Grinding noise from a dryer can mean many things because the dryer is composed of parts that will naturally make a sound when worn out or loosened.
A spinning dryer is noisy by itself. However, when that noise gives you speculations that something is wrong, like a grinding noise, or when it feels the dryer is too bumpy and shaky as if something will explode, then it is time to look at it.
Grinding noise is not the only sound you will hear if the dryer has many other issues. These noises could be:
Before you fix the problem:
- Examine what kind of noise you are hearing.
- Turn the appliance off.
- Remove the parts one by one if needed.
Dryer Making Grinding Noise
For many years of use, it is not uncommon for a dryer to give up and start to make a grinding noise. A dryer grinding noise could mean many things other than just that they are old and worn.
You have two choices to keep your dryer working: repair the broken parts or replace the motor.
When you opt for a replacement, it is as easy as ABC. Buy a new motor and have an expert replace it if you can’t do it independently. And you’re done, no more grinding noise! You will have a dyer as good as new.
But if you choose to repair, it could be more cost-efficient if we could diagnose the noise source before embarking on a repair.
Reasons Behind Dryer Making a Grinding Noise and Dryer Noise Troubleshooting
The drive belt serves as a support in the spinning dryer. It plays a vital role in the pulley system that helps the drum rolls. If the belt is broken, the dryer spin will cause a thumping sound.
Expect the collected dust over the years when you open the lid of the dryer; imagine the hairs that escaped the lint trap. So, those too can harm the integrity of the dryer running for long.
While the dryer spins on and on, it also acts like a vacuum cleaner sucking all it can, whatever debris it can get, making it hard for the belt drive to support the drum, eventually tearing up. What do you do?
- If you have a broken belt, replace it with a new one.
- If there’s no problem with the belt but just gotten loose, clean the mess up.
- Put the dryer on a raised platform to minimize the vacuum effect and promote a longer belt life.
- Remove the front panel by unscrewing them carefully. Ensure that the wires are carefully detached before pulling off the cover panel.
- Make sure the belt is not twisted and that it rolls appropriately, put everything back, plus it in, and power on.
- Expect to hear a humming sound when the belt smoothly moves along.
The drum roller and shaft work in coordination with each other. When one is broken, it will affect the other.
One of the causes of dryer noise is the loose bearing in the roller.
In the dryer, the shaft won’t spin and will cause a grinding noise while it makes its effort to move when the roller and shaft are broken.
If the rollers are completely worn out, an uneven spin will cause a loud thumping sound. This is because the drum will wildly bump into the dryer’s housing.
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You can suspect the loose attachment with a squeaky and thumping noise. If your drum shaft or axle is loosened against the bearing, it will make a nasty squeaking noise.
The whole drum will be moving around inside the dryer cabinet just by the push of your hand.
If the drum moves all around the place and makes a loud noise, check the shaft axle and the bearing attachment.
When you fix the drum shaft and rollers:
- Pull the plug off the wall before opening your dryer appliance.
- Take the door off by unscrewing to avoid any damage to it when working on the drum.
- You don’t need to take off the top and side panels if you have a front-load type dryer; directly go to the air vent, remove the screws holding that thing in place, and remove the back panel.
- Remove the bearing cover and the heater element cover.
- Un-couple the electrical wiring; take a photo of the wiring as a reference when putting them back.
- Make sure you have the screws and washers, the bearings, bearing pad, and seals.
- If you are replacing the whole drum, you can buy a drum dryer with a pre-attached shaft.
- For Whirlpool dryer models, you can find two rollers at the rear. Replace the rollers with new ones to ensure new bearings for a smooth spin with the drum roller axle.
The dryer motor can have multiple failures that also produce different kinds of noise.
The motor is the heart of the drying machine. If it fails the first time, it will make a humming sound. This means that the motor keeps on exerting power from electricity, but it barely moves.
- Loose bearing will cause the motor dryer to squeal.
- A broken pulley system will make a rattling noise. This includes the drum support roller and dryer belt.
- A faulty electrical source will cause the humming noise.
- When the blower wheel or pulley wheel fails to spin along the motor shaft causing high-pitched noise and vibration.
For electrical repair, call a professional to check your dryer’s motor. They have special tools to determine the exact problem of the motor.
Drum glides are parts of the dryer drum that serve as support. A drum slide should fit the dryer for the smooth rotation of the drum.
Depending on your dryer’s model, the drum glide or slide is made of plastic, nylon, or Teflon, with cork or felt. Worn-out drum glides automatically will produce a grinding noise as they lose support for the drum.
- If you hear a grinding noise, turn off the dryer, then pull the cord from the plug to avoid electrocution.
- Open the front panel to access the drum bearing.
- Remove the drum glides if you think they are damaged.
- Replace them with new ones.
- Always return the screws in place to avoid making further noise once you resume the dryer operation.
Drum bearing problems are indicated by grinding or squealing noise. Most bearings are attached to a shaft. When one of them fails, you need to check the connection and signs of damage to any of them. Sometimes, when changing the motor, it is a good idea to change the bearings as well.
Since the drum bearings carry the most weight when the drum starts to rotate, they should be held firmly in place. But before you can pull off the bearing, you need to bring everything out, from the cover panel, electrical couplings, screws, drive belt, and drum.
Refer to your instruction manual for different kinds of dryer models.
Another critical component of your loud dryer is the pulley. The pulley works systematically for the dryer drum to spin correctly.
The idler pulley is a small spring-loaded device in the dryer that exerts pressure and keeps the drive belt intact, so it keeps the dryer rum and rotates it during the drying cycle. When the idler pulley is damaged, it squeals when the dryer is in operation.
The pulley can wear out in timekeeping intact the belt to hold the drum in place while it spins. When the pulley and belt fail, a loud squeaky noise will be heard until a thumping sound when the dryer drum has gone awry in spinning, causing spillage.
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It is easy to locate the pulley. Once you find the belt, it surrounds the motor pulley. Try removing the belt and check manually if the pulley makes a noise when you turn it.
- Unplug the dryer.
- Pull the lint screen out of the housing in the top panel of the dryer.
- Push a putty knife under the lid near the left and right edges of the front of the dryer.
- Lift the top and prop it securely against the wall behind the dryer.
- Pull the front panel off of the dryer and set it aside.
- Take a digital picture of the configuration of the drive belt on the idler pulley and the motor pulley so you can install it correctly.
- Push the idler pulley to the right to release the tension on the drive belt.
- Release the drive belt from the drive motor pulley and pull it out of the idler pulley.
- Pull the idler pulley out of the bracket in the base of the dryer.
- Install the new idler pulley and put back the drive belt to loop around the pulley.
- Put the top panel back into place.
- Plug back the power cord into the wall outlet.
When you hear a thumping or scraping sound, it is likely caused by the felt drum seal.
The drum seal serves as cushion material to prevent excess air from coming into the dryer drum. Once the seal is torn, clothes can be stuck while the drum is spinning and produce a scraping sound.
A drum seal wears out from years of use and should be replaced with a new one. Most drum seals are made of felt or any soft material to protect the drum and the bulkhead.
- Unplug your unit from the power source.
- Open the cover panel and remove the dryer drum.
- Use the drum belt when lifting the drum.
- Check for signs of damage on the seal.
- If they are worn out already, scrape off the old seal and stick a new one.
- Align and attach the seal around the rim as you put pressure until the whole drum is rounded up with the seal
- Drum seals are easy to install as they are self-adhesive.
- Make sure to put back everything the way you remove them before plugging the unit again.
Spin Cycle: Dryer Making Loud Rumbling Noise
If you hear a loud dryer noise during a spin cycle, it means there is wobbling movement inside the tub. Wobbling drums due to loose bearing will cause a horrible spin cycle and a loud banging or repetitive rumbling noise.
This means that the bearings are faulty and need to be replaced.
Do the same instruction under rollers and shafts and replace the broken bearing. Always take extra precautions when dealing with electrical components to avoid accidents.
PRO TIP: When the dryer is off-balance, it will cause the parts to wear off prematurely and for the wiring to expose on friction. Balance the dryer to ensure proper drying and protection of components.
Common Noise Made by Dryers
Common dryer noise comes from worn-out rollers. They are one of the main culprits why your dryer makes a grinding, scraping, and squealing noise.
Thumping noise may result from a wobbly dryer drum, especially when the load becomes uneven and causes a tilt in the drum due to a broken belt and failing pulley system.
But when the noise is kind of rattling, loose bearings and screws could cause that awful sound. If it’s a lousy bearing sound, you will hear squeaking or squealing sounds.
However, it is most alarming when the sound you hear is a humming noise. Though it is normal for a dryer to produce a humming sound when the drive motor whirs, an unusual humming noise can lead to an electrical fault. And this is hazardous.
Check with your dealer if your dryer is still under warranty or call a professional maintenance specialist to fix or replace the drive motor.
Signs That You Need a New Dryer
Not every bad sound you hear from your dryer is a sign to get a new one. The simple troubleshooting explained above will get your dryer fixed in no time at all, provided that you have detected the source of the noise and the part to repair or replace.
But when it is time to buy a new clothes dryer, it is easy to say when:
- The noisy dryer is too old. The average lifespan of a dryer is 10 to 13 years.
- Clothes aren’t thoroughly dried, or clothes are too hot.
- Loud, repetitive loud noise.
- Exposed and faulty electrical wiring.
PRO TIP: To have a quieter dryer, do the following: a) isolate the dryer from the wall; b) ensure that the base is level on the ground; c) apply to pad on the side panels; d) check the drum for loose parts.
What does it mean when your tumble dryer makes a rattling sound while the clothes are tumbling?
On the inner surface of the drum, you will find the lifter or baffle. Baffles are the reason why clothes tumble the moment the dryer starts spinning. But if during such movement you hear a rattling noise, something inside could have been broken.
Check for any damage in the baffles or metal objects that are lodged underneath them. Ensure to remove them before spinning again. If the sound persists, you need to check other parts or replace the baffles.
What is causing a grinding noise in your whirlpool washer?
One main reason for the grinding noise is the breaking of couplers if you have a direct-drive Whirlpool washer.
While couplers are parts of the motor shaft made of plastic, they are easy to replace. But the actual replacing is what makes the task tedious because you have to remove almost every part of the washing machine, the cover or housing, the pump before you can access the motor.
How to fix loud metal scraping noise when the dryer is on?
Loud metal scraping noise is commonly a result of wrong or worn glides, slides, or rollers. Old and eroded glides will expose the drum scraping against metal and create noise when the drum is turning. Get new glides and put away the old ones.
PRO TIP: A stainless steel dryer drum is rust proof and stain proof. It is a better material than the coated drums, where the surface wears off or gets chipped in time.
Can’t trust the dryer brand you previously owned? Check on reviews and feedback, and be observant of what’s trending these days.
Since makers of appliances adapt with time and update their design, it is wiser to be in the loop if you want good quality dryers at your home.
Washing machine and dryer brands like GE Dryer and Samsung Dryer are among the top ten popular dryers today that have modern features like sensors and Wi-Fi technology making your washing experience more convenient. But according to the New York Times, Maytag dryer ranks the most favored brand in the laundry world, accounting for its least margin of error.
Leave your laundry in peace. If you are still unsure which part of your dryer is making noise, call a certified technician to check on your appliance. Perhaps, you have forgotten how old your dryer is, and it is time to shop for a new one.
Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.