If you own an audio turntable, you want to keep that venerable record player in good shape to play those classic records in your collection. Knowing how to repair basic components and correct common problems can save any turntable enthusiast a lot of money and help you get the most out of your turntable and record collection. Most basic turntable repairs require very few special tools. Do not work on a turntable yourself if you do not have a manual or are unaware of which parts are which to prevent permanently damaging your turntable.
Replace the belt inside your turntable if your record player has stopped playing or is playing at an incorrect speed. Often, belts get stretched out over time or simply snap, resulting in improper playback speed or not allowing the platter to turn at all. To replace the belt, remove the platter and note where the belt is currently connected. In most cases, the belt is wrapped around the inside of the platter and connects to the motor that rotates the turntable. Put the belt on the same way you removed it and reseat the platter.
Clean the stylus with plain isopropyl alcohol if your records sound muffled or unclear, but they are not damaged themselves. To clean the stylus, pour a small amount of isopropyl alcohol onto a cotton ball and dab it on the need. Avoid rubbing the stylus, as the cotton may get stuck in place. Allow the stylus to dry naturally for about an hour before testing the player. This also helps to keep your needle in good shape for longer.
Clean the screws in the idler wheel if your turntable is changing speeds or not playing certain speeds. Often, this speed and rotation problem is due to a build-up of oil and gunk inside the idler wheel and attached to the screws holding it in place. Consult your manual if you don't know what the idler wheel looks like. It is the only round piece on the inside of most turntables. To clean the idler wheel, remove the platter and start by cleaning any oil off of the outside of the idler wheel with a clean cloth. Remove the screws, carefully noting where they came from and clean them in a solution made for cleaning bolts, nuts and screws, which you can find at most hardware stores. Return the screws to their original place and replace the platter before testing the turntable.
Repair squeaking sounds and odd noises on your turntable via proper lubrication with 10W-30 motor oil or the oil recommended by the manufacturer. To lubricate your turntable, remove the platter and lightly oil any bearings you can see, using a clean applicator. Allow the turntable to rest overnight before playing a record.
If you don't know what kind of belt to get, take the old one to a store that sells turntable supplies. Write down the model and brand of your turntable as well. It's important to check and see what the manufacturer of your turntable recommends for lubrication. While 10W-30 is commonly used, some manufacturers require lighter or heavier oils.
Always unplug your turntable before working on it to reduce your risk of electrical shock.