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5 Signs That the Dryer Belt Needs to Be Replaced

Dryers are supposed to make life easier by reducing how long it takes for your clothes to dry. Unfortunately, this makes it all the more inconvenient when your dryer decides to take an unannounced leave of absence. Or is it unannounced?

There are actually several indications that the belt on your dryer is at the end of its lifespan and will need replacing soon, if not now. The dryer belt is one of the appliance components that commonly causes troubles and needs replacing. By paying attention to these five signs, you can save yourself the hassle of finding your dryer isn’t working after you want to dry a load of washing.

Dryer belts are critical for turning the drum letting hot air dry each load properly. They must be replaced if broken. Here are 5 signs that a belt should be replaced.
  • The Drum Is Not Turning
  • Tumbler Spins Intermittently
  • Clothes Aren’t Dried Properly
  • Thumping Sounds
  • Dryer Stops Mid-Cycle

The Belt Should Be Replaced When Damaged

The good news is that your dryer belt is not a component that needs to be replaced as part of your regular maintenance. There is no reason to replace a perfectly functioning dryer belt, even if it is a few years old.

dryer belt is damaged

You can check on it occasionally, but it doesn’t need replacing unless it is broken, stretched out, or very worn, which should be easy to notice.

Over time, the dryer belt can become worn and break as with everyday wear and tear. This amount of time is largely dependent on how regularly you use your dryer.

However, there are other reasons why the dryers’ belts break. Sometimes brand new dryer belts can slip off, causing the belt to burn due to the friction. Alternatively, they can snap when the dryer load is too heavy or when the pully mechanism fails.

1. The Drum Is Not Turning

The dryer belt is tensioned around the dryer drum with a motorized pulley. This pulley is connected to the dryer belt, which is wrapped around the drum and turns the barrel. If your dryer drum is not turning, this could be because there is a problem with your belt.

fixing dryer

The dryer belt must be tensioned by the pulley in order to grip the drum and turn it. If the belt is stretched out and loosens, it won’t be able to grip the barrel properly.

Dryer belts wear with time and will fray and eventually break. When the belt is broken, you will likely hear the pulley motor as it runs, but without the belt, the drum will not turn.

However, a lack of noise from the motor can also indicate that the belt is broken. Some dryers have a mechanism that engages when the belt breaks that prevents the motor from switching on. This could also look like a dryer that won’t start.

It is also possible that the belt is intact but has come loose from the pulley system. This would be a matter of securing the belt back into place for the dryer to work properly again. Particularly if you have recently moved the appliance or replaced the belt, this is a likely cause of the problem.

2. Tumbler Spins Intermittently

When the dryer belt is stretched, there is sometimes only part of the belt that is able to make a sufficient connection with the drum in order to produce a spin. This can result in intermittent spinning as the dryer belt rotates from tighter to loose, sometimes having tension and grip but sometimes not. Meaning that sometimes the belt is able to turn the drum.

The problem with an intermittent spin is that you might be losing out on a rotation.

Dryers spin in both directions to prevent any larger items from tangling and bunching up, which would interfere with how well the appliance is able to dry the whole piece. This can result in half-dried items or wet spots, especially on things like comforters and blankets.

An intermittent spin could also indicate a problem with your pulley and its motor, or with the drum rollers if they are getting stuck (hint: don’t use WD-40 on stiff rollers!). So, you might have to do some investigating.

3. Clothes Aren’t Dried Properly

There are several reasons why the dryer isn’t drying your clothes properly, and one of these is that the dryer belt is broken.

clothes are not dried

You can confirm that it isn’t a fuse, breaker, element, or lint problem by pressing the door button to trick the machine into thinking the door is closed and then starting a cycle. If the drum doesn’t spin, the belt is definitely your problem.

The rolling of the barrel helps to move the clothes and aerate them. This assists with dispersing heat and air through the dryer load. Without this motion, you are probably being driven up the wall by wet patches on all your supposedly “dried” clothes.

If you are experiencing any of the other problems on this list, then you are probably also experiencing this one.

However, there are two other components of the dryer that could be resulting in semi-dry clothes, either individually or in tandem.

The fan of the dryer is important for pushing heated air through the drum to dry clothing. If the fan is not moving the air and/or if the heating element is not working properly, then you lack sufficient heat for drying.

Either of these could also explain why the clothes aren’t drying properly, but it’s probably easier to roll the drum and feel if the belt is still intact and holding its shape.

4. Thumping Sounds

That thumping sound can be mistaken for a heavy item in the dryer once or twice, but loud knocking can’t always be explained away by the contents of your dryer load. Your dryer belt can also explain it.

thumping sounds, noisy

That thumping is frequently a belt-related noise. This is a sign that your belt is wearing and slipping. When the belt stretches, it will not grip the drum consistently, causing the knocking sounds. However, the belt will likely still work for a while if you want to wait it out and replace the belt when it really breaks.

Or, you can get ahead and replace the belt a little early. This way, you don’t have to worry about the day you try and turn on the dryer, and it won’t work. Or that it will snap in the middle of a cycle and come to a thumping halt.

5. Dryer Stops Mid-Cycle

There’s nothing like coming to get your clothes out of the dryer, only to find that the machine stopped minutes into the cycle, and you still have wet clothes on your hands. That’s an excellent way to ruin your wardrobe.

There are two main component-based reasons why the dryer would stop in the middle of a cycle: the moisture sensor and the dryer belt.

The moisture sensor may be malfunctioning and causing the machine to turn off too soon, and this is likely the problem if you can get the dryer to switch back on once it has stopped.

However, if the dryer won’t re-start, the dryer belt is likely the issue. The system may be shutting off if the pulley system registers that the belt is not engaged, which deactivates the motor. The motor won’t switch on if the belt is not in place.

However, there is another reason: if the dryer will switch back on after a few minutes, it might be that your motor is overheating.

You should check that your lint filters are clean and that the vents are clear of it too. If that is not the problem, the motor is likely old, which is causing it to heat more during use. It will need replacing.


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