4 possible reasons your washing machine makes banging noises

August 4, 2017

Household appliances always seem to break down at the worst possible time. Here are four of the most common reasons that your washing machine makes banging noises while running – and some tips for fixing them. [Image credit: iStock.com/Jovanmandic]

4 possible reasons your washing machine makes banging noises

As with most things, it’s best to start your washing machine repair with the simplest solution and work your way toward more complex ones if necessary.

1. Check if the load of clothing is unevenly distributed

The most common reason for a noisy washing machine is that you’ve overloaded the tub or that the clothes in the tub are unevenly distributed. This causes the inner tub of the washing machine to spin unevenly, often hitting against the outer tub and creating the banging noise. This seems to happen more with top-loading washing machines because there’s no gravity to prevent clothes from becoming clumped together on one side. Some items that absorb a lot of water, like towels and rugs, also tend to cause an unbalanced spin. Wring out heavy items by hand, if necessary, and redistribute the weight in the tub.

2. The tub bearing is bad

All washing machines have a part called a tub bearing, which the tub sits on, allowing it to move freely without resistance. If your washing machine makes banging noises, and if they get louder over time, this could be a good indication that the tub bearing is worn out. If your washing machine is a front-loader, you can test if the bearing is bad by spinning the tub. If there’s unusual noise or the tub spins unevenly, it’ll need to be replaced. A lack of lubrication may also cause the tub bearing to wear out more quickly. Your owner’s manual will have more information on how to access and replace the tub bearing for your washer. Remember to disconnect the machine from power and from water before opening the machinery.

3. Take a look at the drive pulley

Now we get into some more intensive diagnostic solutions. Connected to the motor by a belt, the drive pulley is a wheel that rotates the inner tub of the washing machine. Over time, it can become loose and the poor connection with the inner tub can lead to significant noise during its operation. Top-loading washers usually have the drive pulley at the bottom of the machine, while front-loaders typically have theirs at the back, making them a bit more accessible. Replacing the drive pulley requires getting into the internal components of your washing machine, so you should always consult your owner’s manual first.

4. A shock absorber is loose or broken

All modern washing machines have the tub suspended inside a metal chamber. This allows the tub to move and shake during its operation, in order to clean the clothes better without harming the ground on which the machine sits. However, when a shock absorbing spring becomes loose or detached, it can cause the tub to become dislodged from its normal operational position. Consult your owner’s manual on accessing the areas with the shock absorbers. Once you can get to them, you can either refit or replace them as necessary.

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