While gas dryers and electric dryers use different systems to produce heat, both rely on the rotation of the dryer drum to successfully dry your clothes. The continuous rotation of the drum during operation tumbles the clothing, towels, or bedsheets so the heated air blowing through the drum will dry the load more evenly. The key component responsible for drum rotation is the dryer drum belt.
How Does a Dryer Drum Belt Work?
The dryer belt goes around the outside of the drum and is looped onto a drive pulley attached to the dryer motor shaft which drives the belt, and around an idler pulley which applies tension to the belt. This tension is what causes the belt to grip the outside of the drum in order to rotate it. If the drum is overloaded, or if a drum roller, glide, bearing, or pulley fails, the belt may begin to slip. Over time, the belt can fray and, eventually, break. When the belt breaks, you may still hear the motor running, but the drum will not rotate. On some dryer models, a broken belt will activate a belt switch that will prevent the motor from running.
Replacing the Dryer Drum Belt
Not all dryer drum belts are the same; they will often vary depending on the model. Popular brands include Maytag dryer belts, Kenmore dryer belts, Whirlpool dryer belts, and GE dryer belts. You’ll want to make sure you purchase the specific replacement drum belt that fits your model.
Replacing the drum belt will require you to disassemble the dryer cabinet. This process will be different for each model, but you can use these steps as a general guide.
- Unplug the appliance’s power cord to prevent shock.
- Unthread the screws to remove the dryer’s top panel or lift the panel up and support it (this may require detaching the dryer control panel first).
- Remove the dryer’s front panel or panels. You will often need to disconnect a door switch wire before you can fully remove the front panel.
- Some dryer models will have a bulkhead behind the front panel which supports the drum. Remove any braces and disconnect any sensor wire connecters then uninstall the bulkhead.
- You can now reach under the drum and depress the idler pulley to release the tension of the old belt (if still intact) then detach the belt from the idler pulley and motor drive pulley.
- Slide the old belt over the front of the drum to remove.
- Slide the new belt over the drum. Most dryer models require the grooved-side of the belt to be facing inward to grip the drum.
- Loop the belt on the idler pulley and drive pulley in a zig-zag formation (Repair Clinic.com has some handy diagrams which illustrate how to do this for different dryer models).
- Rotate the drum by hand to help align the new belt.
- Reinstall the front bulkhead on the cabinet frame making sure the drum is properly positioned on the bulkhead. Reconnect any sensor wires and replace any braces or supports to secure the bulkhead.
- Reinstall the front panel or panels, making sure to reconnect the door switch wire connecter if necessary.
- Reinstall the top panel and control panel as required.
- With the reassembly complete, plug the power cord back in.
Find the Right Dryer Belt with Repair Clinic
To find the right dryer drum belt that fits your dryer, type the full model number of the dryer into the Repair Clinic.com search bar. The website stocks Whirlpool dryer belts, Kenmore dryer belts, GE dryer belts, Maytag dryer belts, and more, but you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing the belt that is the exact match for your model.