When it comes to upright vacuums, Shark is one of the best of the best. But even Shark vacuums can sometimes run into problems. Today we’re going to discuss some basic troubleshooting for some common issues with Shark vacuums.

How do you troubleshoot a Shark vacuum? A basic reset of a Shark vacuum includes turning the machine off and unplugging, cleaning the filters, checking the hoses, and turning the machine back on. These simple steps will fix most issues.

However, you may still find that your vacuum is having problems. We’re here to help you today with finding solutions for those problems! But before we get to the common questions, let’s discuss the basic reset for all Shark vacuums.

Basic Troubleshooting

If you are having an issue with your Shark vacuum cleaner, the first thing that you should do is to check your warranty information. You may be eligible for a free servicing or a whole new unit.

Another thing you should do is check with your manual or instruction book to be sure that you have the proper setup. If you can’t find the manual, no need to worry. You can go to sharkclean.com to find your Shark vacuum manual.

If, after reading through the manual, your vacuum cleaner is still not working, there are a few basic checks that you can do. Sometimes that can mean restarting the vacuum. Often times just restarting the machine will solve your problem.

Here are some other steps that you should take if you’re having issues with your Shark vacuum:

1.    Start by unplugging

If your Shark vacuum is not working when you initially turn it on, you should unplug it. Wait thirty seconds and then plug it back in.

2.    Turn the machine off

On your Shark vacuum, there is an “On/off” option. You should select that option. And be sure to turn off the brush roll option too.

3.    Check your filters

One of the main reasons that your Shark vacuum cleaner stops working is that the filter is full. There are several filters on a Shark vacuum, which we’ll discuss later on, but all of them have limited space to gather dust. Your vacuum can’t suck dust in if there is no space left on the filter. So if you’re having an issue check the filters and clean or replace them if they’re dirty.  

4.    Cool it down

Another problem that you may run into is your machine overheating, especially after sucking heavy dust. If that happens, you should give the vacuum a rest for around 30 to 50 minutes. Once you let the machine cool down, it should work again without a problem.

5.    Time to turn it back on

Once you have run through all of the steps above, it’s time to turn the vacuum back on. You should press the “I-on” option. Then be sure to also turn on the brush roll. After you’ve turned the machine on, check to see that everything’s working properly.

6.    Check the plug

A loose connection can be the culprit if your vacuum stops working. So be sure to check that the plug is attached accurately.

7.    Repair the fuse

If you have blown a fuse, your vacuum will not work. So check your fuse connection.

Hopefully, after you follow these steps, the problem will be solved. However, you may find that after basic troubleshooting, you still have a significant problem. So let’s go over some of those problems and how to deal with them.

Why Does My Shark Vacuum Keep Stopping?

This can be an extremely annoying problem. You may find that after turning the Shark vacuum on, the machine turns itself off. Usually, the reason for this problem is a loose connection or an issue with the motor. If the problem is with the motor, you will need to fix that first. Then go through the restart procedure that we have explained above in the basic troubleshooting section.

What Do I Do If My Shark Vacuum Smells?

Another common problem with Shark vacuums is they can sometimes produce a burning smell. If this is your problem, you should start by unplugging the machine and removing the dust cup. Follow the manual’s instructions for cleaning the dust cup. You should also reach inside and make sure that there is no pet hair or dust blocking the airflow.

The second thing you should do is to clean all of the filters. You can rinse the felt and foam filters with warm water to clean them. Before you replace them, make sure that they are completely dry. It’s also a good idea to tap loose dirt off of the filters between washes.

Next, you should remove the handle and hose completely. Try dropping a coin through the open end of the handle. If the coin doesn’t drop out of the other end, then you have a blockage that needs to be cleared.

These steps should solve your problem. But if you are still experiencing a burning smell, you may need to schedule a service call.

Why Do Shark Vacuums Have Cancer Warnings?

California’s Proposition 65 requires that warning labels are placed on any products that contain chemicals that may cause birth defects, cancer, or reproductive harm. These labels now show up on many different household products and electrical appliances. The reason for the label is the California law, but you may see the labels all across the country.

The cancer warning label on Shark vacuums talks about lead contained in the power cord. The label tells you to wash your hands after use.

If you want to learn more about which chemicals are covered by Proposition 65, you can read this fact sheet by the American Cancer Society.

Why Is My Shark Vacuum Light Flashing?

The indicator light on your Shark vacuum will normally be either green or red. The light will be green if the brush roll is working properly. If the light is red, that indicates that the roll is jammed. It could also mean that the vacuum is overheating.

But what if the light is flashing? This can be a bit unnerving. But the blinking light does not indicate a problem. If your light is blinking, it means either that the battery is running low or that the vacuum is being charged.

Why Is My Shark Vacuum Not Picking Up?

There can be a few different reasons why your Shark vacuum is losing suction.

Check to see if the dust cup is full

Once the dust cup is full, there is nowhere for the dust and dirt to go when you’re vacuuming. This can stop the suction.

To fix this problem, you should remove and empty the dust cup. Many times this will increase the suction power right away. If this step doesn’t fix your issue, keep reading for more options.

There could be a blockage in the vacuum

If you still lack suction even after you’ve cleaned the dust cup, that could be an indication that there is something blocking the airway. There are two places that you should check for blockages: the air duct for the dust cap and the intake opening that is located behind the brush roll.

You can check the blockage in the dust cup air duct by standing the vacuum upright and removing the dust cup. From there, you should disconnect the hose and check for any clogs in the air duct located behind the dust cup.

You can check for a clog near the roller brush by laying the vacuum down. Look at the opening behind the brush roll to see if there is any blockage. If you find debris, you can carefully clean the opening with scissors.

You may need to clean the filters

One big reason that your vacuum may have lost suction is dirty filters. If you haven’t cleaned your foam and felt filters in the past month, then it’s time.

You can clean the filters by removing the dust cup and pulling out the two filters which are located at the top of the motor base. Use lukewarm water to rinse the filters until the water runs clear. As we’ve already discussed, it’s important that you let the filters dry fully before placing them back into the vacuum.

If your vacuum still isn’t picking up dirt even after you’ve cleaned them, then you may need to replace the filters.

Is the hose damaged?

A damaged or deteriorating hose could also be the culprit if your suction is weak. Most Shark vacuums will have two different hoses that you need to check. The short hose is located between the base and the main vacuum head. And the second hose can be found between the wand and handle.

Over time those hoses will get old and begin to peel and crack. You should note that even if you can’t see an obvious split in the hose, there could still be micro cracks causing your lack of suction. The good news is, these hoses are pretty inexpensive and easy to find online.

Your motor could be going bad

If none of the above solutions worked, then that could mean that your motor is going bad. In most cases, a new motor will cost you as much as a new vacuum. It’s also not easy to replace motors in Shark vacuums. So it just might be time for a new machine.

Why Is My Shark Vacuum Making a Loud Noise?

If your Shark vacuum is making a loud noise that could be caused by the mode the vacuum is in. Loud noise could also indicate a blockage or possibly just general maintenance.

To fix the loud noise problem, start by removing and cleaning the dust cup. Next, you should check for any blockages in the handle or hose. Damaged or torn hoses can also cause noise.

Checking the floor nozzle can also fix the noise issue. Start by unlocking the three locks on the floor nozzle so you can access the brush roll. Then follow these simple steps:

  1. Clean all dirt, hair, and debris from the brush roll
  2. Replace the floor nozzle cover, making sure that all three locks are closed
  3. Re-assemble the full vacuum. You should hear an audible click with each connection
  4. Check that the hose is fully attached to the back of the vacuum
  5. Then check the noise level again

If you still hear loud noise after going through the above steps, then you should contact customer support.

Why Is My Shark Vacuum Brush Not Spinning?

This is another common problem with Shark vacuums. Start by turning the vacuum on. Then press the brush roll button. If the indicator light is red, then you need to follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the vacuum
  2. Release the main body of the vacuum
  3. Flip over the nozzle
  4. Remove the soleplate and clear away any hair or debris
  5. Re-assemble the body of the vacuum back to the nozzle
  6. Plug the vacuum back in
  7. The indicator light should now be green

Why Is My Shark Vacuum Overheating?

Your Shark vacuum needs a good flow of air to create suction. All Shark vacuums come with a motor protective thermostat that will protect your machine if the airflow gets blocked. If your vacuum overheats for any reason, that thermostat will automatically shut off your vacuum cleaner.

If you are running into this problem, you need to turn off the vacuum cleaner and unplug it. Then check the dust cup to see if there is any debris or blockage. You should also check the filters. And you need to allow your vacuum to cool down for about an hour.

If your dust cup and filters are okay, then your overheating problem could be an indication of an electrical issue. Your issue could be a frayed wire or a more serious problem. If the problem is the wires, you can replace those.

There could also be a problem with the motor.

You should be sure to check for any pet hair that could be wrapped around the brushes. Hair can also cause a problem of locking down the beater bar, so check that too.

If your Shark vacuum is still overheating after you’ve tried all of the above troubleshooting, then it’s time to contact a professional maintenance specialist.

How Do I Replace My Shark Navigator Brush Roll?

You may find that during the course of your troubleshooting, you have to replace the brush roll. This is a fairly easy process that you should be able to handle without a problem.

First, you’ll need two screwdrivers: a Phillips head and a flathead. Use the Phillips head screwdriver to remove four screws from the rear panel. Two of the screws are hidden underneath.

Next, you need to pop out the two-cylinder wheels. When you put them back on, you will use your screwdriver to snap them back into place.

Once you have the screws out, you can remove the cover. This will make it easy to replace the brush roll or work on the belt.

Shark vacuums are fairly easy to work on, so you should have no trouble replacing parts, especially the brush roll.

How Do I Clean a Shark Vacuum Hose?

With regular use, your Shark vacuum hoses can get dirty and start to smell bad. Fortunately, this is another easy problem to fix.

Start by removing the screws and disconnecting the hose from the vacuum. Then try running very hot water through the hose. Another thing you can do is add a little bit of laundry detergent. Or you can try using two cups of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda.

Rinse the hose thoroughly and then hang it to dry before re-assembling your vacuum.

How Do I Troubleshoot a Shark Vacuum Rotator?

Another issue that you may run into is the brush rotator not working. Your brush roll can get stuck and stop spinning when it gets too full of sticky and heavy dust and debris. Often times the roller gets bogged down with hair, string, and other small materials that get stuck in it. Cleaning your brush roll will fix this problem.

To troubleshoot your Shark vacuum rotator do the following steps:

  1. Turn the vacuum off and unplug it
  2. Remove any clogs in the hose or filter
  3. Allow everything to dry for at least an hour
  4. The hose and filter should be completely dry before re-assembling
  5. Check the rotator brush roll
  6. Clean the brush roll from any debris or pet hair

How Do I Clean My Shark Vacuum Dust Cup?

Cleaning your Shark vacuum dust cup is super easy. To empty the dust cup, you first need to remove it from the vacuum. You can do this by pulling up on the dust cup itself. You will find a release latch at the back of the dust cup handle. Or you can press the specific button located on your model.

You should lift the dust cup, pulling up and away from the vacuum. Then hold it over the trash and push the bottom door to release the button in front. You should then press the door shut until it clicks.

It’s pretty straight forward to turn the dust cup upside down over the trash. You also need to push the top door release button.

Once you’ve emptied the dust cup, replace it back onto your vacuum. You should hear a click when it’s in place. For the best performance, you should empty the dust canister every time that it reaches the max fill line.

How Do I Clean the HEPA Filter?

Most Shark vacuum cleaners come with HEPA filters. You should clean these HEPA filters regularly. Here are the basic instructions for cleaning your HEPA filters:

  1. First, check with the owner’s manual to find out if the HEPA filters are washable or not
  2. You can remove the HEPA filter from the underneath side of your vacuum cleaner’s dirt container
  3. If your HEPA filter is washable, then wash it with water
  4. Squeeze out all excess water and then allow to fully dry
  5. HEPA filters will take around 24 hours to dry
  6. If the HEPA filter looks discolored or worn, then you should replace it

After you have thoroughly cleaned the HEPA filters, then you can put everything back together again and start vacuuming. You will notice right away that your suction is much better.

Why Is the Brush Roll Indicator Light Not On and How Do I Fix It?

We’ve already discussed what to do when the brush roll indicator light is red, but what if the light isn’t on at all? There are a few different reasons for this, and they all have different ways to solve the problem.

The vacuum is not turned on properly

This may seem obvious, but one of the main reasons that people have trouble with their Shark vacuums is that they aren’t properly turned on. Sometimes your whole problem can be solved by simply making sure that your vacuum is plugged in properly. You also want to make sure that the on switch is on.

All Shark vacuums have two power switch modes that give you the option of cleaning in two different ways. You can either use the suction mode or the brush roll mode.

If you want to activate the brush roll mode, you simply make sure that the switch is in the correct position. If the switch is in the wrong mode, then the brush roll won’t be turned on. As a result of that, the indicator light won’t be on or flash.

Once you are sure that everything is turned on correctly, you may still find that the indicator light is not on. If that’s the case, then you will need to reset the vacuum. Follow these steps:

  1. Start with the power button in the off position
  2. Keep the vacuum unplugged
  3. Clean the filter and hose if needed
  4. Allow the vacuum to cool completely before you plug it in again
  5. Turn the power switch on

The nozzle is loosely attached

You may also find that the indicator light is not on if the nozzle is not connected properly.

Here’s the thing with Shark vacuums. In order for the vacuum to properly function, the nozzle needs to be correctly attached to the brush roll. If the nozzle is not attached right, then the powerhead brush will not spin.

You can easily fix this problem by checking that the nozzle is attached properly. You should also clear out any blockage.

Is the brush roll blocked?

If the brush roll is clogged or jammed, it is possible that the indicator light won’t turn red. In fact, it won’t turn on at all.

To fix this problem, you need to clean out any blockages. And you need to clean the brush roll regularly to keep it free from debris and dirt.

Before you clear the blockage, you need to unplug the vacuum. After that, you should address the roll and remove anything that stops the movement of the vacuum’s brush roll. Here is a short video to show you how to clean your Shark vacuum rotator brush roll.

The belt could be damaged

If you have exhausted the above reasons, then the final possible explanation for why the brush roll indicator light is not on is that the driving belt for the brush roll is broken.

If you get a broken belt, then you will need to contact the manufacturer for a repair service call or replacement.

How Long Should My Shark Vacuum Last?

Generally speaking, your Shark vacuum should last 5 to 10 years. The Shark brand is arguably the best when it comes to upright vacuums. Most Shark models are incredibly durable and super effective at taking care of pet hair. They’re also affordable. And you can find them both online and in stores.

Customer Service Help

All Shark vacuums come with at least a two-year warranty. Most models have warranties longer than two years. If you have tried all of the troubleshooting steps above but are still having trouble with your vacuum, then it may be time to call for customer support. You can reach Shark customer service at 1-800-798-7398.

The Bottom Line

Shark vacuum cleaners are extremely handy machines. They help to keep your home clean. So it’s a real bummer when something goes wrong with the vacuum cleaner. And it can be costly if you have to call a maintenance specialist every time there’s an issue.

That’s why it’s best to learn how to troubleshoot your Shark vacuum yourself. To do this, you need to be familiar with all of the parts of your vacuum. It’s essential that you keep all of the parts clean and clear of any blockages. The vast majority of the time, you can fix your problem by simply cleaning the machine. Happy vacuuming!