Shark Vacuum Troubleshooting

Shark has been producing high-quality vacuums since the early 1990s. Still, their vacuum models suffer from problems from time to time. Not to worry, though. Shark vacuums are pretty straightforward to troubleshoot.

A common problem you might face with a Shark vacuum is that it won’t turn on, so check that it has incoming power. Clogs could cause it to have weak or no suction or to overheat and shut off automatically. Brushrolls on powerhead models will stop spinning if it’s entangled with long strands of dirt and hair. The suction motor can also fail if dust or water comes in.

Let’s explore these common problems and the solutions you can use when troubleshooting your Shark vacuum.


When troubleshooting and repairing your Shark vacuum, always remember to disconnect it from its power source. That will reduce your overall injury risk and protect your fingers, especially when working with moving parts.

Won’t Turn On or Has No Power

A common issue that you might face with a Shark vacuum is that it won’t turn on, i.e. it has no power. The most likely reason for this is a lack of an incoming power supply.

For example, if you’re using a corded Shark vacuum, it’s possible that:

However, if you’re using a cordless Shark vacuum model, then the reasons behind a lack of power are quite different. 

For cordless models, the possibilities include:

  • The battery isn’t fully charged.
  • The battery is damaged.
  • The charger for that battery is not working.

How to fix it:

Regardless of the Shark model you have, it’s crucial to troubleshoot the problem in an organized way. Firstly, check to make sure that your house isn’t experiencing any power supply disruptions.

Then, check the main electrical box to ensure that all circuit breakers are turned on and that the wall sockets you’re using are indeed working.

Connect with an Appliance Repair Tech

Click here to use the chatbox to speak with one of our technicians.
No in-home service calls. No appointments.

For corded models:

If the power cable is damaged or a fuse has blown on a corded model, then you will need to have it replaced. 

For cordless models:

If the battery or charger is damaged (e.g. cracked), you will need to purchase a replacement. Also, remember that the battery needs enough time to charge completely. For example, the average charging time for a Shark vacuum battery is 2.5 hours, but this can differ depending on the model. So, refer to the user manual to be sure.

Weak or No Suction

Another common problem you might experience is a loss of suction, perhaps to the point that there is no suction at all. For a vacuum to work correctly, there must be smooth airflow through all of the machine’s airways.

Those airways include the powerhead, metal wand, and hoses. Air must also flow smoothly past filters and out of the vacuum’s exhaust.

If there is a loss or lack of suction, that happens because something is obstructing those airways.

Related: Shark Vacuum Suction Problems

The most likely cause is a blockage inside one of those airways that must be removed. The blockage could be caused by a buildup of dirt, dust, or small pieces of fabric like socks or a washcloth.

*Dyson Shown

How to fix it:

Fixing this problem is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is locate the blockage and remove it. The quickest way to do that is to disconnect the vacuums’ attachments and inspect them one at a time. A flashlight will help you do this task more effectively.

When you find a blockage, push or pull it out. Then, for a more thorough clean, brush the inside of the attachment to remove any leftover dirt.

Shutting Off By Itself

If you ever experience your Shark vacuum shutting off by itself, that’s a sign that it’s overheating. 

Inside the vacuum is a motor thermostat that senses the machine’s temperature. When the temperature rises too much, the device will shut off power to the motor and protect it from damaging itself further.

Once that happens, you will only be able to turn the vacuum on again after it has cooled down completely.

Still, overheating is a symptom and not the root cause. The most likely cause for this problem is a blockage in the vacuum, causing the motor to overwork itself.

How to fix it:

Firstly, it’s important to remember that the vacuum will not turn on again until it completely cools down. So, there’s no need to try and turn it on as the vacuum will have no power.

In the meantime, you will need to search for the blockage that caused it to overheat in the first place.

Here are the parts that you will need to check:

  • The powerhead, especially around the air inlet.
  • Any hoses and wands.
  • The vacuum’s filters (e.g. the air inlet or HEPA filter, pre-motor filter, and exhaust filter).

If you’ve ruled out all of the parts mentioned above and the problem persists, then the blockage may be inside the motor itself. Opening the motor is not a safe DIY task to perform at home, so you will need to contact Shark customer service (especially if you’re still under warranty) or a qualified vacuum technician.

Brush Roll Won’t Spin

Many Shark vacuum models feature a powerhead with a brush roll. The brush roll spins to lift dirt off the ground, making it easier for the vacuum to suck it all in.

On these models, a common problem is when the brush roll will not spin. Unfortunately, that can be quite a problem, as it will make it much more challenging to vacuum your floors.

Related: Shark Vacuum Brush Not Spinning

A brush roll that fails to spin can be caused by several reasons, including:

  • Entanglements: Typically, the brush roll will sweep up loose dirt to be sucked in by the vacuum. However, long strands of dirt and hair will entangle around the brush instead of going into the vacuum. These strands can become thick enough to prevent the brush roll from spinning at all.
  • Failed internal switch: Shark vacuums, particularly upright models, have a switch inside the powerhead that controls the brush roll motor. Simply put, the motor will only switch on when the vacuum is tilted backwards and will stop when it is left upright. If that switch fails, the brush roll will not spin even when the vacuum is tilted backwards.
  • Faulty Control board: Inside the powerhead is a control board connected to the internal switch mentioned above and the motor. It controls the power supply to the motor, so if it becomes faulty, the brush roll won’t spin.
  • Damaged Belt: To brush roll is connected to the motor with a small rubber belt. The motor transfers its energy by turning the belt, which then spins the brush roll. Over time, the belt can become cracked or worn out, preventing it from turning the brush roll successfully.
  • Failed Motor: Assuming all of the other possibilities above have been ruled out, it’s then likely that the motor itself has failed. To be clear, we are referring to the small motor housed in the powerhead and not the vacuum’s suction motor. When that motor stops working, the brush roll will not spin at all.

How to fix it:

If the brush roll is entangled with dirt and hair, you must first clean it thoroughly. You can use a pair of scissors to cut through thick buildups, but be careful not to damage the bristles on the brush roll.

*Dyson Shown

If the problem is caused by a failed internal switch, control board, belt, or motor, the part will need to be replaced. This task is very straightforward to do.

  • First, you’ll need to open the soleplate, which will give you access to all of the parts inside.
  • When replacing the switch, control board, or motor, note how the wires are attached.
  • You will need to reattach those wires the same way when you put the replacement part in.

Suction Motor Doesn’t Work

Last but not least, another problem you might face with a Shark vacuum is that the suction motor stops working. This is a problem that is easy to misdiagnose as other problems.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Shark Vacuum Is Making Noise

For example, a failed motor can present the following symptoms:

  • The vacuum has no power or won’t turn on.
  • The vacuum has little or no suction.
  • A burning smell or popping sound is coming from the motor.

These could happen due to general wear and tear or if dust or water has somehow been sucked into the motor itself.

How to fix it:

Unfortunately, the suction motor cannot be repaired. It can only be replaced. To do that:

  • You will need to unthread the screws holding the vacuum’s cover in place.
  • Once the cover is removed, you will access the vacuum’s internal parts, including the motor.
  • Firstly, take note of the motor’s electrical connections. It would be beneficial to take a photo of them to act as a reference later on.
  • Once you’ve done that, you can remove the wires and pull the suction motor out.
  • Put the new motor in its place, then reconnect the electrical wires the same way as before.
  • Then, work your way backwards by replacing the cover and securing it in place with its screws. Protection Status