Is it Time to Replace Your Table Saw Motor? | Table Sawz
Table Sawz
Care to share?
Is it Time to Replace Your Table Saw Motor?

Is it Time to Replace Your Table Saw Motor?

The motor of your table saw is one of the most important components. Sure, the blade does the cutting, but without the motor nothing happens.

Table saw motors, just like any other piece of equipment, can get old and break down. Perhaps your table saw is producing some funny smells, making some odd noises, or maybe it working.

There are a few different things which may be causing problems with your table saw motor, some of which can be fixed and some which cannot. Let’s go over the different problems you may be experiencing and see if they warrant a quick fix or replacement.

Before we get started, the most important thing to keep in mind is that if it is easier to replace the motor or the whole table saw all together, rather than replacing various parts or maintaining it.

Some Basic Troubleshooting

One of the very first things that you need to check is the power supply. Yes, this is an obvious point to make, and yet it seems to be a problem that many people encounter. If the motor is not working, make sure that the table saw is plugged in, that the wiring is good, and that the outlet in question is supplying your table saw with electricity.

The problem could be as simple as having forgotten to plug the saw in. Maybe the circuit breaker is in the off position, or maybe a fuse has blown, in which case you need to trip the circuit or replace the fuse. If the wiring in the power cord has gone bad, you will need to replace the cord, something which is probably best done by a professional.

Something else you will want to check regarding the power supply is if the overload switch on your saw has been tripped. The overload switch will turn the motor on your table saw off if it has been struggling with a job, getting too hot, or receiving too much power from an overloaded outlet, all to stop the motor from burning up. The easy solution to this is to switch the overload switch back so the motor can receive power once again.

Is it Time to Replace Your Table Saw Motor?$_35.JPG?set_id=880000500F

Keep in mind that if your overload switch has been triggered, it is because the saw is struggling with a job. Your table saw motor may be struggling because you have been using it for too long, or maybe the material you are trying to cut is putting up a fight. Either way, turning the saw off to let it rest might be all that you need to do to get it running again.

If your table saw motor continues to struggle when you turn it back on, or with other jobs, especially easy jobs, then it might be due to other deeper issues, some of which may be fixed, and some of which may require the replacement of the motor.

If your motor is struggling because of something as simple as cutting a few pieces of wood for 10 minutes, then there is definitely a more serious problem which will not be fixed simply by letting the saw rest for a while. If your motor is still making a bunch of weird noises, producing odd smells, or just not turning the blade, you will need to refer to the next sections in this guide, and it may actually be time to replace it all together.

Read The User’s Manual

Using the model of your table saw as a guide, you can find the appropriate user manual for your specific make. If you don’t have a detailed owner’s manual for your table saw handy, you can always go to the manufacturer’s website.

The manual should give you a parts list with diagrams of each part, or it should even give you an exploded view of the whole motor and saw with all individual parts pointed out.

Is it Time to Replace Your Table Saw Motor?

You should absolutely know the ins and outs of your table saw and the motor, including ever single part, for you to be able to fix the motor yourself.

A Dirty Motor

One of the reasons as to why the motor on your table saw may be smelling funny, making weird noises, creating smoke may be due to a buildup of sawdust and other grit. This sawdust and grime can collect on the housing of the motor, on the air intake, on the gears, and other mechanisms.

This happens naturally because when you cut wood, it creates sawdust that floats around in the air. Not all of the sawdust that is created will be collected by your shop-vac or by the collection mechanism, and that excess sawdust can end up invading the various parts of your table saw motor. The solution to this problem is fairly simple.

Is It Time To Replace Your Table Saw Motor

First of all, take off the housing that surrounds the motor. When doing this make sure that the table saw is unplugged. Use a damp cloth or a stiff bristle brush to clean out any gunk and sawdust that has accumulated in the motor.

When you are doing this make sure that you get all grit off of the blade, in the blade arbor, around the motor, the fan, and the shaft. If you have seen sparks and smoke, make sure that you check all electrical wiring and junction boxes to make sure that you have cleaned all of the sawdust away from any electrical parts, as electricity plus sawdust will result in smoke, smell, and a potential fire. This should get rid of any smoke, funny smells, or sparks.

Also, a starter switch may be plugged by grit, which may be a reason for your table saw not working, in which case cleaning the grit out of the starter should do the trick.

Checking Electrical Components

Since you already have the table saw open and taken apart, it is a good opportunity to check that no wiring has melted or ripped. If the problem is that your table saw just won’t work, a broken or melted wire may be the cause.

Is It Time To Replace Your Table Saw Motor

If wires are not connected, the simplest solution is to make sure that they are connected properly. However, if the wires are damaged, if you know how to solder, wires are pretty easy to replace, but we would recommend having a professional do this.

On a side note, if the electrical components are severely damaged, it may warrant a complete overhaul or even the replacement of the motor.

Dented Or Broken Components

Another cause of motor troubles may be that there are loose components, broken parts, or loose screws. If your table saw motor makes a loud clunking or ticking noise, it could be due to a dented fan or a misaligned shaft. If the fan is dented, it can be replaced with a new fan.

If the shaft is misaligned, you can try to align it yourself or get professional help to get it aligned properly. The bottom line is that dented, torn, or simply broken components can cause your motor to not run properly.

Is It Time To Replace Your Table Saw Motor

The thing to remember here is that while it may be cost effective to replace one or two smaller parts, there are some parts that are going to be very expensive to replace. The bottom line is that it may be more cost-effective to get a new table saw or table saw motor than it is to pay for the labour and various replacement parts.

The Belt, Belt Drive, & Pulley – Belt Drive Motor

Technically this is not a problem with the motor itself, but the motor connects to the belt drive, which connects to the belt, which drives the pulley and ultimately turns the blade.

If the blade is not turning or making excessive noise, it could be due to a worn belt drive, a worn out or broken belt, a damaged pulley, or loose connections between any of those things. When you open up your saw, check that all of those parts are in working order, and if they aren’t you will need to replace them.

Is It Time To Replace Your Table Saw Motor


These parts are usually pretty cheap to replace, that is except for the belt drive. If the belt drive is worn, a part that is directly connected to the motor, you will probably need professional help to get it fixed or replaced.

In some cases, the belt drive is so intricately linked to the table saw motor that replacing or fixing it can be nearly impossible and therefore will require you to spring for a new motor all together.

The Brushes – Direct Drive Motor

Not all table saw motors use belts and these are called direct drive motors. In this case, you need to make sure that the brushes are not getting in the way of the motor. This is one of the most common things that can go wrongs with smaller hand held saws and table saws.

These brushes are fairly small, and their function is to pass on electrical current, but they can’t interfere with the motor, which they will do when they are worn out or broken. Some models will tell you when the brushes need to be replaced.

If the problem with your motor has to do with the brushes of the direct drive motor, you can replace them, or have them replaced fairly easily, which means that you don’t need to buy a new motor. Once again, just refer to your user’s manual for the exact type of brush that you need to get, and if you don’t know how to do it yourself, you can always get it done at a shop.

The Capacitor

If the capacitor is not working, your table saw will probably get really hot, start producing smoke. When the capacitor isn’t working, you will generally be able to tell right away thanks to the humming or choking noise it makes, along with the smoke and heat.

Is It Time To Replace Your Table Saw Motor


To make sure that the capacitor is indeed a problem you can use a volt-ohm meter to measure the electricity levels. Set the meter at RX100 to measure the connections in your motor. If there is a reading of 0, it means that there is a short circuit, and if the reading jumps right from 0 to really high numbers, or changes frequently, there is probably an open circuit.

In either case, this means that you will need to replace the capacitor. Referring to the user’s manual, identify where in the motor the capacitor is, identify the exact model, and go buy one. If you are having trouble swapping it out by yourself, simply seek professional assistance.


If you aren’t too up to speed with the inner workings of your table saw , or with electrical things in general, you can always have it looked at by a specialist.

Keep in mind that if parts are dented or broken, they can be replaced, if parts are clogged with grit and sawdust, they can be cleaned out, and if there is an electrical failure, you may be able to swap out variable parts to get the electricity flowing again.

The key rule to keep in mind here is that if some issues can’t be fixed or replaced, or replacing various parts of your motor comes in at a higher price than buying a new motor would cost, it’s probably better to buy a new motor. That goes on to say that if buying a new motor is more expensive than the whole table saw cost in the first place, you’re probably better off just buying a new table saw .

About the Author Editor