Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Troubleshooting

Updated February 21, 2017

Kirby vacuum cleaners require little maintenance to continue to operate effectively, however there are some issues that can occur that need your immediate attention. Troubleshoot minor problems with your vacuum to avoid those issues becoming costly major repairs. Learn to recognise what can cause a smell or loss of suction so you can make immediate repairs. Knowing how to properly attach the Kirby accessories will keep the vacuum operating like new.

Check the power cord if your Kirby vacuum fails to come on when you step on the power switch. The vacuum will not operate if the cord is not plugged into the wall, if the cord insulation is frayed, or the power cord has pulled from the vacuum motor. If the cord is frayed or pulled from the vacuum, contact Kirby at 1-800-494-8586 for your nearest service centre.

Connect the attachments correctly or the motor of the Kirby vacuum will not come on when the power switch is pressed. The power nozzle, shampoo tray, floor buffer and the attachment hose have a switch depressor that must insert into the front of the vacuum motor for the vacuum to operate. Verify that the attachment is secured over the attachment bar and locked in place with the accessory lock.

Push the bottom of the permanent bag or the shampoo tank against the Kirby vacuum motor. If either attachment is not locked into place against the motor, the vacuum will not power up.

Observe the floor as you pull the power nozzle across the carpet. If your Kirby vacuum is leaving debris behind, check the brush roller and verify it is spinning. If the brush isn't turning, check the vacuum belt. A broken belt or stretched belt will fail to turn the brush roller and pick up the debris. Not matching the green arrows on the belt lifter and the nozzle keeps the belt from engaging the motor shaft. The belt must engage with the shaft to turn the brush roller.

Step on the touch control pedal above the left front wheel. If the wheel is too low, the brush might not turn correctly to help remove the debris, too high and the brush cannot touch the floor to draw the debris into the vacuum. Worn bristles on the roller brush cannot reach the carpet and leave debris behind.

Check for a full vacuum bag or a clogged nozzle or hose. The suction stops on the Kirby vacuum with a clog or full bag.

Smelling burnt rubber could mean the belt is spinning around a stalled roller brush. Check the brush for threads around the end of the roller brush, causing it not to spin. Remove the items causing the brush to stall. Check the belt lifter and make sure the lifter is fully returned to the proper position with the green arrows on the lifter and nozzle lining up. If the lifter is not in the proper position, the belt could spin on the roller or motor shaft and create a burnt rubber smell.

Check the motor shaft for black belt residue. The residue can allow the Kirby vacuum belt to slip and create a burning smell. Clean the motor shaft with fine steel wool to remove the rubber residue.

Change the disposal vacuum bag once the dirt reaches the fill line. Letting the bag get too full could cause the vacuum to lose suction.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine steel wool
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About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.