Does your dryer seem like the balance between heat and sound is favoring sound? Is it squealing or grinding or groaning as it turns? We will walk you through the common causes of these problems.
Before you tear the dryer apart looking for that squeaking noise, let's narrow down our search with some quick tests.
Try to Move the Drum Around
Take firm hold of the drum and try to move it side to side and front to back and up and down. It should not move much. If it moves in any direction so that you can hear a thunk, that gives us a clue as to the problem:
- Vertical movement likely means the drum support components are worn. These include support rollers, support glides and rear bearings. It may also mean that the belt is loose.
- Front to back movement indicates likely worn seal felts.
- Side to side movement indicates a problem with either drum support components or the glides (if present).
- Spin the drum by hand, if it spins very easily with a possible sliding sould you may have a loose belt.
Try to Locate the Noise
You can help your search to be better targeted if you try to figure out where the noise seems to come from. Run the dryer and check for the location of the noise.
- If the noise comes from the top, you should suspect the belt, especially if you get a slight burning rubber smell.
- If the noise comes from the front especially all around the door, you should suspect:
- the front felt seal. Probably a grinding noise.
- the drum support rollers as well, the sound will be on the lower front
- the drum glides, the noise will likely be upper front.
- If the noise is from the lower portion of the unit, you should suspect the idler pulley. That might also be accompanied by smell too. as the belt may be slipping or having to slide over the idler pulley if it is jammed.
- Also for squeaking from the lower portion of the machine, some units have self leveling legs that get out of adjustment when the unit is moved. You can lift up the front of the machine and let the legs drop down if they are of this type. That may cure the squeak.
- Squeaking from the rear may indicate a worn drum support bearing, or worn drum support rollers.
From these checks you can first try the item that it points to and then inspect the others.
Before doing any of the items below, check to see that the dryer is level, an out of level dryer can squeak. Adjust the leveling feet to get the dryer level front to back and side to side. You may fix the noise without disassembly.
Slipped Belt or Faulty Idler Pulley
If the belt is slipping, it can cause a squeal or squeak.
- The belt may slip:
- because it is old and worn, or
- because the idler pulley is not providing enough tension, or
- because the idler pulley has frozen
- because it has somehow rolled over so that the ribbed side of the belt is not against the drum.
- To check this, open up the dryer cabinet and take a look at the belt on the drum.
- You should not be able to lift the belt off the drum with your fingertips.
- The belt should be in good condition. with the ribs on the drum. If the ribs are facing up, you will need to flip the belt over. See the next point for guidance in releasing tension to do this
- To check the belt condition, release tension on the belt by slipping it off the idler wheel down by the motor. Look carefully at how the belt is wrapped around the idler pulley so you can reinstall it later. You'll need to move the idler pulley against the spring tension so the belt goes loose.
- While you are doing this make sure the idler pulley:
- spins freely
- is in line with the motor pulley and
- is not cracked or its axle bent.
- If there is a problem with it, you will have to replace it.
- Check the ribbed side of the belt for fraying, wear, or worn spots where the belt has been damaged. If it is damaged, replace it.
Broken Drum Support Rollers
You can check the drum support rollers (if your unit has them!) by disassembling the unit, and removing the drum.
- Check each roller:
- to see that it spins freely, without a grinding noise
- that it is not wobbling on its axle
- that the axle isn't bent
- that the clip which holds it on the axle is present. You can look at all the support rollers to determine if they should have a clip since it is unlikely that they will all fall off or break. They are usually a small triangular plastic piece that fits into a groove on the axle.
- if one roller is bad you should replace all the rollers at once, otherwise they can just fail one after another, which means getting very skilled at disassembling your dryer.
- If a roller is bad check its axle too, it may need replacement. You don't have to do those all at once, since they are usually only damaged by a bad roller.
Faulty Drum Glides
You can check the drum glides (if your unit has them!) by disassembling the unit and looking at the area right above the door on the front panel of the machine.
There are a number of different drum glide designs, but commonly they are small, almost flat, plastic pieces that act as bearings for the front part of the drum, which glides over them. Some go completely around the front of the drum support and are a large round plastic circle.
If they are worn the drum will probably be rubbing on the front panel of the machine, and it will be noisy. It may damage the felt seal too.
Here is a helpful video.
Drum Support Bearing Failure
The drum support bearing is mounted on the rear bulkhead (panel) of the machine (if your unit has one!) and supports a small axle attached to the rear of the drum. If it fails, the drum will likely be more difficult to turn as well. You will see the axle rubbing against a metal retainer. The usual part to replace is a plastic support cup.
Faulty Felt Seal
The felt seals do just that, they make the drum have a relatively airtight seal that also allows the drum to rotate. They are usually on the drum itself and if they wear down, the drum may be able to rub against the front or rear panel of the machine.
- You will likely see that the drum has shifted in the direction of the worn seal and the other seal may not even be sealing well at all.
- Rub marks from the drum contacting the front or rear bulkheads of the machine are a sure sign.
- if you find these signs, replace the felt that is showing wear; it might be worth doing both while it is all apart.