Roomba Brush Not Spinning — Troubleshooting & Maintenance Guide

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Roomba Brush Not Spinning - Why It Happens & What You Can Do to Fix It

Dec 08, 2021
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As well-built and reliable as most Roombas are, they may run into technical issues from time to time. One of the more common ones being the infamous Roomba brush not spinning problem.

Today, we’ll be showing you how to troubleshoot and fix the Roomba brush not spinning issue from right at home!

The Roomba’s brushes could occasionally malfunction and fail to spin

The Roomba’s brushes could occasionally malfunction and fail to spin Via: Amazon

Why Is the Brush on My Roomba Not Spinning?

There are many different reasons for this. It also depends on which brush you’re referring to. Most Roombas come with two brushes: a roller brush at the center and a side brush. We’ll show you how to fix each one.

Roomba Roller Brush Not Spinning: Troubleshooting & Fixes

The Roomba’s roller brushes are the large, cylindrical brushes at the center of the robot. One has rubber tips and the other one has bristles.

A Roomba has two roller brushes that you need to maintain periodically

A Roomba has two roller brushes that you need to maintain periodically Via: Amazon

Their job is to agitate stubborn stains and caked-in dirt on both floors and carpets. After some time, pet hair and dirt may clog up the brushes, causing them to stop working. In that case, you have to dismantle and clean them.

How to Dismantle and Clean the Roller Brush

First, put the Roomba on a flat surface such as the floor or a table. Turn it upside down so that you get a full look at its underbelly.

Look at the cylindrical brushes at the center of the robot. Holding them in place would be a brush guard. Grab the two levers at the corner of the brush guard (they should be painted yellow) and pull. This will release the guard and allow you to remove the brushes.

Grab onto each brush at the corner. On one side of the brush, there will be a yellow bearing. You only need to lift up the brush by the bearing and it will smoothly come out of the robot. Repeat this with the second brush.

Now you can get to cleaning!

Start first with the bearing. Take off the yellow plastic cap and clean any dirt or hair that’s stuck inside. Since there isn't anything for the hair or dirt to hold onto, this should be quick.

After that, move onto the brush itself. This part is going to be trickier. Hair tends to wrap themselves tightly around the brush, so you will need to yank on them hard to get them out. If the hair is wrapped too tight, you can use a razor blade or a pair of scissors to cut them loose.

Repeat with the other brush until both brushes are clean.

Revert the process to put both brushes back into their place within the robot. Give the Roomba a test run to see if the brushes are spinning back up again.

The problem with the center roller brushes is that this is the only easy way to fix it if it was to stop spinning. If you do all of the above and the brushes still refuse to spin, you may have to send the Roomba in for a check-up. The problems are much deeper inside the robot and most people won’t have the tools or the know-hows to fix it properly.

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Roomba Side Brush Not Spinning: Troubleshooting & Fixes

The side brush is the spinning brush that’s mounted off to the side of the robot. It helps the robot reach into tiny corners in the house and take out built-up dirt within. The side brush is also used by the robot to clean your walls’ baseboards.

Over time, the side brush may refuse to spin for a variety of reasons. When it happens, the result is the infamous Roomba corner brush not spinning problem. For your ease of troubleshooting, the following are the two most common reasons for them to stop spinning.

The Brush Module Is Jammed

This is, by far, the most popular reason why your Roomba’s side brush refuses to spin. So, when it happens, check this one out, first.

The brush module could be clogged up by dirt, preventing it from working properly

The brush module could be clogged up by dirt, preventing it from working properly Via: Amazon

As the vacuum works and sweeps up dirt and debris, some of them might become stuck inside of the brush. Once the brush has been jammed, it will refuse to spin any further.

This problem is especially prevalent in households with pets. Pet hair can easily weave itself into the brush, tangling up into thick knots, and jam the brush. 

The fix is simple enough: dismantle the brush module and clean it up. Detailed instructions are as follows.

How to Dismantle and Clean Side Brush

The side brush is held in place on the underside of the robot by a single screw at the center. You can use a standard Phillips screwdriver to take it off.

Once the screw has been loosened, grab the brush and pull it right out of the robot’s chassis.

Clean up any dirt, debris, or hair that you can find on the spokes. Check the cavity that the brush sits in, too. Dust particles may have infiltrated the cavity and clogged it up, preventing the brush from spinning properly.

Once everything has been cleaned, put the brush back into its mounting point and screw back on the retention screw. Test the robot to see if the Roomba front brush not spinning issue has been fixed.

Remove the brush itself from the motor and clean thoroughly to unjam

Remove the brush itself from the motor and clean thoroughly to unjam Via: Amazon

The Side Brush Gearbox Is Dirty

The gearbox is an essential component of the Roomba. It is what allows the side brush to spin. Therefore, if there’s anything that’s wrong with the gearbox, your brush won’t spin, too.

Because the gearbox is also placed on the underside of the Roomba, when the robot works, dirt may also infiltrate the part and clog it up. When this happens, remove the gearbox and clean it inside and out. Fortunately, the process is quite simple.

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How to Dismantle and Clean the Gearbox

The gearbox is hidden behind the cover plate that hides most of the critical components on the underside of the robot. As a result, the first step is to remove this plate.

In order to remove the plate, you first have to take off the side brush (refer to earlier instructions). After that, use your Phillips screwdriver to take off all the other screws that pin the plate in place. Once all relevant screws are removed, the plate will fall off easily and reveal the components underneath, including the gearbox.

The gearbox is the part where your side brush was previously attached to. It is very easy to find.

In most models, the gearbox is pinned in place using two retention screws. Take these off, and it should come off.

Next, there is an extra screw right on top of the gearbox. It holds the gearbox cover in place, which serves to protect the sensitive gears inside. Take this one off, too, to reveal the gears.

Clean each gear with a dry cloth. The gears are very delicate, so do try to be extra careful. Remove every hint of dust and debris within the gearbox.

In addition to clearing up all the gunks in the gearbox, we also recommend that you lubricate it, as well. Use WD-40 or similar brands and apply a small amount on each gear. Make sure that you don’t use so much oil that the gearbox begins to drip.

Revert the process to reassemble the gearbox and put it back into place. Test the robot to see if the Roomba brush not spinning problem has been rectified.

➜ RELATED: How Do I Know If My Roomba Is Charging: Detailed User's Guide    

How to Properly Maintain Roomba’s Brushes?

Fixing isn’t as great as preventing. By maintaining your Roomba’s brushes properly, you will be able to minimize the amount of issues that they run into over time. Additionally, you will also be able to extract more life out of the parts before they become too worn-down and need replacing.

Roombas are very durable, but they need proper maintenance to last

Roombas are very durable, but they need proper maintenance to last Via: Amazon

Maintaining the brushes is really simple. At least once a month, flip the robot upside down and begin to clean up the brushes like previously instructed. You don’t even need to do a thorough clean. Just pick up any large debris pieces or hair strands weaved around the brushes’ bristles and spokes.

Once every six months, dismantle the brushes and give them a full-scale clean up.

Stick to this schedule and your Roomba should never run into problems such as Roomba brushes not spinning.

How to Replace the Roomba Brushes

If the brushes refuse to spin because they are broken, then you will have to replace them. Don’t worry, replacing parts is a normal procedure. As a matter of fact, iRobot recommends replacing the brushes once every 6 to 12 months, depending on how heavily you use the robot.

The replacement process is easy enough. You can find instructions right below.

Replacing the Roller Brushes

Grab hold of the yellow release tabs on the brush guard and pull upward. Once the frame has been lifted, lift the roller brushes up using the yellow-colored bearing to one side. They should slide smoothly out of their spots.

While you’re at it, give the brush chamber a careful inspection. Clean it from any lingering dust, dirt, and debris. You don’t want the new brushes to immediately clog up just a few minutes after they’re put in.

Install the new roller brushes, then revert the process above to finish the installation.

➜ RELATED: What You Need To Know About Roomba’s Battery Life    

Replacing the Side Brush

To replace the side brush when your iRobot side brush not spinning, the first step is to remove the old brush from the robot. Like before, use a Phillips screwdriver to take off the retention screw holding the brush to the robot. Then, pull it out and discard it.

Put the new brush into the slot. Screw it in and you’re finished!

Other Issues You May Run Into As a Roomba Owner

In a perfect world, your Roomba will only run into brush problems every once in a while. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. There are so many other problems that your robot may face after some time working.

So, in this bonus segment, we’re going to explore some other common technical issues that a Roomba could face!

Roomba Not Connecting to WiFi

Many Roomba models now come with a WiFi module. It allows your robot to talk to your smartphone via the Internet. With iRobot’s special control app, you can control the robot from afar. It gives you the ability to remotely start a cleaning session, change the cleaning schedule, and more.

The Wifi module on your Roomba is the gateway to some super convenient smart functions

The Wifi module on your Roomba is the gateway to some super convenient smart functions Via: Amazon

Needless to say, if your robot suddenly stops connecting with your WiFi one day, it could be really annoying. When this happens, there will be a pop-up on your phone with the message: “There was a problem connecting to the Robot. Sorry. Please retry.”

To fix it, the first step is to make sure that the Roomba and the Home Base (the docking port) are within your WiFi router’s range.

Next, check the robot itself. All models that come with WiFi connectivity will have a special WiFi status light on it. Make sure that the status light is blinking green. If it’s not, you should try rebooting the robot.

Rebooting Roomba S-series

For Roomba S-series robots, press and hold the large CLEAN button at the center of the robot for 20 seconds. Then, release the button. The light around the button should begin to blink and swirl. That’s a good sign: the robot has begun its rebooting procedure.

Wait for around a minute or two until the light shuts off. That’s when you know that the rebooting process has completed.

Open up your iRobot’s HOME app on your phone. Reconnect to the robot.

➜ RELATED:  How To Empty Roomba - A Step-By-Step Guide To Clean Your Irobot Vacuum The Right Way

Rebooting Roomba 700, 800, and 900-series

For newer robot models, the process is simpler. Press and hold the CLEAN button for 10 seconds. The robot should give off a chime to tell you that it’s begun resetting. Give it a minute.

Reconnect the robot to your HOME app.

Roomba Not Charging Properly

Aside from the Roomba brush not spinning, this has got to be one of the most popular problems out there. It is simple enough: when you dock your Roomba to the charging base, instead of juicing up, it doesn’t do anything at all.

There are many reasons why this occurs, including a bad battery or dirty connection points. It could also be as simple as the power cord for the charging base hasn’t been plugged in yet.

When you run into this problem, the first thing you have to do is to check up on the charging base’s power cord. Make sure that it’s plugged in tight. If it has and there’s no power, try to plug the cord into a different outlet.

A Roomba charging dock

A Roomba charging dock Via: Amazon

No dice?

Check the connection points on your Roomba as an alternative. They are the pins through which your robot connects to the charging base to recharge. While the robot is cleaning, dirt and dust could have built up there and blocked the connectors. Obviously, this would cause the connection points to flat out not work.

Clean up the connection points with a dry cloth, then put the Roomba back onto the charging base. The problem should be fixed.

Still not working?

It could be a problem with the battery or the power supply. This is a fairly advanced problem that not a lot of people could deal with without proper training or technique. It’s best that you send the robot off to a service center to get it checked out.

Repeated “Roomba Is Stuck” Notifications

When your Roomba becomes stuck while it’s working, it’s going to send a notification to your phone to get you to “rescue” it.

While this feature is super helpful normally, it’s really annoying when it becomes bugged out. Many people have reported that their phones are constantly pinged with stuck notifications even when the robot is fine. If this is your case, there’s a simple fix.

The stuck notifications are sent when the robot finds that its wheels aren’t working properly. For example, when the robot’s stuck on a rug or in a corner, its wheels are also locked in place. That’s how it “knows” when to send you an SOS.

Of course, this could also lead to false alarms. If the wheels are clogged up by dirt and don’t roll properly, the robot would mistake that it’s stuck. Cue the barrage of SOS notifications to your phone.

To fix this issue, flip the robot around and clean up the wheels. Pay close attention to the small caster wheel at the front. If there is any debris, pick them out. And if there are pet hair tangled up inside the wheel well, cut them loose. By the end, all of the robot’s wheels should spin freely.

➜ RELATED: What Are Irobots And How Do You Reset A Roomba Robot Vacuum For Your New Home? 

Conclusion

And that’s how you can fix the Roomba brush not spinning problem (and many others!)

Thanks to its simple design, maintaining a Roomba robot is very easy. And considering how reliable it is, it’s very rare that you will ever have to do any intensive troubleshooting. But, in case that you do, you have this guide.

If you have any other questions you would like to ask us, feel free to drop us a line via our email or the comment section. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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