Shark Vacuum Brush Not Spinning

Shark vacuums are highly effective machines for two reasons. Firstly, these vacuums have impressive suction power. But part of the overall effectiveness comes from the spinning brush roll that picks dirt up off the ground. So if you’re wondering why that brush roll is not spinning, you’ve come to the right place.

When a Shark vacuum brush roll is not spinning, the most likely reason is that it’s stuck because of hair or debris. The power switch that allows you to control it may have also failed. Besides that, the problem might be in the powerhead that houses the brush roll. A failed internal switch, wiring, motor, circuit board, and belt could stop the brush from spinning inside the powerhead.

Let’s take a deeper dive into each of those possibilities and what you can do to fix the problem.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Miele Vacuum Brush Is Not Spinning


Before performing any repairs on your Shark vacuum, be sure to disconnect it from its power source. That will eliminate any risk of electrocution for a more thorough clean and reduce your overall injury risk, especially when working with moving parts like the brush roll or its motor.

Jammed Vacuum Brush Roll

One of the most common reasons for a Shark vacuum brush to stop spinning is a clog or jam. As you continue using the vacuum, dust and dirt will build up around the brush. However, long strands of hair and dust will tangle around the brush.

At first, you might not notice that this is a problem. But if you allow it to continue without cleaning the powerhead, the entanglement will eventually become thick enough to prevent the brush from turning at all.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Miele Vacuum Powerhead Is Not Working

How to fix:

To fix this, first remove the powerhead from the rest of the vacuum. Doing this will allow you to place the powerhead on a suitable work surface and get a closer look at all the parts that need to be cleaned.

*Dyson Shown
  • You can clear most of the entanglements by cutting through them with a pair of scissors or a blade. This method is very effective at freeing lots of that trapped hair and dirt so that you can pick most of it out by hand.
  • Be careful when cutting through the dirt, however. You must avoid cutting the bristles on the brush or damaging any part of it.
  • You can open the power head’s soleplate and remove the brush entirely. That will give you access to all the nooks and crannies where dust might have collected.

Power Switch

On your Shark vacuum, you’ll find that there’s a power switch that controls the brush roll specifically. Just by pushing that button, you’ll be able to turn the brush roll on and off as needed.

How it fails:

Underneath the brush roll’s power switch is an actuator connected to the brush motor in the powerhead. This switch is designed to close the circuit and allow power to flow to the motor, making the brush roll spin.

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After being used countless times to turn the motor on and off, the actuator could become faulty and fail to work as it should. So, even though you press on the power switch, there might be no power being delivered to the motor in the powerhead.

As a result, the vacuum brush roll does not spin.

How to fix:

To fix this:

  • You will need to unthread the screws holding the vacuum’s outer cover in place. That will give you access to the inside of your Shark vacuum, so you can identify the switch that needs to be replaced.
  • Once you’ve gotten an exact replacement, installing it becomes very easy. Simply remove the existing switch and put the new one in place. Then, reconnect the wires the same way as before.

Damaged Brush Roll Belt

The brush roll is housed inside the powerhead, and it’s turned by a motor. That motor transfers its power to the brush roll through a rubber belt. Simply put, the motor turns the belt, which then turns the bar.

For this process to happen correctly, the belt must be in good condition and aligned correctly.

How it fails:

After a long time being used, that belt will experience plenty of wear and tear. Typically, the belt will crack and eventually break, or it will lose its ability to grip any of the moving parts it’s attached to.

When that happens, the brush roll will not spin even though the motor and other parts are in good working order.

How to fix:

A damaged brush roll belt is relatively straightforward to replace.

  • Firstly, you’ll need to take the powerhead apart from the rest of the vacuum, so that you can place it on a suitable work surface.
  • Then, unthread the screws so you can lift the top cover to gain access to the insides.
  • From there, you can simply lift out the brush roll and replace the damaged or worn-out belt.
  • Be sure to align it correctly onto the brush roll and the motor so that the belt grips both parts effectively.
  • Once that’s done, simply reattach the cover that you removed earlier.

Powerhead Internal Switch and Wiring

Earlier, we looked at the power switch that turns the brush roll motor on and off. However, there’s a second switch located inside the powerhead that does the same thing. This switch exists to ensure that the brush roll only spins when the vacuum handle is tilted back.

In other words, that switch will shut off the brush roll motor when the vacuum is left upright.

The switch is also connected to several wires, all of which are squeezed into a small section of the powerhead.

How it fails:

As we’ve seen earlier, long-term use of switches in your Shark vacuum can cause them to wear out. The switch inside your powerhead is no different.

If the brush roll is not spinning even when you tilt the vacuum back, the switch has likely become faulty. Besides that, the wiring for that switch could easily get crimped or twisted inside that tight space, which could cause power supply problems to the motor.

In either case, the result is the same: even when turned on, the motor will not receive the power it needs to turn the vacuum brush.

How to fix:

  • To fix this, you will need to unscrew the powerhead to remove its covers and gain access to the inside.
  • From there, you will be able to look for any crimped or twisted wiring to straighten out.
  • If you find that the switch is faulty, you can also replace it at the same time. That will only require removing the existing switch and rewiring the new one in its place.
  • Here, it’s crucial to be very careful when replacing the powerhead’s cover. Remember: crimping or twisting the wires inside could cause the problem to continue.

Brush Roll Motor

The brush roll is turned by a small motor housed inside the powerhead. The brush roll motor turns a rubber belt which transfers the energy to spin the brush roll. 

Related: 6 Reasons Why Miele Vacuum Is Not Turning On

The motor is powered by two switches. The first one is in the powerhead, and it turns the motor on whenever the vacuum is tilted backwards. The second switch is located at the vacuum controls, allowing the user to turn it on and off as needed.

How it fails:

Motors can burn out or wear out, which becomes more likely the older your Shark vacuum is. For example, if the brush roll is often jammed with dirt, the motor will have to work extra hard to keep the brush roll spinning continually

That could eventually lead to the motor burning out. Besides that, a Shark vacuum that has been in use for a long time would have a brush roll motor that’s experienced plenty of wear and tear. That could also cause the brush roll motor to fail.

How to fix:

Replacing the brush roll motor is very straightforward. Like many of the steps mentioned earlier, you’ll need to separate the powerhead and remove the top panel or cover.

  • From there, all you have to do is disconnect the motor from its electrical connectors and lift it out.
  • Once you’ve put the new motor in, you’ll need to reconnect its power supply.
  • Then, you will also need to wrap the belt around it and the brush bar, aligning it carefully.
  • Once the new motor is in place, replace the cover that you took off earlier.

Brush Roll Circuit Board

Another component inside the powerhead is the brush roll circuit board. It’s a board that houses several small electrical components which control the power supply to the brush roll motor.

How it fails:

Circuit boards are prone to failure either due to a short circuit, excessive heat or moisture, or general wear and tear. When this particular circuit board fails, it will prevent power from flowing to the motor. As a result, the vacuum brush bar will not spin as it should.

How to fix:

Fixing this will require similar steps to the parts mentioned earlier.

  • First, you must gain access to the inside of the powerhead by unscrewing the top cover.
  • Once that’s done, you’ll be able to see a small circuit board mounted in place and connected to several wires.
  • Remove the circuit board and mount its replacement, ensuring that you connect the wires the same way as before.
  • Then, you can reattach the powerhead cover and connect the part back to the rest of the Shark vacuum.

Vacuum Is On the Wrong Setting

You’re probably already aware, but your Shark vacuum comes with two built-in cleaning modes. One of the modes is for cleaning surfaces like tile and wood; this mode only uses the vacuum’s suction and not the brush roll. The other mode is for cleaning carpeting, and this mode uses both the suction and the brush roll.

Why It Fails:

Your Shark vacuum won’t automatically switch to carpet mode when you’re cleaning a carpet; you have to manually adjust it to this setting. This is done via a switch on the vacuum. It can sometimes be hard to figure out which cleaning mode you’re actually in, which is what leads to confusion and the assumption that the brush roll is not working.

How to Fix It:

Fortunately, all you need to do is switch your vacuum over to the right setting.

  • Your Shark vacuum should have an indicator light somewhere that tells you the state of your brush roll.
  • If the light is green, it means the brush roll is working fine; if the light is red or if the light doesn’t turn on at all, it means the brush roll has a problem.
  • If you’ve toggled back and forth between the two cleaning modes multiple times and the brush roll still isn’t spinning, it’s likely that there is an actual problem somewhere.

Suction Head Is Not Properly Attached

The suction head is, of course, the part of your vacuum that makes contact with the floor and sucks up the dirt. In a vacuum with a brush roll, the suction head contains its own motor for the brush roll, which obviously needs to be powered in order to work.

Why It Fails:

The suction head actually receives its power through the vacuum tube, which not only provides a passage between the suction head and the vacuum body but also delivers power via integrated wires. This means that if the suction head isn’t properly attached to the vacuum tube, it won’t be able to receive power.

How to Fix It:

In this case, you need to ensure that you’ve attached the suction head to the hose correctly.

  • Make sure that the hose is properly lined up with the suction head, and push it into place. The suction head should lock in place onto the hose if you do this correctly.

You should also check the contact points of the suction head and the hose to see if there’s anything there that could be interrupting the connection.

  • If the contact points look dirty, clean them as best you can and then try connecting the suction head to the hose again. 

Reader Comments (1)

  1. My shark vacuum model nv255 is making a horrible noise and the brush roll is not working. I have checked the belt and for obstructions and there seems to be no obstructions and the belt seems to be in fine no cracks or anything else. Please help! Thank you, Gretchen

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