Vacuum Cleaner: Not suctioning well

A weak suction motor, full vacuum bag, clog in the suction air path, dirty vacuum exhaust filter or leaky vacuum hose can prevent the vacuum cleaner from suctioning well.

Check the collection bag because debris won't get sucked up through the vacuum and into the collection bag efficiently when the bag is full. Empty the bag if it's full. On a vacuum model that uses a single-use collection bag, you'll need to replace the collection bag when it's full.

If your vacuum uses an exhaust filter, a clogged exhaust filter will prevent suction air from flowing through the vacuum efficiently. Check the exhaust filter and replace it if it's dirty.

Check the suction air path for a clog. Debris in the nozzle, hose or an internal pipe in the vacuum can inhibit suction air flow so remove any debris that you find blocking the suction air path.

For a canister vacuum, holes in the vacuum hose can diminish suction air flow through the nozzle because air gets sucked through hose holes instead of the nozzle. Replace the vacuum hose if it has holes.

vacuum cleaner

These repairs may help solve your vacuum cleaner problem

Replace the vacuum suction motor

Replace the vacuum suction motor

The suction motor rotates the fan that creates suction by moving air from the intake at the cleaning head to the dirt collection chamber. If the motor doesn't create suction or doesn't run at all, replace it.

July 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a vacuum suction motor

If your vacuum loses suction and the hose and nozzle aren't clogged, the vacuum cleaner might need a new suction motor. The suction motor could also be the problem if the vacuum won't run at all. This easy-to-follow repair guide explains how to replace a canister vacuum suction motor in 30 minutes or less.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the vacuum bag

Replace the vacuum bag

The vacuum cleaner bag collects the dust and dirt that the vacuum sucks up. It also helps filter the exhaust air. Replace the bag when it's full, torn or damaged.

Replace the vacuum hose

Replace the vacuum hose

The vacuum cleaner hose is constructed of reinforced vinyl. It sometimes has wires integrated into the hose. If the hose is torn or the integrated wires are broken, replace the hose.

Replace the vacuum exhaust filter

Replace the vacuum exhaust filter

The exhaust filter traps dust and pollutants from the exhaust air from the dirt collection chamber. To extend the life of the filter, you can clean it by shaking it or wiping it . When the filter is so clogged that cleaning isn't effective, replace it.

Symptoms common to all vacuum cleaners

Choose a symptom to see related vacuum cleaner repairs.

Main causes: weak suction motor, vacuum bag is full, clog in suction air path, dirty exhaust filter, leaky vacuum hose
Main causes: broken drive belt, damaged brush roll, tripped brush roll motor overload, bad brush roll motor, wiring failure
Main causes: lack of power, bad power cord, drive motor failure, wiring failure
Main causes: damaged vacuum hose, clogged motor air filter, bad suction motor
Articles and videos common to all vacuum cleaners

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your vacuum.

March 9, 2015
How to troubleshoot loss of suction in a vacuum video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

See what to check if you experience a loss of suction in your vacuum cleaner.

January 5, 2015
10 must-have tools for appliance repair
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Come see which tools made our top 10 must-haves for DIY appliance repair.

December 18, 2014
Deciding between a canister or upright vacuum
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Undecided about canister or upright? We compare them.