Why Roomba Vacuum Side Brush is Not Spinning? – Troubleshooting Guide

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The Roomba robot vacuum combines sweeping and suction to clean your floors effectively. That sweeping is done with a combination of brushes, including the side brushes on each front corner of the device. These brushes are meant to spin continually, but what happens if they don’t?

When the Roomba side brush isn’t spinning, it’s possible that the device is exploring your home and performing a Mapping Run. The Roomba isn’t cleaning during this process, so it doesn’t spin its side brushes. Besides that, the brush gears might be worn out, its motor might be burnt, or the brushes are entangled with hair and dirt strands.

Troubleshooting the Roomba’s side brushes isn’t as difficult as it might seem at first. This guide will show you what each affected part does, why it fails, and how you can fix it.

You’ll have those Roomba side brushes spinning again in no time!

Why Are The Side Brushes Not Spinning On A Roomba?

The side brushes are integral parts of your Roomba. Here are the most likely reasons they’re not spinning and what you can do to fix each one:

Roomba Is Exploring Your Home

What’s happening: Firstly, is your Roomba new, or have you reset it lately? There’s a strong likelihood that the Roomba is exploring your home if it is. This process is known as the ‘Mapping Run’, and it happens when your Roomba is trying to map out the areas that it’ll clean later.

Once the Roomba finishes mapping your home, it can clean it more efficiently and effectively.

Here’s the thing about the Mapping Run: the Roomba isn’t cleaning the floor during this process. So, it does not spin the side brushes or its main brush until the process is complete.

How to fix it: In this case, the Roomba doesn’t have a problem. It simply hasn’t begun cleaning your floor yet, so it doesn’t need to spin the side brushes.

The best thing you can do is allow the Roomba to finish the Mapping Run without any interference. For example, if you have a large home, the Roomba might return to its dock to recharge before continuing the mapping process.

It’ll start spinning the side brushes when it’s ready to clean.

Read: Roomba Robot Vacuum Battery Troubleshooting

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Worn-Out Gears 

About this part: The side brushes are powered by individual modules inside the Roomba’s main body. Each module consists of a small motor and several gears that provide power to the brushes, spinning them at the correct speed and torque necessary for the cleaning process.

What’s happening: Another common problem with Roomba side brushes is that the gears inside the modules tend to wear out after a while. As a result, the gears’ teeth grind down until they’re no longer there.

The motor will continue to run when that happens, but none of its power is transmitted to the side brush.

As a result, the side brushes will fail to spin.

How to fix it: The solution to this problem is to replace the affected gear if you can get a replacement. If that’s not possible, you’ll have to purchase a new side-brush module and replace the whole set.

By removing the Roomba battery and unscrewing the bottom panel, you can do that. 

The replacement process is very straightforward. You just have to remove the module and slide the new one in.

Read: Why Is My Roomba’s Battery Not Charging?

Motor Burned Out

About this part: Each of the side brushes on your Roomba has a dedicated motor. The motor is part of the module that also houses the gears you learned about in the previous section.

The onboard battery electrically powers the motor. So as the motor turns, it’ll turn the gears that cause the side brush to spin in the correct direction.

What’s happening: The side brush motors work continuously whenever you set the Roomba to clean your floors. Unfortunately, that means it experiences a lot of wear throughout its lifespan.

Unfortunately, the motor can experience excess wear if it can’t spin the side brush smoothly. For example, a dirt side brush will make it more challenging to spin the brush, thereby overloading the motor.

The motor will overheat and burn out when that happens for too long. At that point, it won’t be able to spin the side brush at all.

How to fix it: Unfortunately, the only solution for a burned-out side brush motor is to replace it entirely. As mentioned above, the motor is part of the side brush module that includes the gears.

So, you’ll have to purchase a new module to replace the existing one.

On the plus side, replacing the module is incredibly straightforward. First, you have to remove the existing one and slide the replacement into the same part of your Roomba.

Read: Flashing Lights On A Shark Vacuum: Troubleshooting Guide

Entangled Side Brushes

About this part: The Roomba robot vacuum has two side brushes on either side, close to its front. The purpose of the side brushes is to sweep dirt towards the middle of the Roomba so that the primary brush rollers can pick up the dirt and suck it into the bin on board.

In many cases, the side brushes are the first part of the Roomba that touches the dirt and dust on your floors.

What’s happening: The side brushes on your Roomba have no problems sweeping loose pieces of dirt and debris. However, long strands of dirt and hair will be a problem.

Remember: the side brushes attach to the Roomba with a screw. That means there’s a tiny gap between the spinning brush and the Roomba’s body.

Over an extended period, long hair strands and dirt will find their way into that gap and wrap around the side brush’s base.

At first, those strands might only cause a bit of resistance that slows down the side brushes. Then, unfortunately, the strands will build up and entangle the side brush entirely. At that point, the side brush can’t turn at all.

If this problem is left unresolved for too long, it could also cause issues with the brush motor.

How to fix it: When you notice that the side brushes won’t spin, turn the Roomba over and inspect the brushes closely. You might find that hair or dirt is sticking up from underneath the brush.

You can clean it by unthreading the screw that holds the brush in place. Then, as you lift the brush, you can clean away any dirt entangled underneath it.

Then, reattach the side brush and ensure that it’s working. If the motor still works and the brush spins without any problems, you’ve successfully resolved this issue.

Read: How To Clean Shark Vacuum?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few additional questions and answers to help you troubleshoot your Roomba’s side brushes when they don’t spin:

Is Roomba Side Brush Supposed To Spin All The Time?

Yes, the Roomba side brushes are supposed to spin when the vacuum is cleaning your floors. However, the side brushes will only stop spinning when the Roomba is not cleaning, like when it performs a Mapping Run by exploring your home.

How Do I Fix The Side Brush-On My Roomba?

You can fix the side brush on your Roomba by removing the brush or the module that spins it. You can remove the brush to free any dirt or hair strands entangled underneath. However, if there’s a problem with the motor or gears, you’ll have to replace the module to get the brush working again.

How Often Should You Replace Roomba Side Brush?

Depending on how hard your Roomba works, you might have to replace the side brush every 6-12 months. Of course, that will depend on the condition of the brush. If it wears out sooner, you should replace it to keep the Roomba working optimally. However, if the brush is still in excellent condition, you can continue using it.

Why Does My Roomba Not Have Suction?

Suction loss in a Roomba is caused by a dirty filter or a full bin. So firstly, empty the bin and clean it as best as you can. At the same time, remove and clean the air filters as well. That should restore the Roomba’s suction. The manufacturer recommends cleaning the filter once a week (or twice, if you have pets) and replacing the filter every two months.

How Do I Reset My Roomba?

You can reset your Roomba by pressing and holding the Clean button for 20 seconds or through the iRobot HOME App if you have it. Alternatively, you can do it through a process called power cycling. Simply remove the battery from the Roomba and leave it alone for 5 minutes before putting the battery back.

Read: Why Miele Vacuum Smells Bad?

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