Should I buy a cheap turntable drive belt on eBay?

No, if you are going to get one, at least get a good one.

You could be lucky, but how will you know if you’re getting a quality belt of the correct size or not?

To some people, all rubber drive belts look and therefore ARE the same. But really, that’s like thinking all spark plugs or all tyres are the same. Learn a little though and you’ll realise they are not. There are technical, sizing and quality aspects to consider that vary from belt to belt, even when belts are specified as being ‘correct’ for their intended purpose.

I’ve seen many eBay and Alibaba belts. Customers buy them thinking they will save a few dollars and sometimes hi-fi stores fit them, only for owners to find their turntables now run fast, slow or noisily. Owners then have to buy another belt of good quality and the correct size. This only wastes time and money rather than saving it.

Belt diameter, width and thickness are critical. Excessive tightness from belts that are too small is a common problem. Incorrectly sized belts place excessive force on the drive pulley and motor bearings, causing noise, poor running and excessive wear.

Belt material and manufacture are also important. Poorly cut belts cause excessive wow in cassette decks. Poorly joined O-ring belts also cause speed issues. Poor quality belts don’t last either, some lasting only a year, vs 10 for good quality rubber belts. Belts that are too thick or thin will cause your deck to run at the wrong speed. Did you know that?

You can avoid these issues by simply taking your deck to someone who sells premium quality, correctly sized parts that meet OEM specifications. When your belt is being fitted they can also give our deck a health check and perform any other service work or adjustments necessary to make your turntable run at its best.