from the brush bar -- unless it's broken, in which case you can simply pull it out. If you don't see the belt, it means you have to remove a cover from the side of the assembly to access it.

Step 3

Replace the belt with the one that's recommended for your model. Depending on the model, you may need a lifter tool to get the old one off and install the new one. Otherwise, use a flat-head screwdriver.

Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at

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