Howto fix IRobot Roomba left or right wheel

My Roomba 530 started to spin around his right wheel few week ago. It happened few times and then more often and after that it was doing only this… So I tried all the iRobot suggested “repair” method, but there’s not a lot to do on iRobot  website regarding problem with your right or left wheel. So I was faced with the reality, I will have to buy a new right wheel module. It’s not that expensive you can find it on ebay for around 20$ shipped but I’m the kind of guy who don’t like to buy replacement part when I can fix it!

After few test and diagnostic, I confirmed that the problem was the right wheel. It was unable to spin, but if I just pushed a little bit the roomba, it start working. So I put the roomba on it’s back and tried to move both wheels and found out that the resistance on both wheel wasn’t the same and after a closer look I was pretty sure there was hairs stuck in the wheel module. Then I opened the roomba and I took few pics of my adventure in case that my idea will work, it can always help someone else! If your problem look like mine, you can follow those steps, maybe you will be able to fix it! If anyone found a way to open the wheel contained in the wheel module let us know I was unable to find anything on the net regarding this..

This is a “Try at your own risk” repair. This had fixed my wheel but I don’t know yet if it will last for weeks or months.. do this only if you’re desperate and you tried all other option suggested by iRobot support.

Ok so here’s the first step I tried before doing the main repair, you should probably try every step before, in case your problem is not the same as mine!

Try the iRobot suggested fix method

If you roomba say “Please Inspect and Clean Roomba’s left (or right) Wheel” or if, like me, your roomba spin around a wheel and if you push it a little bit it started to go straight and then restart to spin.

Try those url from iRobot support website :

http://homesupport.irobot.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/498

http://homesupport.irobot.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/805

Fixing hair stuck in the wheel module

If those steps fail for you, and you contacted iRobot support and they told you you’ll need a new wheel module or you feel a different resistance when you spin the wheel, maybe you’re like me and there’s hair or anything stuck in the wheel module. You can try those steps, again, at your own risk.

The idea I had was to used a hair removal mousse, to “soften” the hair stuck in the wheel mechanism. Here’s how to open your roomba 500 and insert the veet foam into the wheel and add oil for lubrication after that.

  • Put your roomba on it’s back. You can put a towel or something smooth under it if you don’t want to scratch the top. Unscrew the side brush and remove it with a flat screwdriver. On the main plate you can see 4 screw with arrow pointing, unscrew them.

  • Remove the plate, and you’ll see the battery. Pull out the battery carefully.

  • Now you should have removed battery and you should be able to locate both side wheels.

  • Remove those three screw.

 

  • Pull out the wheel module gently. Now you should have the wheel module in your hand. I took a picture to show you how to “open” the module but I didn’t remove it on this picture. you can do it like this but it’s hard to keep everything clean…
  • As you can see on the picture, take a thin knife and you have to insert the knife horizontally in the small crack between the inner plastic piece and the rubber wheel. You’ll feel the plastic moving.. be careful to don’t cut or damage the wheel or the plastic.. When your knife is between both parts, lift the knife as it is on the picture so you’ll see a small crack. this is where you’ll need to spray the hair removal mousse… I didn’t show it on the picture because it was already done, and I don’t want do this again.. it’s not easy as it could seem, you may need another hand to keep everything in place and put the hair removal foam… Put a decent amount of foam, you want it to reach the center of the wheel where the air are stuck.

  • After you put the foam into the wheel let it “work” for almost 10 minutes.
  • Roll the wheel and see if you still feel a resistance if you don’t it look good!
  • I wiped the extra foam and I added oil or something to lubricate the center of the wheel. Be careful don’t put too much oil or lubricant because hair and dust will stick to this!

That’s it, put everything back in place. and try your roomba. Mine took almost 5 minutes of “under supervision” first run. After that the wheel was fine!

Let me know if this helped you or if you have another trick to fix the wheels! This is certainly not the best way to do it, but maybe my wheel will survive 1-2 months more!

@+

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  1. I had done all of the above and cannot understand why Roomba didn’t design the wheels so that you can open them up. Thanks for the Hair Mousse removal idea. I will be trying that! Thanks again…

    • it’s probably easier to seal everything and keep dust and hair away from the mecanism then to build the wheel in a way you can open it up for cleaning will probably mean hair and dust would easily enter in it too… My wheel still working fine here, now the repaired wheel spin a little bit easier than the other wheel hehe

      Let me know if this work for you!
      @+

        • Kevin
        • July 26th, 2011

        I had this problem, found this post on irobot: http://uksupport.irobot.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/891/~/roomba-500-series-says-“please-inspect-and-clean-roomba’s-left-(or-right)-wheel”
        It says to spin the wheel vigorously. I didn’t have any hair remover, so I tried it and it seems to have worked.

    • Ed
    • September 5th, 2011

    I have 11 Roombas on 1 of mine this did not work. I swapped wheel modules and found one left wheel is what I consider to be bad. After a second cleaning it still did not fix the lazy or erratic wheel module. I was able to remove the gear cover and cleaned and regreased the gears. This did not work either. It’s odd that the wheel works but is lazy. This caused the 560 to buck, tends to turn to the right and wears the rubber wheel tread. Again the wheel module works but not as good as it should.
    I haven’t swapped wheel motors or circuit boards yet but will soon.
    I was told that the 500 wheel modules have some sort of circuit board sensors? There is no sensors in the gear case or wheel.

    • Jirka
    • January 25th, 2012

    My 5xx stopped with one motor not rotating. There was significantly higher resistance on invalid wheel. I just disassembled gearbox, removed all cogwheels inside of gearbox. Then the wheel could be rotated almost without any resistance. This acknowledged that no hair removal is necessary. Then I resembled it back and the wheel worked again. It is much easier do this few steps to detect if there is problem with hair inside of if the wheel or the gearbox is just misaligned than to force wheel and use gear removal foam. There was almost none hair in place described in article after 24month in duty, even if I have to clean my brushes full of hair after every one cleaning.

    • Costyn
    • June 11th, 2012

    The red wire from the module connector on the motor circuit board had come loose on my wheel module. I resoldered it and it’s working fine again. Very satisfying to repair it myself. :)

    • Miguel
    • September 30th, 2012

    I followed the easy instructions and recommendations, but I used Dust Remover instead and it seems to be working fine. Thanks for the advice.

  2. Hi, I was wondering if anyone has used EESolutions.ca Roomba Repair Kit services? My Roomba has the 9-beep error and was wondering if someone can tell me about this companys products.

    • ofir
    • November 17th, 2012

    hi …..i have a problem with the right wheel of my 564 roomba….if i turn it to one side its going fine….but when i turn it to the other side its go very hard…..when i take the wheel with the motor out its work fine but when i connect it again its running hard again…..

  3. I ordered a replacement module from iRobot and replaced mine. It solved all my problems. No more random stopping. Also, I had the 9-beep error before that and ordered a solderless repair kit online to fix that problem. I think the site was EESolutions.

    • T
    • February 7th, 2013

    Thank you for your help. I used one side of a very sharp tweezer to pull/cut the hair out and then used a silicone lubricant. One thing to mention is that 2 of the screws holding the wheel gear in do not come out completely, so don’t get frustrated with that (as I did :). Again, thanks for taking the time to post pictures and instructions!

    • Maria
    • March 21st, 2013

    Thanks for your help!
    Eventually I cleaned the wheels with compressed air, but you really need another pair of hands to do that.

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