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How to Replace Vacuum Cleaner Wheels

vacuum cleaner wheels

The thing that makes heavy vacuum cleaners easy to move is their wheels, unless you have a lightweight cordless vacuum. But just like anything that rolls on wheels, they can develop faults through wear and tear, and by receiving harsh impacts against skirting boards and furniture.

If you’ve noticed that your vacuum cleaner wheels are bumping, not spinning freely, wobbling, or making strange noises, then it’s probably time to look for replacements. Thankfully, vacuum cleaner wheels and brush pullies are fairly easy to replace at home, without any technical knowledge or special tools needed.

Wheel Replacement Guide

This process will vary slightly between models but should follow pretty much the same steps.

  • Large rear wheel will have a plastic center cover – remove this cover
  • Locate screw or bolt and center of wheel and unscrew
  • Slide the old wheel off
  • Slide the new wheel in and screw securly into place
  • Click plastic wheel cover back on

Replacing the smaller wheels at the front, usually located at either side of the rotating brush, will often pop out with a screwdriver. Although, you must check your manual, as there may be some screws involved that need removed.

Troubleshooting Vacuum Wheel Issues

If you’re finding your vacuum cleaner wheels are dragging, instead of rolling across the floor smoothly, the first thing to check is for hair, pet hair, or string wrapped around the axle. This is a very common issue, as your vacuum cleaner wheel roll across the floor, hairs and threads can easily get entangled around the wheel bearing, causing it to jam.

This is also one of the most common causes for brush pullies to fail and is the reason that Shark, for example, incorporated an “Anti Hair Wrap” system into their vacuum cleaner heads.

If you find this to be the problem, use scissors, a sharp craft knife, and tweezers to dislodge the blockage. If you noticed a wheel is damaged or broken or you have lost a wheel on the way, contact your manufacturer to have a replacement sent out, and following the steps in this guide, replace then yourself.

Remove Wheel Cover

Before starting any work, make sure your vacuum cleaner is unplugged from the mains. A vacuum cleaner head generally has two larger wheels, one on each side, and two smaller wheels. Sometimes they are under the brush, on the sides where the bristles stop, sometimes they are mounted on a small axle at the rear.

In the first case, be sure to unscrew the lower part of the brush to get better access to the wheels. In the second case, start by removing the plastic wheel cover from the wheel; use a flat head screwdriver to lift the lid pop the lid off.

Unscrewing The Wheels

As I mentioned, the wheels are generally fixed on an axle by a screw or bolt. Loosen the screw with a screwdriver (or whichever tool fits) and remove it. When the screw is removed, the wheel should slide right off, but you may need to use a little force.

Fitting The New Wheels

Before you get to this stage, you’ll have ordered the correct wheels for your vacuum cleaner. To fit the new wheel, simply take the before steps and do them in reverse – slide the new wheel into axle, secure with screw, and replace plastic cover – job done!

If your wheels had a cover, be careful when pressing this back into place, as you’ll need some pressure and if the fittings aren’t lined up properly, you could snap one of the fasteners.

Changing the Small Front Wheels

The large wheels at the back are easy to change and find faults with. However, the smaller wheels are the front, are fiddly, but they too can become entangled in hairs or damager. Although they won’t inhibit the vacuum cleaner from moving as much as the larger wheels, you may find them scraping across the floor which could damage laminate flooring.

Often a small wheel is mounted under the vacuum cleaner at the front, which can be swivelled in all directions. This wheel can also break or be blocked. To remove it, slide two flat screwdrivers into the cavity on either side of the wheel. Then use this as a lever to lift the bearings and wheel out of the holder.

Cut away and clean any obstructions, or replace if completely damaged. Install the new wheel exactly as the old wheel was installed. Push it in well and use your fingertips to see if it can rotate properly.

Now you’ve fixed your vacuum cleaner wheel problem, time to rock n “roll”!