Belt Keeps Coming Off Washing Machine? (here’s why & what to do)

The drive belt is the most important part of a washing machine in many ways, because without it the drum won’t turn. If the belt keeps coming off, you have a problem. Keep reading for more information on what causes the belt to come off and how to remedy this issue.

In some cases the belt will fit back onto the motor pulley and drum pulley and never fall off again, in others the belt coming off indicates another, more serious problem.

How Tight Should The Belt Be?

The drive belt should be fairly tight but still have some play. It should move from side to side around 6mm (¼ inch) and as most modern machines use non adjustable drive belts, once the belt stretches it will need replacing with a new belt.

What Causes The Belt To Come Off?

The drive belt is connected to the drum pulley and the motor. There are no parts anywhere near the belt to cause it to come off so if it does keep coming off it has to be one of the following;

  • The belt is damaged
    Washing machine drive belts are designed to be quite robust but over time they can become worn. Once the belt begins to wear, it can stretch which is why it can easily come off the track. If the belt has any signs of wear or frays, it will need to be replaced.
  • The pulley has come loose
    The drum pulley is attached to the drum via the drum spider and is held in place with a single bolt. The pulley should be firmly attached to the drum without any play. Sometimes the bolt which holds the pulley in position can become loose. Or sometimes the pulley itself can become worn at the point where the bolt holds it into position. You’ll need to check both the bolt and the pulley to see if the pulley needs to be replaced or if it’s just a case of tightening the bolt.
  • The motor has come loose
    This could be caused by a number of things including; The bolts holding the motor have become loose or fallen out  altogether. The motor could have a damaged casing. One of the motor brackets could have become damaged.
    You will need to inspect the motor and its casing carefully to detect any of these faults as in many cases all it takes is a hairline crack to cause the motor to move during a spin cycle.
  • The drum bearings have become worn
    If there is too much play in the drum it is usually indicative of the drum bearings having worn. This excessive play could allow the drum to wobble causing the belt to come off. If this is the case, the spin cycle would be very noisy just prior to the belt coming off.

Fitting A New Belt

If, after investigation, you have come to the conclusion that the belt is the problem and you have found the correct belt for your machine, fitting is easy. Just place the belt under the motor pulley and wind it slowly over the drum pulley until it is all on. It’s much like fitting a new chain to a pushbike.

Be sure to buy the correct belt for your particular machine because some will be larger and others smaller than the belt needed for your machine.

Always remember to remove the plug from the power supply before you commence any work on the washing machine’s interior.

Of course if your machine is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer as soon as you detect any fault. If you tamper with anything at all in the interior of your washing machine you could invalidate your warranty.

If your machine is out of warranty and you don’t feel competent enough to carry out any investigations or repairs yourself, we advise you to call a qualified engineer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the belt on my washer keep coming off?

If the belt keeps coming off your washer it is probably a loose drum pulley, or the belt is worn or frayed.

How do I know if my washing machine belt needs replacing?

You will know if your washing machine belt needs replacing if it has any signs of fraying, cracking, burning or excessive wear.

How do you put a washing machine belt back on?

To put the washing machine belt back on place it under the motor pulley and gently wind it over the drum pulley until it is all on. Very much like putting a chain back on a pushbike.

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