How to Fix Noisy Washer | Washing Machine Repair

How to Fix A Noisy Washer

Pump & Pump Motor

The drain pump on a washing machine is used to pump the water from the wash tub before and during the spin cycle. The pump may be belt driven, motor driven or have its own electric motor. A noise coming from the washing machine during or after the spin cycle can indicate that the drain pump has a restriction or has become defective.

Remove the front panel or cabinet to locate the pump and then operate the washer to verify that the pump is the source of the noise. Use caution as you are now exposed to moving parts and electrical circuits. If you can confirm that the noise is emanating from the pump, then disconnects the power from the washer and remove the inlet hose to the pump. Use a container to catch the water from the hose and pump. Inspect the pump impeller for signs of foreign objects that may be causing the noise or for damage to the impeller. Turn the impeller manually to verify that it is not seized or worn. Front load washers often use a self contained electric drain pump and the motor may be worn or damaged and require the complete pump to be replaced. Remove any foreign objects or replace the worn or damaged pump, then carefully tighten the hose clamps and check for leaks before installing the cabinet or front panel.

Drive Belt

The drive belt is used to connect the drive motor to the transmission in some top load washers, or the drive motor to the wash basket in most front load washers. The drive belt is used to connect the drive motor to the transmission in some top load washers, or the drive motor to the wash basket in most front load washers. The drive belt may be either a single V shaped belt or a multi-rib belt and is normally made of rubber, but may have a fabric covering. On front load washers the drive belt is normally a multi-ribbed belt and is designed to be installed for a tight fit. On belt driven top load washers, the drive belt is normally a V belt with a fabric covering to allow for some slippage or it may be a rubber covered belt with an idler pulley or other tensioning device to reduce the amount of friction created when the motor starts up.

Direct Drive Motor Coupling

Some top load washers use a direct drive motor coupling to transfer power from the motor to the transmission. The drive coupling connects the motor to the transmission and consists of two plastic drive forks with a rubber coupling between them. One of the drive forks is attached to the drive motor shaft and the other is attached to the transmission input shaft. As the motor shaft rotates, the rubber coupling between the drive forks absorbs the torque to prevent the forks from breaking. Normal use will create wear on the coupling and eventually the drive forks may slip and cause a vibrating noise. If the transmission seizes or if the spin basket cannot turn freely, then the coupling may fail and again you may experience a vibrating noise. Most models will require you to remove the cabinet to access the drive coupler. Disconnect power from the appliance before attempting any repairs.

Shock Absorbers

All front-load washing machines have shock absorbers that are used to dampen the tub movement in the spin cycle. The shock absorbers or struts are attached to the base frame and to the outer tub and you will need to remove the front panel or the rear panel to access them. When shock absorbers weaken or become damaged, the machine will often make a loud banging sound during the spin cycle and if the symptom is not corrected, can lead to damage of other components. Inspect the shocks for signs of broken attachments, leaked fluids or a weakened dampening action and replace both shocks if worn. Remove power from the appliance before attempting this repair.

Tub Dampening Strap

Some models of top-load washers use tub dampening straps to cushion the movement of the tub during the spin cycle. There are four straps attached to the top of the tub and to each corner of the cabinet. These straps are made of rubber and can fail with normal use. When the straps become stretched or damaged, the tub may contact the cabinet during the spin cycle and create a loud banging sound. Continuous large loads and excessive use will create more strain and cause premature failure of the straps. You will need to raise the top of the washing machine to access the straps and determine whether they are causing the noise you are hearing. If any of the straps appear visually damaged or worn, they will need to be replaced. We recommend replacing all four straps at the same time.

Drive motor

The main drive motor on a top load washer is used to operate the transmission, spin the wash basket and on some washers, to operate the pump as well. On front load washers, the drive motor operates a belt that drives the wash basket pulley. A common symptom associated with a failing drive motor is a humming or buzzing noise when the motor starts, sometimes accompanied by a slight burning smell. The drive motor has a thermal overload that will remove power from the windings when it senses this over current condition, and the motor will shut down. This could be caused by a driven component of the motor that has seized or by a defect in the motor itself. If the drive motor is unable to rotate freely on its own, it will need to be replaced. If it does appear to be working and has no visible signs of wear, there are typically two groups of parts that will prevent the drive motor from being able to start.

A defective start capacitor can create this symptom. If your model uses a start capacitor, it will normally be located near the drive motor and will have a wire harness connected to the motor start switch. Check for loose wire connections to the capacitor and for any signs of corrosion or arcing. Inspect the capacitor for any cracks or swelling that would indicate a defect and use only the exact replacement part. Disconnect power from the appliance before attempting this repair. You should also check the mechanical components that the motor drives to insure that they are working properly. Make sure that the transmission and pump turn freely and that the wash basket will rotate in the spin direction as well. A seized bearing, defective pump or even an article of clothing caught between the tubs or in the pump can create a symptom of the drive motor buzzing and not starting.

Drive Motor Pulley &Transmission Pulley & Pump Pulley

On belt driven washing machines, the motor pulley supports the drive belt and in some cases the pump belt. There will also be corresponding pulleys on the transmission and the pump. These pulleys can accumulate a buildup of grease, rubber compound or dirt that can cause a squealing or thumping sound when the motor is running. If your washer is making this type of sound when agitating, draining or spinning, then you should inspect the pulleys for signs of dirt accumulation or damage. Make sure that the pulleys are clean and smooth and show no signs of distortion. Check the belts for any signs of wear or damage and replace if necessary.

Pump Belt

On belt driven top load washers, the pump belt is what drives the pulley on the drain pump. Regular use and age can cause the pump belt to become cracked or frayed, which can create a squealing or thumping noise during the drain or spin cycle. This may be accompanied by a burning rubber smell or an incomplete drain as well. Inspect the belt for any signs of wear, overheating or abrasion and check that the pump pulley turns freely as well. Use only the exact replacement belt and verify that the tension is adjusted to the manufacturer’s specifications. Not all washing machine belts are designed to be tight.

Tub Bearing

Both top and front-load washing machines have tub bearings that allow the wash basket or inner tub to rotate freely. Top load washers normally have a bearing at the bottom or input of the transmission and another where the shaft attaches to the inner tub. Front load washers typically use two bearings to support the wash basket shaft and are located at the rear of the outer tub. The bearings are protected from the wash water by a tub seal. Regular use, prolonged exposure to harsh detergents and overload conditions can cause the bearing seal to break down, allowing water to reach the bearings and eventually causing them to fail.

If you are experiencing a loud rumbling or roaring sound in the spin cycle, it is usually an indication of a failed tub bearing. Along with the noise you may also find excessive play with the inner tub or a water leak near the seal location. You will need to remove the inner tub or wash basket to gain access to the bearing and seal location. On top load washers, you will normally need to remove the transmission as well. Standard hand tools are normally all that is required to perform this repair but some models will require special tools to remove or replace the bearings and/or the tub seal. You should always replace the tub seal at the same time, especially when the bearings have been damaged by water or rust. Remove power from the appliance before attempting this repair and always wear the proper safety equipment.

Agitator Directional Cogs & Dogs

Agitator directional cogs, sometimes referred to as agitator dogs, are often used to operate the upper portion of dual action agitators. These cam shaped dogs engage the cogs on the inner surface of the agitator as it turns in one direction, and then release when the agitator reverses direction. This allows the upper portion of the agitator to “ratchet” in one direction while the bottom half will agitate in both directions. The directional cogs are made of hard plastic and will wear with normal use. When they become too smooth to properly engage the cogs on the agitator, they will start slipping and will make a grinding or crunching noise. You will also notice that the top portion of the agitator does not move smoothly or doesn't move at all. You can visually examine the directional cogs for wear or damage, by removing the top half of the agitator.

Clutch Assembly

Some top load washers use a clutch assembly to lock the transmission input shaft to the wash basket drive during the spin cycle. Over time, the repeated friction of the clutch pads rubbing against the housing can cause the clutch to wear and create a scraping sound. A worn clutch can prevent your washing machine from spinning, or may cause a slower spin speed which will leave your clothes wet after a cycle. Additional symptoms that the clutch may be causing your problems are brake dust or shavings found underneath the washing machine, a slight burning smell or a loud noise during the spin cycle. If your machine displays any of these symptoms or the clutch appears visually worn or damaged it should be replaced. The clutch is typically located below the outer tub and attached to the basket drive assembly. You will need to remove the cabinet and the drive motor and transmission assembly to gain access to the clutch.

More Repair Parts

Still not sure which part is broken? We can offer you custom troubleshooting help if you search with your model number.

Enter model or part number

Need help finding your model number?