How to Tighten a Record Player Belt

How to Tighten a Record Player Belt

If you’re looking up solutions and quick fixes for that rubber belt of yours, you’ve visited the right page. A couple of weeks ago, we went through how tight your turntable belt should be, we explained how you’re better off having a belt that is tighter, and how much tighter really depends on you. We’ve also written articles about why your turntable belt might be slipping off, and how often you should replace your belt. Today, we’ll be looking at the question of how you can go about tightening a record player belt.

A loose or stretched-out belt is frequently the cause of a sluggish record player. This happens because the turntable might travel too slowly without the belt gripping the pulley, reducing the overall sound and quality of the playback.

Before we begin, do note that turntable belts are cost-effective parts that can be easily replaced for under $15. If the solutions listed below are ineffective, do consider getting a new set of belts at your local record store, or from the internet. 

1. Hot Water

Immerse the rubber belt into a bucket of hot water. At this stage, tap water should be enough. Hot water will ultimately force the rubber to compress and shrink if it is weak enough. 

If hot tap water fails to shrink the rubber, boiling the rubber may be a subsequent option. Allow the rubber to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water and this will cause it to shrink due to the high intensity of the heat. Turn off the fire after the water has reached a boil and soak the belt in the hot water for 5-8 minutes.

Boiling may sometimes restore a rubber object to its original size and shape by simply eliminating any dirt or debris that has accumulated over time. This is most certainly the case if the water is filthy once the belt is removed.

As an extra precautionary measure, do watch for signs of wear, such as areas melting away or debris floating to the top to ensure that your rubber belt is not harmed. Generally, rubber has a higher boiling point than water, so rest assured that your belt is unlikely to melt. 

Do be careful when removing the belt from the boiling water and let it cool on a dry platform. 

Form the rubber into the desired shape, which, in this case, would be an oval or the shape of your main platter and pulley. You can attempt bending the rubber before it cools if it needs to fit a certain form. Make sure the rubber has cooled sufficiently to handle, but not to the point where it is completely stiff. Gloves or tongs may be useful in this situation.

Here is an informative video for you visual learners out there:

How to Shrink Rubber

2. Blow Dryer

If boiling water is not a feasible option for you, placing the rubber object on a heat-resistant surface is also a good idea. Make sure you don’t have to come into direct contact with the rubber belt when heating it up. We recommend taking precautions when handling the possible fumes that could emit from the rubber. Do make sure your face is a good distance away from your belt before beginning.

Set the heat on the blow dryer to the maximum level. You’ll want to make sure you’re shrinking the rubber properly. Try to be as consistent as possible, distributing the heat evenly throughout the rubber to allow it to fully enter and shrink evenly. 

Heat for approximately 5 minutes, or longer if required. The rubber may begin to give off a faint odor. While it’s uncommon, look for evidence of damage or darkening on the rubber to ensure you’re not burning it.

Before touching the belt, let it cool completely. Typically, high volumes of heat are necessary to shrink rubber and this could potentially be a dangerous process. It’s recommended to use gloves or wait until it cools down before handling it. 

Bottom Line

You might be better off purchasing a new belt, according to this forum. While these solutions may be effective in repairing a loose record player belt, replacing them may provide the additional tautness old belts cannot offer. Some users have proclaimed that it could be a waste of effort to shrink a belt since it will rapidly stretch back out. When belts get out of specification, they must be replaced.

If you’re facing a challenge with speed, check out our article for all you need to know about a belt drive turntable and its speed problems

Do remember to stay safe when attempting to tighten your belt and we wish you the best!

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