Dryers are ideal companions to every washing machine. However perfect their function might be, they are still vulnerable to everyday wear and tear. The dryer belt is the component that ensures the dryer can turn and dry the clothes. Therefore, it is vital to keep it in tip-top condition.
But how can you do that? Does the belt ever need to be replaced? Keep scrolling to find out how to tell whether and how often you need to replace your dryer belt.
Dryer belts don’t need to be replaced unless they break or become loose, worn, burnt, or cracked. Common signs that the belt needs replacing are: the drum stops or doesn’t start turning, the laundry is still wet after drying, banging noises inside the dryer, or the belt smells like burning rubber.
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.
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.
How to Know Your Dryer Belt Needs Replacing?
Drum Isn’t Turning
If you notice that your dryer is on but the clothes aren’t doing their usual spinning ritual, it could be a sign that you have a broken dryer belt that needs to be replaced.
If the dryer belt has become too loose and fallen off the drum, or if it has broken off completely, then it isn’t able to turn the drum to as it is supposed to.
In this case, the appliance will be switched on and running, but you will see that the drum is still, which brings us to the next point.
Clothes Are Wet After Drying
A common sign that your dryer belt is not working properly and it might need replacing is that your clothes come out wet after a drying cycle. When the drum isn’t able to turn, it doesn’t allow the water to be removed, and the clothes can’t be dried properly.
If you haven’t overloaded the dryer, and you have used the right settings and waited the normal amount of time for your laundry to dry, only to find it wet, it is a good idea to check your dryer belt.
Of course, the clothes coming out wet don’t always need to be a sign of a broken belt. If you attempt to put the clothes on for another cycle and the drum spins, but the clothes do not get any drier, it could also be because of the malfunction of a moisture sensor, heating element or burner, or a clogged air vent.
In that case, you should clean the vents, test the heat source, and ensure the moisture sensor is not ending the cycle prematurely.
You Can Hear Banging Noise Inside the Dryer
Sometimes you shouldn’t write off the banging sounds in your dryer to your son’s pet rock that he left in his jeans pocket or the football shoes hitting the drum as they rise and fall.
If you know for certain that there should be no hard materials in the dryer and it is still making a banging noise, then you should inspect the belt.
Banging and thumping noises inside the dryer are commonly caused by a loose dryer belt. As the belt expands and contracts while turning the drum, it can cause the rhythmic bangs and thuds that you hear.
Such a belt definitely calls for a replacement before it gets the chance to slip off or snap completely.
The Smell of Burning Rubber
Another tell-tale sign of a dryer belt that needs to be replaced is a burning rubber scent coming from your dryer.
If your belt has become very loose and therefore slipped off or snapped, it could fall and land on the heating element of the appliance. It can start melting and cause an unpleasant smell.
The burning smell could also be due to friction caused by the belt becoming very worn out and rubbing against the drum.
Either way, this definitely means it is time for a new belt. Although sometimes, even a new belt can cause a burning smell. This often doesn’t have to pose any problems, but it is good to know why it happens and what to do in similar situations.
The Dryer Doesn’t Start
One tell-tale sign that your belt isn’t working is if your dryer won’t turn on to start the cycle. Now, this does not necessarily mean there’s a problem with the belt. It could also be caused by an electrical fault, issues with the motor, or many other reasons.
However, a broken belt is one of the potential options, so if you notice that your machine won’t turn on and all other troubleshooting options prove pointless, try inspecting the belt.
The Belt Is Worn or Cracked
Another obvious indication that you will need to replace your dryer belt is that it is worn or cracked. A worn belt often becomes too loose to function. A cracked belt can end up breaking off completely and causing your dryer to be unable to spin.
Unfortunately, you will only really know if your belt is worn or cracked if you decide to inspect the dryer belt for any reason. Perhaps one of the above signs has become prevalent, and so you decided to investigate further.
If you want to prevent the belt from breaking, you should make checking it a part of your yearly dryer maintenance.
Sometimes the Belt Can Slip Off
There are occasions when your dryer drum stops turning, or you hear rhythmic banging noises, but it does not indicate that your belt needs replacing.
Of course, if the belt is burnt, worn, or damaged, then you will need to replace it. But sometimes, the belt simply slips off, and you only need to manually readjust it.
The belt can slip off for a couple of reasons, some of which are that the motor has short-circuited or the pulley that controls the belt has failed. Other causes are that the belt is too long, incorrectly installed, or it has become loose over time.
You will know your dryer belt has slipped off if you hear a rattling/screeching noise coming from your dryer. This noise is, in fact, only the belt still attempting to control the spinning of the drum.
In order to prevent the belt from slipping, ensure you have the appropriate length and type of belt for your specific dryer. Also, make sure that you install the belt properly and that it is not too worn.
For more information, visit my article: Dryer Belt Slipping: Causes and Solutions.
The Belt Shouldn’t Be Replaced Often
Luckily, dryer belts shouldn’t cause much hassle. They usually last for years before they need replacing.
Therefore, if you notice that you need to replace your belt every few weeks or months, it likely indicates there’s an underlying issue with your actual dryer, not the belt itself.
Try inspecting the dryer for issues notorious for causing the belt to keep breaking before you spend a portion of your salary on a new dryer belt.