How to Replace a Turntable Belt
If the day comes when you turn on your record player, but nothing takes place, you may need to check your turntable belt. Fortunately, all is not lost as turntable belt replacement is fairly easy. To keep the tunes spinning and your record player intact, here are the signs you might need a new turntable belt, and how to replace it.
Signs You Might Need a New Turntable Belt
When your records stop spinning, that’s a clear sign you may need a new turntable belt. However, other factors may indicate it’s time to take a look at getting a replacement.
Age - The older your record player is, the increased likelihood the belt needs replaced. Even if you don’t use your record player often, the environmental wear from heat, humidity, and other factors, such as a buildup of dust and grime, can wear on the belt over time.
Use - With that being said, you may have only had your record player for a few years, but if you’re constantly using it, this can cause quicker wear as well. Though most turntable belts are designed to last for several years, this timeline may decrease if you’re listening to records all day, every day. Like any other machine, it’ll become rundown with constant use.
Altered sound - A slow-turning record doesn’t automatically mean the turntable belt needs to be replaced, but doing so may improve the turntable speed and sound of your records. While you’ll want to check out other culprits first, such as a dirty record player or older, scratched records, it could improve the quality of your listening experience by replacing the belt.
Cracks - Though a rarity, the turntable belt may crack rather than being loose or worn out. If this is the case, then it’s time for a replacement. By going through the steps of replacing a turntable belt, you’ll be able to better see where the problem stems from.
#1) Determine the Belt Is the Problem
An unmoving record usually points to problems with the drive belt, although if your turntable is working, albeit slowly, it could be the cause of other factors. You may want to first follow the steps for how to fix a slow record player.
It could be that your record player may need a good wipe down. Dust, dirt, and other grime may be blocking the grooves or spindle of your record player. Once you take a look, and the belt is in good condition but seems loose, you can try boiling your belt or using talc on the motor pulley. Boiling a loose vinyl record belt for a few minutes can help shrink it back down closer to its original size.
Alternatively, if your belt is only slightly loose, sprinkle on talc powder on the belt and motor pulley, which should stop any minor slipping. However, if you’ve already tried those methods and have determined a replacement is in order, the next step is buying the right one.
#2) Buy the Right Turntable Belt Replacement
Make sure to match the replacement turntable belt to your specific record player model. Much like car engines, the turntable belt is what makes the record function, and a bad fit won’t allow it to operate as it should.
Turntable belts come in various widths, lengths, and thicknesses, all of which will affect how your records play. Refer to your owner’s manual for product replacement or search online by your specific record player model. Product descriptions should indicate which type of record players the belt will work with to ensure an accurate fit.
#3) Start Disassembling the Record Player
When starting the process of your turntable belt replacement, unplug your record player from the outlet to prevent electrical shocks. Remove the plastic mat the record sits on, pulling straight up from the center and set aside on a clean surface.
Then, remove the metal or plastic platter that sits beneath the mat. Take care when lifting it up, as it’ll be attached either by a small clip or be pressed securely, each of which requires using a screwdriver to help gently pry it off. Use a lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol to wipe down the motor and remove any built-up dirt or dust.
#4) Slip on the New Belt
Remove the old belt carefully, and stretch the replacement belt over the center hub of the platter. It should fit snugly, but make sure it’s in the center of the circle as much as possible.
Also, ensure it’s smooth throughout without any areas where it twists or bunches up. Unless your record player has access holes, stretch the belt onto the small peg or post that sticks up from the edge of the platter. Otherwise, line up the replacement belt with the access holes in the platter.
#5) Hook the Belt to the Motor
Flip the platter back over and put it back on the turntable. Turn it, so the access holes expose the motor, which is the small metal shaft at the corner of the turntable. The standard belt hooks to it, so make sure it’s aligned with the access holes and pull through to stretch over the motor spindle.
If your platter doesn’t have access points, line up with the motor spindle. Then, manually spin the platter two full rotations both clockwise and counter-clockwise to hook the belt to the motor. If you can’t spin it, it means the belt is too tight. Readjust the setting as needed.
#6) Test the New Turntable Belt
Once you’ve secured the turntable belt, you should feel a consistent, light resistance, at which point, you can replace the clip, mat, and plug in your record player. Start the player and watch it spin. If it doesn’t spin automatically, the belt likely is too loose, and you’ll want to recheck the attachment.
The more you use your record player, the quicker the belt will wear out, though most last for several years before becoming loose or becoming altogether inoperable. Most turntable replacement belts cost under $20, an inexpensive fix. Before you think your record player is done for good, see if replacing the turntable belt makes a difference.
Replace the Turntable Belt or the Record Player?
Learning how to replace a turntable belt is a fairly inexpensive and easy way to let your record player live on for several more years. However, if you’re finding you need to repair a turntable more often than not or your record player is malfunctioning in other ways, it may be time for an updated model.
Whether you want a classic style or a design that mixes the old with the new, there are several, affordable, high-quality options, such as Victrola, whenever you’re ready for a new record player.
The Metropolitan design offers a mid-century aesthetic combined with Bluetooth technology. From the outside, it’s a classic, wood-and-chrome centerpiece with the capabilities of a three-speed turntable and an analog tuner for listening to the radio as well. Add on LED lighting and built-in stereo speakers, and it offers the best of both worlds in terms of traditional craftsmanship and modern technological advancements.
The Journey is a straightforward and simple way to stream music, either from an external Bluetooth speaker or by listening to your favorite vinyl records. It’s equipped with an easy-carry handle and is portable enough in size to take with you on the go. The sleek black color fits into any home or office setup and allows you to bring the music with you wherever you are.
It, too, has a three-speed turntable that plays 33 ⅓, 45, and 78 RPM records. This record player is the perfect mix of a contemporary audio system with the desired look of a vintage record player.
Retro Bluetooth Record Player
When you have something bigger in mind, the Retro Bluetooth Record Player is an eye-catching piece that sets the tone of any room. The cherry red, retro design offers up the nostalgic vibe of decades past, but underneath the exterior is the music technology necessary to listen to music any way you want to.
It has a three-speed turntable, built-in Bluetooth, as well as recording software, a built-in CD player, stereo speakers, and AM/FM radio. In short, it has it all. This throwback beauty is equipped with everything you need to amplify your listening experience.
Preserving the Life of Your Record Player
Though age, use, and environmental factors affect your record player, preserve its shelf life by handling it with care. Be observant of any changes to the sound or quality of your records and take preventative measures by cleaning and protecting both your record player and vinyl records.
There’s something special about listening to music on vinyl. It changes the sound in the best way and allows you to feel like you’re experiencing hearing the songs live. Most record players can last forever with the right maintenance. But when it comes time for a replacement, fortunately, that’s easy to take care of, too.