Has your gas or electric dryer started squealing soon after you press the start button? Or is it more of an ominous low rumbling that pervades the house? Perhaps there is a scraping and rattling sound emanating from the appliance that has set your teeth on edge. Repair Clinic has identified seven likely causes of a noisy dryer as well as the part or parts you can replace to silence the appliance. Before we get to those, there are a couple of simple troubleshooting steps you should take first.
The first troubleshooting steps for a noisy dryer
Before you even think of starting to disassemble your dryer, open the dryer door and check to see if there are any loose items inside. Coins or keys are often inadvertently left in pants’ pockets and, as the laundry starts to tumble, those objects can easily fall out of the pockets and start rattling around in the dryer drum. Your next troubleshooting step should be to determine if the appliance is level or not. An unlevel dryer can result in noisy operation as the drum rotates the laundry. A dryer that is not level can also cause excessive wear on parts like bearings and glides which can lead to the dryer running noisily.
All four of the dryer feet should be in contact with the floor
When determining if a dryer is level, you should first confirm that all four feet are in contact with the floor. Does the appliance rock back and forth when you apply weight to a corner? That’s a clear sign that one or more feet are not in contact with the floor. Even when the dryer is sturdy and doesn’t rock back and forth, the appliance can still be unlevel. The most conclusive way to determine if a dryer is level is to place a carpenter’s spirit level across the top front edge of the appliance as well as along the top side edge to confirm the bubble comes to rest evenly between the two black indicator lines. If the dryer is tipsy or the spirit level indicates the appliance is unlevel, the problem can be solved by extending or retracting one or more leveling legs.
Adjusting the dryer’s leveling legs
The four leveling legs on a dryer are threaded like screws into the base of the appliance. While it’s recommended to have all four legs threaded as far into the base as possible, you will often need to adjust one or more legs to properly balance the dryer. To do this, you should have an assistant help you to lift up the side of the dryer you need to adjust the leg on and use a wood block or a comparable sturdy object to support it. Some dryer models will use a locking nut to secure the leg in position. If your dryer uses locking nuts, you will first need to loosen the nut with an appropriately-sized wrench (often a 9/16th-inch wrench will work). Next, you can use adjustable pliers to rotate the leg counterclockwise to extend it or clockwise to retract it. Again, place the spirit level across both the top front edge and top side edge of the dryer to confirm the appliance is level, then tighten the leveling leg locking nut if applicable. Repeat this action as necessary to confirm the dryer is level from side to side as well as from front to back.
The 7 parts that can cause noisy dryer operation
Now that we’ve got the simple stuff out of the way, we can get down to the seven parts most likely to cause noisy dryer operation:
1) Worn out drive belt – The dryer’s drive belt, which wraps around the drum, an idler pulley, and a drive motor pulley to rotate the drum, can wear out over time. This can create a scraping, rattling, or vibrating noise when the drum is turning. When a belt is worn out, it will often appear visibly frayed or damaged. Inspect the drive belt for any damage and replace with a new one if necessary.
2) Damaged drum roller – Many dryers use drum rollers to support the rear of the drum and some models will use rollers to support the front of the drum as well. If a roller is damaged or worn out, it will produce a high-pitched squealing or squeaking noise when the dryer is running. The defective roller should be replaced with a new one to solve the problem, but we recommend replacing all of the rollers at the same time as a preventative measure.
3) Worn drum roller axle – The axle that supports the drum roller could be worn out as well which can result in a squealing sound. If the roller wobbles on the axle or won’t spin freely, the axle should be replaced in addition to the roller.
4) Obstructed blower wheel – The blower wheel works with the motor to draw the heated air into the dryer drum. If the wheel is obstructed by a small article of clothing or the wheel is misaligned and rubbing against its housing, you may hear a scraping or screeching sound when the dryer is operating. Check to see if anything is obstructing the blower wheel and confirm the part is properly secured on the motor shaft and not rubbing against its housing. If the blower wheel appears damaged or wobbles on the motor shaft, you should replace it with a new one.
5) Worn drum glide or pad – On many dryer models, drum glides or pads are used to support the front of the drum as it rotates. Over time, these parts will wear out, resulting in a low rumbling noise when the drum is turning. If any of the glides or pads are worn out, you should replace all of them as a set to ensure they will wear evenly.
6) Damaged idler pulley – The idler pulley, which applies tension to the drive belt when the drum is rotating, can wear out and produce a squealing noise during operation. If the idler pulley is damaged, we recommend replacing both the pulley and the drive belt at the same time.
7) Worn out drive motor – Over time, the bearings in the drive motor can wear out and produce a grinding or squealing sound. Since the bearings cannot be repaired, you will need to install a new drive motor to fix the problem. Keep in mind, a drive motor wearing out is not a common problem, so you should confirm the other potentially broken or damaged parts are in good working order before considering a drive motor replacement.
Fix that dryer fast with help from Repair Clinic
Need some guidance in figuring out how to replace your dryer’s drive belt, drum glide, or drum roller set? Visit Repair Clinic’s “Videos & Articles” section to explore hundreds of gas and electric dryer repair videos taking you step-by-step through repairs like installing a new drive belt on a GE Electric Dryer (Model GTD42EASJ2WW) or how to replace the drum glides on a Frigidaire Gas Dryer (Model FSG447GHS0). Model-specific schematics, diagrams, and more are also available; just enter the full model number of your dryer to get started.
Genuine OEM parts can silence a noisy dryer
Repair Clinic believes the best way to silence a noisy dryer is to replace that defective part with a genuine OEM replacement part. Genuine manufacturer parts are specifically designed to work with the models they’re installed in and can be more compatible and longer-lasting than a generic part. Enter the full model number of your gas or electric dryer in the Repair Clinic website search bar to view genuine OEM drive belts, blower wheels, drum pads, idler pulleys, and much more from manufacturers such as Bosch, Electrolux, GE, Kenmore, LG, Maytag, Samsung, Speed Queen, and Whirlpool.