How to Change the Tensioner Pulley of a Dryer

Jul 25, 2023, 11:16am

The tumble dryer is a complementary household appliance to the washing machine, which works on an internal heating system. The air is sucked in from the outside by a turbine, it is then heated by the resistors of the dryer. The humid air turns into water which is finally stored in a collection tank (depending on the type of dryer).

Like any other appliance, it is important to ensure that all its parts are always in good condition, especially one of the parts that plays a key role in the operation of the dryer: the tensioner pulley.

The tensioner pulley is an essential part of the inner workings of a clothes dryer. It facilitates the connection between the motor and the drum by offering the drum a quiet and smooth rotation.

With time and use, it happens that the device encounters problems at this level. Indeed, the tensioner pulley may be defective if you notice that:

  • the drum of your dryer does not turn / no longer,
  • your equipment also emits an unusual noise,

It is important to know that the failure of this element can cause damage such as a rupture of the belt for example.

In order to avoid this kind of problem, it is strongly recommended to replace it without further delay. This is something you can do on your own.

A tumble dryer’s tensioner pulley is located inside the appliance under the drum, right next to the motor. To access it, you must remove the rear panel and then the drum.

The tensioner pulley in a dryer is a vital component that helps keep the dryer belt tight, ensuring smooth rotation of the drum during the drying cycle. If you notice a squealing or grinding noise coming from your dryer or observe that the drum is not rotating correctly, the tensioner pulley may be worn out or damaged and in need of replacement. Changing the tensioner pulley is a straightforward process and can be done with some basic tools and the right guidance. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of changing the tensioner pulley of a dryer.

How to Change the Tensioner Pulley of a Dryer

Step 1: Safety Precautions

Before you start any repair work on your dryer, prioritize safety. Ensure the dryer is disconnected from the power supply by unplugging it from the electrical outlet or switching off the circuit breaker dedicated to the dryer.

Step 2: Access the Dryer’s Belt and Drum

To access the tensioner pulley, you will need to open the dryer’s cabinet. The specific steps to access the pulley may vary depending on your dryer model. Generally, you will need to:

  1. Remove any screws or clips securing the dryer’s top panel to the cabinet. Slide a putty knife or a similar tool between the top and front panels to release any hidden clips.
  2. Lift the top panel and prop it up securely.
  3. Locate and remove the screws or clips securing the front panel to the sides of the cabinet.
  4. Carefully tilt the front panel forward and disconnect any wires or cables attached to the door switch.
  5. Set the front panel aside.
  6. Now, you will have access to the dryer’s belt and drum.

Step 3: Release Tension from the Belt

To change the tensioner pulley, you need to release tension from the dryer’s belt. Reach underneath the drum and locate the tensioner pulley, which is usually positioned near the motor. The tensioner pulley is connected to a spring that applies tension to the belt.

Step 4: Remove the Old Tensioner Pulley

With the tension released from the belt, you can now remove the old tensioner pulley. It is usually held in place with a bracket or mounting bolt. Use a wrench or screwdriver to loosen and remove the bracket or bolt, allowing the pulley to come free.

Step 5: Install the New Tensioner Pulley

Position the new tensioner pulley in place, aligning it with the corresponding holes or slots on the bracket. Secure it in place using the appropriate bracket or mounting bolt.

Step 6: Reattach the Belt

With the new tensioner pulley in place, you need to reattach the dryer’s belt. Reach underneath the drum and loop the belt around the drum and the motor pulley. Ensure the belt is positioned correctly on the drum and motor pulley to avoid any issues with rotation.

Step 7: Restore Tension to the Belt

Now, you need to restore tension to the belt using the tensioner pulley. Carefully pull the pulley back into its original position, applying tension to the belt. Double-check that the belt is properly aligned and tensioned.

Step 8: Reassemble the Dryer

With the new tensioner pulley installed and the belt reattached, it’s time to reassemble the dryer. Reverse the steps you followed to access the belt and drum, and secure the front panel back onto the dryer’s cabinet.

How to Change the Tensioner Pulley of a Dryer

Step 9: Test the Dryer

Before pushing the dryer back into its designated spot, perform a test run to check if the new tensioner pulley is functioning correctly. Turn on the dryer and run a drying cycle to ensure smooth rotation of the drum and proper belt tension.

Step 10: Final Adjustments

If you notice any issues with the new tensioner pulley during the test run, double-check the installation and belt alignment. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure the belt is properly tensioned and the drum rotates smoothly.


Changing the tensioner pulley of a dryer is a manageable task that can improve the performance and lifespan of your appliance. By following this step-by-step guide, you can successfully replace the old tensioner pulley with a new one, ensuring the dryer belt remains tight and the drum rotates smoothly during the drying cycle. Properly functioning tensioner pulley will prevent unnecessary strain on the belt and motor, leading to more efficient drying and reduced wear on other dryer components. However, if you encounter any difficulties during the process or have concerns about handling the repair, it’s always best to seek assistance from a professional dryer technician. With the new tensioner pulley in place, you can enjoy reliable and quiet operation from your dryer.