Why does my vacuum smell like burning rubber?

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In this article, we will explain why your vacuum smells like burning rubber.

Nowadays, vacuum cleaners are a standard tool in the majority of households. They are great all-in-one equipment, that can help with the whole house cleaning. They not only allow for vacuuming but also carpet and upholstery cleaning.

The technology advances, allowing you to get more and more out of this device. However, they aren’t perfect, and after long use, you should expect some problems. Most of the time, you can easily fix those issues by replacing the faulty elements. 

Today, we will cover one very common problem which is a burning rubber smell, that comes from the vacuum. In order to learn what is the reason, and how to fix the issue, we recommend reading the rest of this post.

Without further ado, let’s get into the proper part of the article.

Why does my vacuum smell like burning rubber?

The burning rubber smell is most likely related to the belt of the vacuum. Ninety percent of the time, the belt either burned, snapped, or became very stretched out. The belt can be getting very heated from the motor, therefore, giving off a burning rubber smell.

There are also other possibilities besides the belt, which will be listed below. You can check each one, and you should eventually figure out what exactly is the problem. Other common reasons for the vacuum to smell like burning rubber are:

  • Debris clog – Any fur, pet hair, or larger debris can cause the vacuum to clog. This can cause the vacuum to give off a burning rubber smell. What’s more, a carpeted area or a rug can also get jammed into the vacuum, causing the device to get stuck. In either case, you should turn off the vacuum and remove the blockage.
  • Broken brush-roller – Broken brush-roller can also give off a burning rubber smell, therefore it’s another thing to check. You should turn off the vacuum, unplug it from the outlet, and see whether this element is not broken.
  • Faulty motor – The motor can be interpreted as the heart of the vacuum. It’s a very important element, that can also become faulty after long-term use. While the belt isn’t that hard to replace, the motor can be troublesome, especially for beginners. We highly recommend calling customer service and get the vacuum checked by the authorized service center.

Those are all the most common reasons why your vacuum may give off a burning rubber smell. Based on those, you should quickly find the origin of this issue. We also strongly suggest to continue reading this article, if you want to learn more about how to prevent it from happening again.

How to fix this issue?

Depending on the origin of the problem, there are different things you should do. As we mentioned earlier, the belt is most likely the faulty element in your vacuum, thus, we will cover this topic first.

What to do when the belt is broken?

You can either ask a specialist to do this for you, or you can try to do it on your own. Most of the time, the belt isn’t that expensive, and you could get one for under $10. We would also like to address, that belt should be changed regularly – The manufacturers recommend doing this at least once a year.

How to unclog a vacuum?

In order to unclog the vacuum, you should start by checking if there is no blockage in the brush roll. Even small debris, pilled up can cause the device to shut down and not work properly. A Roller brush is also known to pick up a lot of hair, so a pair of scissors or a knife would be handy.

The blockage can happen in the hose of the vacuum – In this case, you should detach the hose and push through it to force any large clogs out. If that’s not enough, you can also use baking soda and vinegar, as it tends to work really well.

How to repair a faulty motor?

Fixing a faulty motor can be quite complicated, therefore we would recommend contacting customer service. It’s probably best to have the vacuum inspected by an authorized service center. Although, if you feel competent enough to give it a try, remember about all the safety precautions.

How to prevent it from happening again?

In order to keep the vacuum working properly most of the time, you should take basic maintenance steps. One of those is, of course, replacing the belt of the vacuum regularly. There are different kinds of belts, so you will have to find out which one is fitting first.

From what we’ve learned, the metal belts are more durable to any damage, therefore, they last longer. Replacing one should be done according to the user’s guide, provided by the manufacturer. For additional help, we recommend watching video tutorials posted on the internet.

In order to prevent this from happening ever again, you should:

  • Regularly change the belt of the vacuum
  • Regularly empty and rinse the dust cup
  • Regularly check the nozzle or any other attachments for any stuck dirt and/or debris
  • At least once a week clean the cover of the brush, nozzle, and other tools
  • Replace any used or damaged elements as fast as possible
  • Regularly rinse the washable filter

Those are only some of the necessary maintenance steps, that you should know about. Once again, we strongly suggest reading the user’s guide in order to learn all the details.


In conclusion, the most likely reason why your vacuum smells like burning rubber is the broken belt. In order to fix this issue, you should replace the old belt with the help of the official user’s guide. The belts aren’t that expensive, and from what we’ve learned the metal ones are far more durable.

The belt should be replaced at least once a year, and this, combined with other maintenance steps will prevent the vacuum from smelling like burning rubber ever again. If this doesn’t work, you should take a look at other possible reasons listed above.

We hope, that after reading this article, you will have no problem fixing this issue.