Most washing machines tend to make a fair amount of noise while they’re being used.
Usually you’ll end up tuning these sounds out as just another household noise.
However, as soon as you hear a new noise coming from your washing machine, that can set alarm bells ringing in your head, justifiably.
One of these new noises could be a sort of grinding sound, which can sound very unhealthy for your washing machine.
There are a whole host of different things that could cause a grinding noise to come from your washing machine. Unfortunately, a lot of these will be from issues that you can only really fix yourself if you really know what you’re doing. This grinding noise usually comes from the inner workings of the washing machine, so if you try to fix it yourself, be prepared to get your hands dirty.
In this piece we’ll look at the various causes for a grinding noise and how to troubleshoot any of these issues yourself, if possible.
What Causes a Grinding Noise in Your Washer
The inner workings of a washing machine are filled with moving parts that could each potentially fail, leading to all sorts of interesting sounds coming from your washing machine.
Some of these issues could be from poor installation which are just now showing their faces, or they could be sudden failings with a specific component.
Drive pulley and drive belt: Both of these components are very susceptible to damage from wear due to regular use.
Over time, these parts can start to crack or become bent. If this does happen, small bits can actually break off as the rubber becomes more brittle.
If small bits have broken off, then this can cause a grinding sound as the washing machine works.
Agitator dogs: These are small parts located in the centre column of a top load washing machine.
These allow the agitator to rotate, moving your clothes around.
Just like the drive belts and pulleys, the small parts of plastic that make up these dogs can wear and break through repeated use.
This means the agitator will start to produce a grinding sound while in use.
Clutch assembly: This connects the transmission and the inner tub and allows the tub to get up to the correct spin speed during a wash cycle.
A grinding noise could be produced because of a worn out clutch.
If this is the case, the grinding noise will be mostly present only while the machine is actually spinning and just as the cycle completes.
U-joint failure: This part is the most expensive part of your washing machine and replacing this can often be as costly (or sometimes even more costly) than replacing your entire appliance.
Without calling an engineer, this part is essentially impossible to replace, as well as being difficult to diagnose.
Tub bearing: This is a part that keeps the outer tub in place.
If this is the cause of the noise, then the tub can start to make a grinding noise inside the washing machine.
It is actually preferable, if possible, to replace the entire outer tub rather than just the bearing if this ends up being the cause.
The reason for this is that if the outer tub bearing has already failed, the likelihood is that the tub itself is the next to go, as the tub bearing keeps the tub in place, allowing it to avoid wear.
If the outer tub bearing is no longer working properly, the tub will be susceptible to wear, meaning it will need to be replaced not long after.
Any one of the above causes could be the root of the grinding sound coming from your washing machine.
Diagnosing which part is the cause can itself be pretty tricky, as the sound isn’t likely to change too much between different failings.
Even if you’re confident you could fix a lot of the above yourself, an engineer would be a good consultant for the diagnosis.
How to Troubleshoot a Washing Machine Making a Grinding Noise
If you’ve read these causes and are pretty confident in your DIY skills, you may be able to troubleshoot some of these issues yourself.
If attempting any of these, ALWAYS disconnect the washing machine from the power source first, before doing anything else.
Check the motor and pump: The pump being the issue is actually your best case scenario.
Usually a thorough cleaning job will solve the issue.
If you unplug the front panel of the washing machine and attempt to run the washing machine you can determine whether the pump is the cause.
If there is no grinding noise when running the machine without the pump connected, then the pump is the culprit.
You can then disconnect the inlet hose of the pump and check the impeller.
If there is dirt caked onto the impeller you can clean this with a cloth and some vinegar, which will usually resolve your issues.
If the impeller is actually cracked, then there will be no option except replacement.
Shock absorbers: Checking these components is an easy one to get to.
Most of these parts will be located in a panel either on the front or the rear of the appliance.
There are three main things to look for when examining the shock absorbers.
If any of them are torn, loose or leaking any kind of fluid, then they need replacing.
It’s a good idea to actually replace all of them, even if it’s only one that appears faulty, as this will avoid mismatches.
These are a couple of the troubleshooting things that you can do yourself that can determine some of the causes that are fixable sometimes by you.
So hopefully that gives you an idea into what might be causing your washing machine to make that horrible grinding sound!
Unfortunately, in pretty much every case, there isn’t a lot you’ll be able to do that doesn’t involve calling someone out to look at it, which can be costly.
While it is inconvenient, it is always best to consult with a professional, usually from the manufacturer, rather than do anything about it yourself, especially if you’re unsure.
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