Roombas are neat little robot vacuums that do an excellent job cleaning floors. But, what most people don’t realise is that a Roomba is more of a sweeper than a vacuum. That means it relies heavily on its spinning brushes to work correctly. So, what do you do when those brushes fail to spin?
When a Roomba has one or more brushes that fail to spin, first check that it’s not doing a Mapping Run. It won’t turn the brushes when it maps your home because it’s not yet cleaning. Besides that, dust clogs, worn-out gears, and motor issues can also prevent the brushes from spinning. Check the primary motor for the brush rollers and individual motors for the side brushes.
This guide will help you understand your Roomba’s brushes and the components that support them. You’ll discover why each component might fail and what you can do to get those brushes working again.
Why Aren’t My Roomba Brushes Spinning?
When you find that your Roomba brushes aren’t spinning, it’s not necessarily a sign of a problem.
In this section, you’ll discover the most likely reasons your Roomba brushes aren’t spinning, which parts are affected, and what you can do to resolve the issue.
Roomba Is On A Mapping Run
What that is: Your Roomba robot vacuum is a very smart device. It’ll perform what’s known as a ‘Mapping Run’ throughout your home when necessary.
The Roomba does that to learn the entire layout of the area it’ll clean. That way, it can clean it more effectively and efficiently once the Mapping Run is Complete.
What’s happening: When you see your Roomba exploring your home without its brushes turning, it’s likely on a Mapping Run. The Roomba doesn’t do any cleaning during that time, so it doesn’t spin its brushes.
Depending on the size of your home, the Roomba may return to its docking station to recharge before repeating the process. It will do so for however many times it takes to map the entire inside area of your home.
How to fix it: This isn’t a problem for your Roomba, so there’s nothing to fix. However, you must let the Roomba complete its Mapping Run before it can resume spinning its brushes and cleaning your home.
So, the best thing you can do is to leave the Roomba alone to finish its Mapping Run and ensure that nothing interferes with it.
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What’s happening: A Roomba robot vacuum deals with a lot of dirt and dust every day. In most cases, the Roomba’s brushes will help it pick up all that dirt without any problems.
Unfortunately, long strands of dirt and hair can often get stuck around those brushes. At first, those strands might slow the brushes down a little.
But as they grow to more severe buildups over an extended period, they can prevent the brushes from spinning.
Long strands typically wrap around the main brush rolls. But for the side brushes, the strands will get stuck underneath them instead.
How to fix it: Dust clogs are frustrating, but they’re very quick to solve. Firstly, remove the affected brush. You can do so by unclipping the housing that holds the brush rolls in place or unthreading the screws holding the side brushes instead.
Once you remove them, you can pull the strands of dirt away from the brushes by hand.
For more severe buildups, you can use a pair of scissors to cut through the dust buildup before removing the smaller parts with your fingers.
Be careful when using scissors, though. You don’t want to accidentally cut through the bristles on your Roomba’s brushes instead!
What that is: The brushes on your Roomba robot vacuum are powered by motors. However, those motors do not connect to the brushes directly.
Instead, the motors turn gears that transmit power to rotate the brushes. Those gears help to increase the Roomba’s cleaning efficiency by magnifying the motors’ output and turning the brushes faster and stronger.
What’s happening: Another likely reason that one or more of your Roomba’s brushes aren’t spinning is that the gears are worn out. The gears will gradually wear out with extended wear and tear and fail to spin the brushes effectively.
As that wear increases over an extended period, the gears will reach a point where they cannot turn the brushes.
So, even though the motor is working perfectly fine, none of its power will reach the brushes to spin them.
How to fix it: The gears are small plastic parts that you cannot repair. So, the only solution here is to replace them with new ones.
You can attempt to do it yourself at home as a DIY task. However, it’s often better to let a qualified Roomba repair technician do it for you instead.
What that is: As you’ve seen above, the brushes on your Roomba can only spin if there is power being generated by motors. One motor spins the brush bar, and another two provide power to the side brushes.
These motors receive power from the Roomba’s battery and generate power. Then, that power is transmitted to spin the brushes through several small gears.
What’s happening: Once you finish ruling out the first two issues above, it’s time to troubleshoot the motors.
The motor is likely jammed, burnt out, or has experienced an electrical problem preventing it from producing power.
Again, there are two types of motors onboard your Roomba. First, you’ll have to inspect the one that powers the brush that’s failing to spin.
For example, each side brush has a motor that you can remove and inspect. Those motors are responsible for spinning the brush attached to and do not affect any other brushes.
However, let’s assume the counter-rotating brush rolls in the center aren’t spinning. In that case, you’ll want to check the Roomba’s main motor instead.
How to fix it: The solution to this problem will depend on the root cause.
Firstly, inspect the motor for any clogs or jams. Your Roomba cleans up all the dirt on your floors, so dirt might have gotten stuck in or around the motor causing it to jam.
That’s especially true with long strands of dirt or hair that get stuck in the Roomba’s moving parts.
If that’s the case, you can gently pull the dirt out by hand.
However, if you notice signs that the motor is burned out or has experienced an electrical fault, you’ll have to replace it with a new one. These signs can include burn marks or burn smells.
You can double-check using a multimeter to test the motor for electrical continuity. For example, if there were a short-circuit or something like that, the motor would no longer have electrical continuity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few more questions and answers that’ll help you troubleshoot your Roomba when its brushes aren’t spinning:
How Do I Fix My Roomba Brushes Not Spinning?
You can fix a Roomba’s brushes by troubleshooting three items. Firstly, check that there are no long strands of dirt trapped around or under the brushes. Then, check that its gears and bearings are in excellent working order. Lastly, consider that the brush motor might have failed.
How Do I Make My Roomba Brush Spin?
You do not have to do anything to make your Roomba brush spin. The robot vacuum will spin the brushes automatically when it begins cleaning. If the Roomba is turned on and moving without the brushes spinning, that means it’s doing a Mapping Run and not yet cleaning.
Does A Roomba Work Without Brushes?
Yes, a Roomba will work without brushes, but not very effectively. A Roomba is more of a sweeper and less of a vacuum. That means it relies heavily on its brushes to sweep up the dirt so its vacuum can suck it into the bin. Without the brushes, that process becomes ineffective.
Why Does My Roomba Not Picking Up Dirt?
When your Roomba fails to pick up dirt despite all of its parts working correctly, it’s likely because there’s not enough suction. Unfortunately, that means the bin is full of dust or one or more of its filters is dirty.
Empty the bin and clean each filter thoroughly so that the Roomba can resume picking up dirt effectively.
How Long Do Roomba Rollers Last?
A Roomba’s rollers will last at least 9 months. Of course, that will depend on how much wear it experiences. For example, cleaning a dirty environment frequently will wear out the roller quicker. On the other hand, regular maintenance and cleaning could help the roller last longer before you need to purchase a replacement.