How to Repair Record Turntables

Record turntables have largely been replaced by more advanced audio equipment. However, there is still a large group of vinyl record fanatics, or audiophiles, who prefer vinyl records to cassettes, CDs or MP3 players. If you are an avid record collector, you will need to perform routine maintenance and repairs on your turntable. The turntable is made up of a few delicate parts that can break or wear out quickly if they are not handled appropriately.

Turn off the record player and unplug its power cord from the electrical wall outlet.

Remove the small retaining Phillips head screw(s) securing the record needle and cartridge to the tone arm. A standard cartridge mounting system has two Phillips head screws that are fastened to the tone arm mount from the top side of the cartridge. The convertible, or P-mount, has a single screw that attaches the cartridge to the tone arm from the back of the cartridge assembly.

Slide the cartridge out of the tone arm assembly. If it is a P-mount cartridge it will simply slide out of the tone arm connector because it is only connected to the tone arm by four connector pins. If it is a standard cartridge, disconnect the four wires from the back of the cartridge.

Install the new cartridge by repeating these steps in reverse order.

Turn off the turntable and unplug its power cord from the electrical socket.

Remove the dust cover and rubber mat. Set them aside.

Pull up on the platter with one hand and tap on the top of the shaft with a hammer. Lift the platter out of the turntable base. The platter is the metal, disc-shaped plate located beneath the rubber pad.

Pull on the belt slightly until you can remove it from the turntable belt lip. Throw away the belt.

Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth or thick paper towel and wipe the outside ledge underneath the platter. Cleaning the debris from the inside of the turntable belt assembly will help the new belt last longer. Wrap the new belt around the belt lip until it fits tightly. Follow the previous steps in reverse order to reassemble the turntable.


Be careful not to break the record player's shaft when hitting it with the hammer. Tap it very lightly. Do not rush through the disassembly process.

Things You'll Need

  • Small Phillips head screwdriver
  • Cloth or paper towel
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Small hammer
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About the Author

Ezekiel James began as a music writer in 2003. Since then, James has served as a writer for several music, technology and design publications. His work has been published on eHow, and in print for the "The Potrero View" and "Punk Planet." James is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Portland State University.