If your washing machine drum is not turning or agitating as it should, you may need to replace the washing machine belt. Frequently, you will know that the belt is going bad due to a burning rubber smell or a drum that doesn't turn during the wash or rinse cycle consistently or doesn't turn at all. You can frequently locate a replacement washing machine belt online or at an appliance parts supplier.
Step 1 - Prepare the Machine
In order to replace the belt, you will need to disconnect the washing machine from the water and power supplies. Most washing machines will need to be laid on their side in order to access the belt assembly. It is helpful to have two people to do the job, particularly due to the difficulty of laying down the washing machine. You may want to lay an old blanket, towels, or cardboard down to lay the machine on in order to avoid scratching the washing machine.
Step 2 - Remove the Access Panel
Start by removing the access panel on the back of the washing machine. If you do not see the belt, or where the belt should be, you may need to access it from the bottom of the machine. If necessary, lay the machine on its side and remove the bottom panel. Make a mental note or draw a diagram of the placement of the existing belt.
Step 3 - Remove the Damaged or Broken Belt
Locate the pump coupling. This is a rubbery or leathery part that connects the water pump and the motor of the machine. You will need to remove this to slip off the existing belt and replace it on the pulleys. You may need to also loosen the bolts of the motor mount to get enough slack in the belt to remove it.
Step 4 - Replace the Belt
Replace the belt following your diagram pattern. If it is still difficult to get the belt into proper position, have your partner turn the drum by hand to help work the belt into the proper position. Ideally, when the belt is replaced, the coupling reattached, and the motor mount re-tightened, there shouldn't be more than ½ inch of slack in the belt. Use the handle of a hammer to put pressure on the belt. If it is too tight, the belt can wear and break too quickly. If it is too loose, the belt can slip off the pulleys.
Step 5 - Replace the Access Panel
Replace the pump coupling and re-tighten the motor mount bolts. If it is too difficult to adjust the motor back to its original position, put some flex in the belt with the handle of a hammer. Replace the access panel or panels, and restore the electrical and water supplies. Test the washing machine to ensure it is working properly.