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How to Replace a Broken Drive Belt in a Clothes Dryer

clothes dryer

Dryer not drying? If the drum in your dryer no longer rotates, chances are your drum-belt may have snapped and you end up with a warm, damp pile of clothes! These steps refer to a Zanussi TC-481W dryer, but the principle is the same for many brands.

Things You'll Need

  • 7mm socket (A flat-head screw-driver will do if you don't have this)
  • Hoover (For cleaning up inside machine/bits of broken belt, etc.)
  • A helper!

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Shopro Professional 45-Piece Stubby Tool Set

More socket sets


  1. Safety first! Unplug the machine from the wall-socket and make sure the machine has been idle long enough so that the heater elements, etc. have cooled.
  2. Top cover removal

    Top cover removal

    Remove the top cover of the machine by undoing the 2 bolts at the back of the top panel.

  3. Top cover removed

    You should now be able to see if the belt is broken or not. It should be wrapped around the back of the drum. In this picture, you can see it has snapped and is loose on the drum.

    Top cover removed

  4. Remove plastic cover

    Remove the plastic cover at the bottom rear of the machine and take off the black belt going from the red pulley to the white pulley (this turns the fan).

    Remove plastic cover

  5. Air-flow cover

    At the back of the machine, undo the 5 or 6 bolts securing the air-flow cover...

    Air-flow cover

  6. Air-flow cover removed

    ...revealing the drum securing e-ring and washers.

    Air-flow cover removed

  7. Remove these and keep them in a safe place for now.

    e-ring & washers

    e-ring & washers

  8. Drum and back panel
  9. The drum is no longer holding in the back panel of the machine.

    drum and back panel

  10. Back Panel

    Using a 7mm socket wrench, remove the screws holding in the back panel of the machine. Take care to support the panel (and the drum) as the screws are removed. A second pair of hands is useful here!

    Back Panel

  11. Back panel removal

    Taking care to support the drum, move the back panel away from the machine slightly. Do not move more than a few inches yet!

    Back panel removal

  12. Heater element connector

    Before removing the back panel any more, carefully undo the electrical connector for the heating element.

    Heater element connector

  13. Broken belt

    Remove the broken belt if not already done.

    Broken belt

  14. Positioning the belt

    Move the back panel away from the drum and put the new belt over the top of the drum (towards the rear) and feed it through between the drum and the back panel and finally around the motor-shaft.

    Positioning the belt

  15. Motor/Spring assembly

    The motor can pivot and has a spring securing it to the body of the machine.

    Motor/Spring assembly

  16. The trick to fitting the belt is to hold the belt with your left hand as shown and with your other hand, push the pulley-wheel anti-clockwise until you can get the belt to loop over it.
  17. The belt is looped around the pulley-wheel

    Once this is in place, the hard work is over. Rotate the drum slowly by hand to make sure the belt is able to travel unhindered. Now is your chance to hoover out the back of the machine! Reconnect the heating element connector.

    The belt is looped around the pulley-wheel

  18. Re-fit the back cover, taking care to line up the drum with the hole.
  19. Screw on the back panel. Replace the washers/e-ring securing the drum.
  20. Re-fit the top cover
  21. You're good to go!


  • Take suitable precautions to ensure the machine is safe to remove the back panel, isolate from the mains, etc.
  • If you are in any doubt, call qualified repair personnel!


  • Do get another person to help out for some of these steps
  • Ensure that the belt can move when finished by rotating the drum by hand. If it slips off, you could be back to square one!
  • Hoover out the back section where the water collector sits while the back panel is off.
  • It can take some effort to move the motor/pulley assembly against the spring - take care not to strain anything (you or the machine!!)

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