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Why Is My Vacuum Smoking: 4 Ways to Fix it (2024)

If your vacuum produces smoke, it’s not always the damaged motor.

Factors like a clogged brush roller or damage to the belt might be the reason for the smoke. In most cases, one can fix a vacuum just by replacing its belt and cleaning its roller. Smoke from a vacuum also indicates oil vapors escaping out. In this case, you’ve nothing to worry about. 

Continue reading for a detailed guide on why is my vacuum smoking with practical troubleshooting in 2024.

👨‍🏭How To Fix a Smoking Vacuum: Troubleshooting

Reason How To Fix 
Damaged Belt Inspect the cause, replace the belt and be careful ahead. 
Burn Out Motor Get the motor fixed by an authorized repair shop for vacuum cleaners, or replace it.
Clogged Brush Roller/Hose Clean the brush roller and vacuum hose regularly or replace them.
Normal functioning of Oil-Sealed Mechanical PumpClean and change the internal oil mist separator components.
Also Read: Why My Dyson Smells Weird

👎Reason #1: Damaged Belt (with Fix)

If a vacuum’s belt is damaged, it may produce smoke. This is because the belt helps clean surfaces by rotating the roller brush continuously whenever you use the vacuum.

Therefore, any damage to the belt will cause mechanical damage to the vacuum. 

🤷‍♂️How It Happens

Wear and tear to the vacuum belt due to long-term usage is quite common.

The belt might get out of position, stretched, burned, or cracked. Such belt problems are generally the root cause of vacuum smoking. It can also be a manufacturing defect if it’s a new vacuum cleaner

🔧How To Fix

  • If the belt is displaced and undamaged, align it to its correct position.
  • If the belt is damaged, replace it immediately.

❗Tips/Warnings

  • If there is a burning smell, the belt is likely damaged.
Also Read: What Can I Use Instead Of A Vacuum Belt

🔥Reason #2: Burn-Out Motor (with Fix)

Motors are an integral part of the mechanics of the vacuum and the suction power generating source. As a result, they tend to get damaged with long-term usage. 

Also, if you have used your cleaner for 3-4 hours straight, the motor might not be able to produce the output power needed for further cleaning. 

🤷‍♀️How It Happens

When a motor has been overused/used over a long period (years mainly), its power output diminishes. As a result, it might stop functioning or burn out.

Using the vacuum with such a problem puts too much load on the device, resulting in smoking.

🔧How To Fix

  • Contact the respective company to see if they can fix the issue.
  • Change the motor if the damage is beyond repair.

❕Tips/warnings

  • If an old vacuum suddenly stops working, the cause may be a damaged motor.
Also Read: Why Is My Vacuum Spitting Dirt?

😢Reason #3: Clogged Brush Roller/Hose (with Fix)

It may come as a surprise, but a simple thing, such as a clogged or broken brush roller, can cause a motor to smoke. If the roller can’t roll properly, it puts pressure on the mechanical unit of the vacuum.

🤷‍♂️How It Happens:

If there are objects lodged (dust and other debris) between the brush roller and the belt, it hinders their motion. Due to this, the load the motor puts on the belt causes physical damage to the belt. It’s the same for a broken or faulty brush roller. 

🔧How To Fix:

  • Clear the roller of any debris until it is free to move unhindered.
  • You may need to change the roller if it is broken or faulty.
  • Check if the belt has worn out and replace it if necessary.

❗Tips/Warnings:

  • Unaddressed regions can be around a roller where dirt, hair, lint, carpet fiber, and debris get caught.
Also Read: Why Does My Shark Keep Stopping

🛢️Reason #4: Normal Functioning of Oil-Sealed Mechanical Pump (with Fix)

Normal Functioning of Oil-Sealed Mechanical Pump

If your vacuum is functioning correctly, but you see the vacuum pump smoking, it is most likely the natural oil discharge from it in the form of vapors. As more air enters through the pump, more oil mist is produced. 

🤷‍♀️How It Happens:

It is a part of the normal functioning of an oil-sealed mechanical vacuum pump to release oil vapor as a part of its working process.

🔧How To Fix:

  • In this case, you may rest easy as there is nothing to be fixed. 
  • If you notice heavy smoke coming, clean the oil mist separator components. If required, replace them.

❕Tips/Warnings:

  • If the smoke smells like burnt plastic or rubber, even if your vacuum is new, address it immediately by checking if the belt is damaged.

✅How To Prevent Vacuum Smoking & Burning Smell

Follow these tips to prevent smoking/burning smell in your vacuum: 

  • Make it a habit to regularly clean the brush roller, vacuum bag, or tank.
  • Make sure any debris is not clogging the roller. If you notice the roller moving roughly, check if any hair or strands obstruct its movement.
  • Keep a tab on the usage of the vacuum. Instead of cleaning the entire room at once, do it in phases giving 10-15 minute breaks. It’ll prevent overheating due to an overworked motor. 
  • Check your vacuum belt once every few weeks. You may be able to point out a belt displaced from its position before it causes any further damage.
  • You could get your motor fixed in case of a significant drop in power over time (years), which exerts more pressure on the device. 
  • Remember to change the air filter of your vacuum cleaner once every year. If the device contains a HEPA filter, it should be replaced every 6 to 8 months.

💡Why Is My Vacuum Smoking: FAQs

Why does my vacuum smell like it’s burning?

If your vacuum smells like it is burning, it is most likely due to a damaged belt. The belt is made of rubber and will smell like burnt rubber when it suffers damage.

Is it normal for a vacuum to smoke?

Don’t be concerned if a new vacuum starts smoking and has no issue with its parts. 

It’s normal for a vacuum with an oil mist separator to release oil vapors. You may clean or replace oil mist separator components, including the oil reservoir, if needed. 

Note: There is a noticeable difference between smoke due to mechanical malfunction and oil vaporization.

What do you do if your vacuum starts smoking?

You first need to identify the problem. Then, it’s recommended to unclog the brush roller and make sure it moves unhindered.

The second thing to check is the condition of the belt. If neither is damaged, then you should check the motor. Purchase a replacement belt or change any damaged parts to fix smoking problems.

What happens if your vacuum overheats?

If a vacuum overheats because of its motor, it may completely stop working. The mechanical parts within the vacuum may also get damaged due to the excess load. As a result, there could also be a burning odor.

How do I stop my vacuum from overheating?

You should not use your vacuum for 3-4 hours in one go. Also, maintain the vacuum parts in good condition to avoid unnecessary heat from the machine.

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