Sometimes, it is easier and cheaper to buy a new appliance than it is to repair it if it breaks. In the case of dryers, it will depend on what broke. If the drum is cracked or deformed, then replacing the whole dryer is likely the prudent choice. However, if the belt breaks, you more than likely have a much cheaper option than buying a new dryer.
Replacing broken dryer belts is a common and relatively easy task. Belts are one of the moving parts of the dryer susceptible to wear and manufacturers know this so they sell spare belts. However, there are some cases in which complete dryer replacement is the way to go.
Dryer belts are easily and cheaply replaced, so the existing dryer can be kept. If a design flaw or another broken part makes the belt snap, it may be more costly to fix the cause than to replace the dryer. If the dryer is very old, it may break before the new belt, so it’s better to replace the dryer.
Dryer Belts Are Easily Replaceable Parts
If your belt is worn or old it can be replaced. It will be much cheaper to replace the belt than to buy a new dryer (there are some exceptions to this, but we will get to these later).
On average a clothes dryer can cost anywhere between $400 to $2,000, depending on the model, capacity, and manufacturer.
Drive belts, on the other hand, have an average cost range of $3-$10, depending on the size and belt manufacturer. Moreover, they are easy to source and the replacement is a simple DIY task.
I do need to note that some belts from Whirlpool can cost up to $40 a belt, and these costs don’t include a professional fee for installation. To hire a professional can cost you an additional $50 to $99.
At the end of the day to save on costs, it may be better to replace the belt yourself. There are many helpful videos online showing you how to do this. I have provided one such video here:
For the most part, buying a belt is a more feasible option than replacing the entire dryer. However, we must remember to still look at why the belt broke as it could be more than just a case of plain old wear and tear. In these situations, replacing the dryer might be the best recourse.
Belt Frayed by Design Defect
Sometimes, the belt frays as a result of a design flaw in another part of the dryer. If this is your issue, then replacing the belt will work, but only temporarily. Repeatedly snapping dryer belts is a sign that there is a non-belt-related issue.
If there is a sharp point on the pulley system it can cause premature fraying of the belt. Even an indented dryer casing can press against the belt as it pulls and wears it down.
You might be able to carefully bang a dent out of a casing or file down a sharp point. However, if the flaw is not easily fixed, then replacing these parts is far more likely to be almost as expensive as a new dryer, making replacing the dryer the better option.
If you have just recently purchased your dryer you may still be covered by the warranty and you will not need to pay for repair or replacement costs. If you are unsure if your dryer is still under warranty, you can simply contact the manufacturer and ask.
Broken Part Causing Belt Damage
As mentioned, you can easily replace your belt, but what is the point of replacing it if the real problem isn’t the belt itself but rather a faulty part in the machine.
There are not too many parts that make up the inside of a dryer that could impact the performance of the belt. However, the idler pulley is a very important component in keeping the belt taut while it wraps around the dryer drum.
If the idler pulley is broken it can cause belt slippage and the drum won’t turn as efficiently. You can purchase dryer idler pulley repair kits (amazon link) and replace them yourself.
Replacing an idler pulley is fairly simple (see the video below) and not too costly, so you would be able to still use your current dryer and don’t necessarily need to buy a new one.
Some advanced dryers come with built-in moisture sensors that lower the drying time according to how dry the clothes are. When the clothes are dry the sensors automatically stop the dryer.
If these sensors short-circuit they may not be able to stop the dryer from working even though the clothes are fully dry. Thus, the drum will continue to rotate, and this will cause more wear and tear on the dryer belt, which could lead to frequent breakages.
It is very likely that fixing a broken part will cost almost as much as purchasing a new dryer.
Very Old Dryer: Consider Upgrading
For some people, it can be difficult to let things go, but when it comes to appliances and you are putting in more than getting out of the appliance it just may be time for an upgrade. Like if it costs more to replace a broken belt than the actual worth of a dryer.
If you also wait too long to replace or upgrade your dryer you will eventually have no access to spare or replacement parts as most parts will become discontinued by manufacturers. With that being said, the parts for older dryers will also be harder to find, which could increase their cost.
According to California’s Lemon Law, manufacturers of electronic household appliances that are sold for more than $ 100 are to provide spare parts for up to 7 years after the sale.
However, in Europe, manufacturers need to provide spare parts for 10 years after purchasing a dryer, washing machine, or dishwasher.
So, it does look like you have got quite a bit of time to use your dryer to its maximum capacity until it is time to upgrade.
Even if you land up replacing just the belt in an old dryer, it may still be a power-draining appliance. Most older appliances tend to use way more electricity than newer appliances that are more energy-efficient.
Replacing the belt may be the cheaper option for now but it will be more costly in the long run.