How To Clean Roomba Side Wheels


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Has your Roomba robot vacuum cleaner stopped working as it did on Day 1? Has it lost some of its mobility and started making beeping noises you’d never heard before?

Those are the signs of a Roomba that’s become unhealthy and is in need of some attention. While these little helpers are great robots that are able to clean on their own, they still like attention from owners. They need their owners to clean and maintain their parts, so they can continue cleaning.

All electronic devices need to be maintained and cared for, Roomba’s no different. In addition to filters, dustbins, WiFi components, and brushrolls, you’ll need some Roomba wheel cleaning action.

Symptoms of Wheels Needing a Clean

How might you know the wheels need to be cleaned? If your Roomba is having trouble moving or moving more erratically, it might be time.

The side wheels of your Roomba allow for its 360° turning capabilities, and needless to say, no Roomba will work properly unless its side wheels do. The issues could come from pet hair that’s stuck in the wheel axel or maybe a little grease is needed.

Let’s take a look at error codes, warnings, causes, and solutions to get your Roomba back to running like the young Roomba days.

These are general steps to cleaning the Roomba and each model might be a little different, but the basic instructions here should cover the majority of the steps.

ERRORS, BY THE NUMBERS

A great time-saving feature that Roombas have is that they’ll conveniently let you know when something is going wrong and why. They do that by letting out an error sound followed by either a series of beeps or a recorded voice message, depending on the model.

Each set of beeping sounds reflects an error code number (as in, one beep equals Error N°1, and so on). In the case of side wheel-related problems, the number of beeping noises / error codes that interest us for the purpose of this guide, are 1, 5, 7 and 10 (although not all models register all such codes).

So, before we continue with our guide on cleaning Roomba wheels, let’s briefly review the codes, along with the recommended actions for solving them, according to the manufacturer:

Error Code 1 OR One Beep

Problem: Device is stuck. The side wheel is hanging down.

Solution: Take your Roomba to a different location, then restart the Roomba by pressing the CLEAN button.

Error Codes 5 and 7 OR 5 and 7 Beeps

Problem: The side wheel is stuck.

Solution: Clean the side wheels.

Error Code 10 OR 10 Beeps

Problem: The device’s Bumper is likely not registering obstacles in its path, or it’s stuck.

Solution: Clean the side wheels like with errors 5 and 7.

Roomba 650 "error 10" side wheel - error may be from dirt in front caster wheel

The Roomba 900 Series models are directed to find further help via the iRobot App. The app will give more information.

You can check a chart of error codes for specific Roomba series on their site:

Roomba 500 Series

IRobot Roomba Side wheel error and solution

Roomba 600 Series

Roomba 800 Series

Roomba 900 Series

Now that we’re informed on the error codes of side-wheel-impaired Roombas, let’s take a look on how to properly address them.

CLEAN ROOMBA WHEELS

In order to start with the cleaning process, you need to make sure to you’ve armed yourself with some pieces of cleaning fabric, ideally thin ones.

Ready to see the simple steps it takes to get your Roomba in top shape again?

  • Start by turning the unit over
  • Look for things that may be obstructing the wheels like pet hair or carpet fuzz
  • Should you see manifestly troubling amounts of fibers or other debris compromising your device, press the wheels up and down to eliminate the most superficial obstructions.

If you suspect that Error 1 alone has been the issue, you can at this point return the unit to duty and check out whether or not this has solved the issue.

If you want to keep cleaning, however (recommended), continue to the next step.

  • Carefully place one corner of the cleaning cloth into the wheel frame.
  • Use your hand to make the wheel spin, so that the wheel slowly carries the cleaning cloth through the wheel frame as the wheel spins
  • Continue spinning the wheel gently and patiently
  • Allow the cleaning cloth to spin continuously spin 360° through the wheel assembly
  • The cloth should be carried by the motion of the wheel as you keep moving it with your fingers
  • Perform this action about 3 or 4 times (full spins)
  • When you’re done and ready to pull the cloth out, make sure not to apply too much force, or you might tear the cleaning cloth as you pull it out of the wheel frame
  • The cloth should come out of the wheel encasing by the motion of the wheel itself

If some cloth pieces tear off and get stuck, that’s another problem you’ll need to deal with and will mean disassembling the wheels.

Your Roomba’s side wheels are once again ready for cleaning duties.

Conclusion

Cleaning your Roomba’s side wheels is an easy process. It won’t be hard for you to maintain the Roomba at all. You can get your Roomba device up and running in a matter of minutes, without much effort.

Side wheel related problems are not necessarily frequent, but they may very well be the most frequent cause of a Roomba flashing its error lights and making some beeping noises.

With that said, it should also be noted that some obstructions can complicate the cleaning procedures, but also possibly create larger issues with the Roomba’s internals. In time, the negative and detrimental effects can build up to the point that the Roomba needs to be replaced.

No Roomba model (nor any other electronic device for that matter) is impervious to damage. Persistent errors after performing manual maintenance duties may be a warning sign that it’s becoming time to replace your robot’s side wheels entirely.

Remember to keep checking and maintaining the other parts like the dustbin, filters, WiFi components, batteries, and even the Home Base units.