By Samuel Williams

Ever experienced the vacuum blues and questioned, how do I know if my vacuum motor is bad? Today, we’re diving into the world of motor mysteries.

Picture this: your once-mighty cleaning machine exhibiting signs of distress. In just a couple of lines, the answer is: if your vacuum lacks suction power, makes unusual noises, or emits a burning smell, it could signal a bad motor. But before you assume it’s a motor melodrama, join us on this diagnostic journey.

We’ll unravel the clues pointing to a misbehaving motor, ensuring you can revive your vacuum’s performance and restore it to its former cleaning glory!

How Do I Know If My Vacuum Motor Is Bad – 7 Signs

When it comes to identifying a faulty vacuum motor, there are several signs to watch out for. These signs can help you determine if your vacuum motor is experiencing issues. Some of the key indicators include:

Lack Of Suction Power

If your vacuum cleaner is experiencing a significant decrease in suction power, it could be a sign of a bad motor. The motor is responsible for generating the necessary airflow to create suction, so if it is not functioning properly, the vacuum’s suction power will be noticeably reduced.

Unusual Noises

A malfunctioning motor may produce unusual noises while the vacuum cleaner is in operation. These noises can range from grinding or rattling sounds to a high-pitched squealing or screeching. Any abnormal or persistent noise coming from the motor could indicate a problem.


If your vacuum cleaner is becoming excessively hot during use, it may be a sign of a faulty motor. Overheating can occur due to motor issues, such as worn-out bearings or internal components. Excessive heat can also cause the vacuum to shut off automatically as a safety measure.

Burning Smell

A burning odor emanating from the vacuum cleaner is a clear indicator of motor trouble. This smell can arise when the motor is overheating or when internal components are malfunctioning. It is essential to address this issue promptly, as it may lead to motor failure or even pose a fire hazard.

Intermittent Power Loss

If your vacuum cleaner frequently loses power or experiences intermittent power loss during operation, the motor may be at fault. This issue can manifest as the vacuum turning off and on unexpectedly or struggling to maintain consistent suction power.

Electrical Issues

Malfunctioning vacuum motors can lead to electrical problems. If you notice sparks or flickering lights when using the vacuum, it could indicate a faulty motor. Additionally, if the vacuum’s power cord feels unusually warm or if there are issues with the on/off switch, the motor may be the root cause.

Motor Failure

In some cases, a bad motor may result in complete motor failure. The vacuum cleaner may refuse to turn on, even after checking the power supply and verifying that all other components are in working order. Motor failure typically requires professional repair or replacement.

Please note that diagnosing a faulty motor may require expertise in vacuum cleaner repair. If you suspect motor issues with your vacuum, it is recommended to consult a qualified technician or contact the manufacturer for assistance.

how do i know if my vacuum motor is bad infographic

How To Fix A Bad Vacuum Motor 

When faced with a malfunctioning vacuum motor, there are several steps you can take to address the issue. From troubleshooting common problems to considering professional help, here are some approaches to fixing a bad vacuum motor:


Before diving into motor repairs or replacements, it’s essential to perform some initial troubleshooting steps. Check for any clogs in the hoses, filters, or brush roller that may be causing the suction issue. Ensure that the power cord is properly connected and that there are no electrical issues. Also, inspect the vacuum’s overall condition for any visible damage or loose connections.

Cleaning And Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prolong the life of your vacuum motor. Clean or replace the filters as recommended by the manufacturer. Remove any debris or tangled hair from the brush roller, and clear out any clogs in the hose or nozzle. Additionally, keep the motor and its surrounding area free from dust and dirt to prevent overheating.

Motor Repair

If troubleshooting and maintenance efforts don’t resolve the motor issues, you might need to consider repairing the motor. Motor repair is a complex task and often requires professional expertise. It involves disassembling the vacuum, identifying the specific motor problem, and replacing faulty components such as bearings, brushes, or coils. It is advisable to consult a qualified technician or contact the vacuum manufacturer for repair guidance.

Vacuum Motor Repair

Motor Replacement

If the motor is severely damaged or beyond repair, replacing it might be the best course of action. Again, this task is typically best left to professionals, especially if it involves intricate wiring or specific motor compatibility. Contact the manufacturer or a trusted vacuum repair service to inquire about motor replacement options and procedures.


  • Repairing a bad vacuum motor can be more budget-friendly than buying a new vacuum.
  • Fixing the motor reduces electronic waste by extending the vacuum’s lifespan.


  • Repairing a motor can be complex and might require technical knowledge.
  • Diagnosing and fixing the issue can take time, leaving you without a vacuum.

Warranty And Service Centers

If your vacuum cleaner is still under warranty, check the terms and conditions regarding motor repairs or replacements. The manufacturer may provide specific instructions or recommend authorized service centers for motor-related issues. Following warranty guidelines can help you save on repair costs and ensure that the repair work is carried out by trained technicians.

Consider Professional Help

Dealing with vacuum motor repairs can be complex, especially for individuals without prior experience or technical knowledge. If you are unsure about the repair process or lack the necessary tools, seeking professional help is a wise choice. Vacuum repair experts have the expertise and resources to diagnose and fix motor-related problems efficiently.

Replacement Considerations

In some cases, repairing an older vacuum with a bad motor may not be cost-effective or practical. If the vacuum is outdated, has multiple other issues, or the motor replacement cost is high, it might be more sensible to invest in a new vacuum cleaner instead. Research different vacuum models, and compare features and customer reviews to choose a suitable replacement option.

Remember, when it comes to repairing or replacing a bad vacuum motor, safety should be a priority. Always disconnect the vacuum from the power source before attempting any repairs, and if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, consult a professional technician for assistance.

Vacuum Cleaner Motor Not Working — Vacuum Cleaner Troubleshooting

How Long Does A Vacuum Motor Last

Vacuum motors typically have a lifespan of several years, providing reliable performance and efficient cleaning for your home. However, the exact duration can vary depending on factors such as usage frequency, maintenance, and the quality of the motor itself. On average, a well-maintained vacuum motor can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years

Regularly cleaning or replacing filters, emptying the dustbin, and checking for any blockages can help prolong the life of the motor. Additionally, using the vacuum on appropriate surfaces and avoiding excessive strain on the motor can also contribute to its longevity. It’s important to keep in mind that if your vacuum motor starts to show signs of decreased suction power, unusual noises, or overheating, it may be a sign of wear and tear or a potential issue.

 In such cases, it’s recommended to consult the manufacturer’s manual or seek professional assistance to determine if the motor needs repair or replacement.

How To Do A Vacuum Cleaner Motor Replacement 

  • First, you’ll need to gather the necessary tools and replacement motors for the job. Make sure you have a screwdriver, pliers, and a wrench on hand.
  •  Next, unplug the vacuum cleaner and remove any attachments or accessories. 
  • Locate the motor housing, which is usually located at the bottom or back of the vacuum. Use the screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the motor housing in place.
  • Once the housing is removed, carefully disconnect the wires connected to the motor. Take note of how the wires are connected so you can easily reconnect them later. 
  • Now, remove the motor from the housing by unscrewing any bolts or screws that hold it in place. Take the old motor out and replace it with the new one. Secure the new motor in place with the bolts or screws. 
  • Reconnect the wires to the new motor, ensuring they are connected in the same way as before. 
  • Finally, put the motor housing back in place and secure it with the screws.
  • Test the vacuum cleaner to ensure the new motor is working properly. If everything is functioning correctly, you can reattach any attachments or accessories and start using your vacuum cleaner again.

How To Test A Vacuum Motor With a Multimeter 

Testing the performance of your vacuum cleaner’s motor is a simple and effective way to ensure its efficiency and functionality. 

  • To test the motor with a multimeter, start by disconnecting the vacuum cleaner from the power source. 
  • Then, locate the motor and remove any protective coverings or housing. 
  • Set your multimeter to the resistance or ohms setting and touch the two probes to the motor’s electrical terminals. A good motor will typically show a resistance reading within the manufacturer’s specified range.
  • If the multimeter shows a reading of zero or infinity, it indicates a faulty motor that needs to be replaced. 
  • Additionally, you can also test the motor’s functionality by connecting it to a power source and observing its performance. If the motor fails to turn on or emits unusual noises or smells, it may be a sign of a bad motor

By conducting these simple tests, you can easily determine the condition of your vacuum cleaner’s motor and take appropriate action to ensure its smooth operation.

1Disconnect the vacuum cleaner from the power source.
2Locate the motor and remove protective coverings or housing.
3Test motor functionality by connecting to power. A noisy, non-starting, or odorous motor suggests an issue.
4Zero or infinity reading indicates a faulty motor for replacement.
5Test motor functionality by connecting to power. Noisy, non-starting, or odorous motor suggests an issue.
Testing A Vacuum Motor With A Multimeter

How To Wire A Vacuum Motor 

Now that you have successfully tested your vacuum motor with a multimeter and determined that it is indeed bad, it’s time to learn how to wire a new motor. Wiring a vacuum motor may seem daunting at first, but with a step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to do it easily. 

  • First, make sure you have the appropriate replacement motor for your vacuum model.
  • Begin by disconnecting the power source and removing the old motor. Take note of how the wires were connected to the old motor and then carefully disconnect them. 
  • Next, take your new motor and identify the wiring diagram provided. 
  • Match the wires from the diagram to the corresponding wires on your vacuum. Use wire connectors or electrical tape to secure the connections tightly. 
  • Once all the wires are connected, secure the new motor in place and reattach any necessary components.
  • Finally, plug in your vacuum and test the motor to ensure it is functioning properly.

 With these simple steps, you’ll have your vacuum motor wired and ready to go in no time.

Maintenance Tips To Prevent A Bad Vacuum Motor 

  • To keep your vacuum motor in good condition, remember to regularly clean the filters and empty the dust bag. This will prevent clogging and ensure that the motor is not overworked. Additionally, check for any loose or damaged parts and replace them as needed. It is also important to avoid running the vacuum over large objects or picking up items that could damage the motor.
  • Finally, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners that could harm the motor. 

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can help prolong the life of your vacuum motor and ensure that it continues to function effectively.

What Is The Best Lubricant For A Vacuum Motor

When it comes to lubricating a vacuum motor, it is important to use a lubricant specifically designed for that purpose. The best lubricant for a vacuum motor is typically a high-quality, non-detergent, synthetic oil that is specifically formulated for use in electric motors and similar applications. These oils are typically lightweight, low-viscosity, and have excellent lubricating properties.

Some popular options for lubricating vacuum motors include:

Vacuum Pump Oil 

Vacuum pump oils are specifically designed for vacuum applications and are often recommended by vacuum manufacturers. They provide good lubrication, high-temperature stability, and resistance to oxidation.

Electric Motor Oil

Electric motor oils are formulated to provide optimal lubrication for electric motors, including those found in vacuum cleaners. They offer good protection against wear and help reduce friction.

Silicone-Based Lubricants 

Silicone-based lubricants are known for their high-temperature stability and resistance to oxidation. They can provide good lubrication for vacuum motors and are often used in high-temperature applications.

It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or recommendations for your specific vacuum model to ensure you select the appropriate lubricant. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for lubrication intervals and quantities, as over-lubrication can be as detrimental as under-lubrication.

Why Is My Vacuum Still Not Working Even After Fixing The Bad  

vacuum cleaner still not working

Despite attempting to fix a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner, it may still not be operational due to various underlying issues, each requiring further investigation. 

  1. One possible reason for the vacuum cleaner not working even after fixing a bad motor could be a clogged hose or filter. Check for any debris or blockages in the hose or filter and clean them thoroughly.
  2. Another reason could be a faulty power switch or cord. Test the power switch and cord for any signs of damage or malfunction and consider replacing them if necessary. 
  3. Additionally, the problem could be with the vacuum belt. Check if the belt is worn out or broken and replace it if needed. 
  4. Lastly, a malfunctioning motor relay or thermal cut-off could also be the culprit. 

These components are responsible for controlling the motor’s operation and protecting it from overheating. If these components are faulty, the vacuum cleaner may still not work properly even with a fixed motor.

 In conclusion, it is important to thoroughly inspect and troubleshoot these potential issues in order to determine the true cause of the vacuum cleaner’s continued malfunction.

How Do I  Check And Troubleshoot Vacuum Motor Brushes

To check and troubleshoot vacuum motor brushes, begin by disconnecting the vacuum from the power source. Inspect the motor brushes for wear, damage, or any signs of deterioration. If the brushes appear worn down, frayed, or uneven, they may need replacement. Gently clean any debris or carbon buildup around the brushes. Additionally, ensure that the springs holding the brushes in place are functioning correctly. If the motor still doesn’t operate after cleaning and inspecting the brushes, it might be a sign of a deeper motor issue requiring professional attention.

How Do I Test And Troubleshoot Vacuum Relays

To test and troubleshoot vacuum relays, start by identifying the relay location in the vacuum. Use a multimeter to measure the continuity across the relay terminals. A properly functioning relay should show continuity when activated. Check the relay for any visible signs of damage or burning. If the relay appears damaged or fails the continuity test, replacement may be necessary. Additionally, inspect the wiring connected to the relay for any loose or disconnected connections. If the vacuum still exhibits issues even after addressing the relay, it’s advisable to consult the user manual or seek professional assistance.

How Do I Test And Troubleshoot Vacuum Circuit Boards

When testing and troubleshooting vacuum circuit boards, begin by visually inspecting the board for burnt components, loose connections, or damaged traces. Use a multimeter to measure the voltage at various points on the circuit board, ensuring that it matches the expected values specified in the user manual. Check for any visible signs of damaged components, such as capacitors or resistors. If the circuit board shows signs of damage or if voltage readings are inconsistent, replacement or professional repair may be necessary. Be cautious with DIY repairs, and if unsure, seek assistance from the vacuum manufacturer or a qualified technician.


So. you do not have to ask yourself the same question again how do I know if my vacuum motor is bad? Knowing the signs of a bad vacuum motor is crucial to address the issue promptly. Signs include strange noises, reduced suction power, overheating, and a burning smell. 

Fixing it involves cleaning or replacing the motor, with professional assistance if needed. Regular maintenance and proper care can extend the motor’s lifespan. A vacuum motor typically lasts for years, but its longevity depends on usage and maintenance. 

If repair is not possible, a motor replacement may be necessary. Understanding the signs, repair methods, and maintenance tips ensures an efficient and effective vacuum cleaner.


How do I know if my vacuum motor is bad if there are no signs or symptoms?

If there are no signs or symptoms, it can be difficult to determine if your vacuum motor is bad. However, you can try troubleshooting steps like checking for power issues or inspecting the motor for any visible damage.

Can I fix a bad vacuum motor on my own, or do I need to take it to a professional?

You should take your vacuum to a professional if the motor is bad. They have the expertise and tools to properly diagnose and fix the issue. Trying to fix it on your own may cause further damage.

Can a vacuum motor be repaired, or does it always need to be replaced?

A vacuum motor can sometimes be repaired, but it may need to be replaced. It’s best to have a professional assess the motor to determine the extent of the damage and the most appropriate solution.

Are there any specific brands or models of vacuum cleaners that have longer-lasting motors?

Some vacuum cleaner brands and models are known for having longer-lasting motors. Researching and comparing different brands, such as Dyson or Miele, can help you find a vacuum cleaner with a durable motor.

Is it possible to prevent a bad vacuum motor through regular maintenance, or is it inevitable over time?

Regular maintenance can help prevent a bad vacuum motor over time. By cleaning filters and removing debris, you can keep the motor running smoothly. However, some wear and tear is inevitable, so it’s important to monitor performance for any signs of trouble.

How do you know if a motor capacitor is bad?

Signs of a bad motor capacitor in a vacuum cleaner include the motor not starting, a humming sound, or the motor shutting off unexpectedly. If you suspect a bad capacitor, it’s advisable to consult a professional for diagnosis and replacement.

Can a vacuum cleaner overheat?

Yes, a vacuum cleaner can overheat. Common causes include a clogged filter, blocked airway, or prolonged use without breaks. Overheating may lead to a burning smell or the vacuum shutting off. If your vacuum overheats, turn it off, unplug it, and address the cause before resuming use.

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