Why Your Vacuum Cleaner Keeps Shutting Off

Is your vacuum cleaner playing a game of “shut-off” while you’re trying to clean? Frustrating, right? But fear not, it usually boils down to two culprits: an overheating motor or an electrical hiccup.

The good news is that the most common reason for your vacuum’s sudden shutdown is overheating, and it’s often a straightforward fix.

However, the electrical gremlins can be a bit trickier and might call for a visit to the repair shop.

I’ve got your back! Here’s a nifty video that might just save the day if you’re dealing with an upright vacuum that keeps playing the shutdown game…


A vacuum cleaner is a powerful thing that needs to be cooled to run properly.  If you have a clog in the tubing or restricted airflow, the motor can overheat, causing the vacuum to stop.

Tip: One way to know if a clog is causing the vacuum to turn off is that it will happen at the same time every time. If you start to vacuum, and it always shuts off after 2 minutes, then it’s a clog slowly overheating the motor. If it’s random shut-offs, then it’s a good chance it’s an electrical issue instead.

A vacuum cleaner has a built-in thermal shut-off that will turn the motor off if it gets too hot. This is to protect the electric motor from melting away.

What you want to do is check all tubing, intakes, filters, and bags to make sure nothing is blocking them. Most of the time, you will hear the vacuum change tone when you get something clogged in it.

You can also remove the tubing to clean it out. Most of the time it’s a little clog that allows enough air through but slowly overheats the motor, or a big fur ball blocking the air completely.

Tip: Once you have removed the tubing from the vacuum cleaner, use a broom handle to push any debris out of the tube. I’ve seen big items like wine bottle corks get stuck in the tubes of a vacuum cleaner hose before.

If the Filter is over 6 months old, then go ahead and replace it. The filter getting clogged is a significant cause for a vacuum to overheat and turn off. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your vacuum’s filter then it is time for a new one. Here is where you can buy Vacuum Cleaner Filters Here (Amazon Link Ad).


If you can’t find any clogs in your vacuum cleaner, then it might be an electrical issue. I’ve seen many times that an electrical socket has gone bad. Try plugging the vacuum cleaner into a new outlet, make sure the socket is nice and firm and not a loose feeling. A loose feeling plug is dangerous and can lead to fires, if this is the case, please call an electrician.

If it’s not an outlet, then the next thing would have to be the power switch. Another thing could be the electric motor. If you don’t know how to check the items, then it would be best to take them to a vacuum repair shop. One good way to tell if the outlet is bad is when you touch the vacuum cleaner’s cord, and it’s very hot. The cords may get warm, but excess heat could be a bad outlet.

If the vacuum is a cheap “Super Store” vacuum cleaner, then it would not be worth it to fix. They don’t build those vacuums to last, here is a post I did on how long a vacuum cleaner is built to last.

Another Option

One more option could be that you’re using the Vacuum Cleaner for too long. The Vacuum Cleaners you buy at those “Super Stores” are not meant to run for hours.

For these types of vacuums, I would recommend only vacuuming for 30 minutes and waiting for 15 minutes to let it cool down.

If All Else Fails

If you have cleaned, unclogged, and done everything you could possibly do, then it might be time for a New Vacuum Cleaner.

If you constantly have Vacuum Cleaners die on you, then I would recommend getting a Shop Vacuum like this one here (Amazon Link Ad). Shop Vacuums can suck up just about anything, even water, and hold up a lot better than regular vacuum cleaners. The real kicker is that many Shop Vacuums are more powerful and cheaper than the standard vacuum cleaners that most people get.

If you have kids or pets, then a Shop Vacuum is a must-have! You never know what messes you’ll come across! There is so much you can do with a Shop Vacuum for use in your home that I have written a great post on it here.



Hello, I'm Lee from "ThemVacuums.com"! Launched in 2016, my site addresses the online information gap about "robot vacuums" and "vacuum cleaners," areas where I have hands-on experience. Got questions about a post or topic? Feel free to comment or contact me (contact)!

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