Dryer Makes Noise When Tumbling – Troubleshooting Guide

Dryers have plenty of moving parts, and over time those parts can start to make noises. The confusing and frustrating thing is that there are several different noises that a dryer can make while tumbling, each of them a symptom of a different problem. Yes, it can be stressful trying to troubleshoot those noises, but we’re here to help!

Different dryer noises point to different problems. Squeaking usually points to the drum rollers and axles or the idler pulley. Squealing noises suggest a problem with the drive motor. A grinding noise, however, might be coming from the front drum glides or drum rollers. A damaged blower wheel might be causing hitting noises while a thumping one might be the fault of the drive belt.

In the following sections, we’ll troubleshoot what might be happening when your dryer makes noises when tumbling.

If Dryer Is making Squeaking Noises

1. Drum Rollers And Axles

For a dryer to get the job done, the drum must be able to rotate smoothly even at high speeds. That’s made possible by the drum rollers and axle that support the drum’s rotation.

Depending on the brand and model of your dryer, you may have either two or four drum rollers as part of the design.

Why it fails:

Rollers and axles themselves are able to turn smoothly thanks to the use of bearings. As long as those bearings are in good shape, the rollers can turn freely and support the rotation of the drum.

Related: Dryer Is Making A Squeaking Noise? – How To Fix It?

Over time, however, the bearings in one or more of those rollers can fail themselves. Not only will that jeopardise the smooth movement of the dryer drum, but it’ll also generate a strong squeaking noise as well.

How to fix:

Fixing this requires replacing the drum rollers and axles. You’ll find that these kinds of spare parts are typically sold as a set rather than individually.

That’s a good thing because if the bearings on one roller have already started to wear out, there’s a good chance the same will happen on the others as well.

2. Idler Pulley

The dryer motor turns the drum using the drive belt. For the belt to work correctly, it must always be kept under the correct amount of tension. So, what keeps the belt tense at all times? That’s the job of the idler pulley!

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On a dryer, the idler pulley consists of an arm and a wheel that lets the drive belt move freely even when it’s under tension.

Why it fails:

As mentioned earlier, the idler pulley has a wheel that must be able to turn freely. Much like the drum rollers discussed earlier, the wheel on an idler pulley also relies on bearings to turn freely.

Over time, those bearings can also become worn out, causing the wheel to generate a squeaking noise.

How to fix:

Solving this problem will involve replacing the idler pulley. Typically, that involves accessing the dryer from the rear by removing the rear access panel.

Once that’s done, the drive belt must also be removed first before the idler pulley can be removed and a replacement put in its place.

If Dryer Is Making Squealing Noises

If your dryer is making a squealing noise, your drive motor could be to blame. The drive motor is like the heart of the dryer.

Not only does it produce the power necessary to turn the drum, but it also does the same to turn the blower wheel, which drives hot air through the dryer

Why it fails:

Like a lot of the other components you’ve read about in this article, the drive motor also has bearings that can wear out over time. That’s especially true if the dryer has been in use for many years.

As you might have already guessed, a drive motor with worn-out bearings will create a lot of squealing noises whenever it’s on.

That’s especially true if the same motor is used to turn more than one component at a time, i.e. both the drive belt and the blower wheel.

How to fix:

Troubleshooting this issue requires inspecting the drive motor up close. You can try turning the motor by hand to check if it can move freely and whether or not it makes the squealing noise mentioned earlier.

It is possible to replace the worn-out bearings without replacing the entire drive motor. However, that type of work might be best left to the professionals if you do not have the knowledge or experience to change it yourself.

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If Dryer Is Making Grinding Noises

If your dryer is making grinding noises, your front Drum Glides could be at fault. As the dryer drum turns, its front portion rests on what’s known as front drum glides.

They come in several different styles, but all have the same purpose. As the name suggests, the purpose of this component is to help the drum glide smoothly as it turns and prevent it from coming into direct contact with the rest of the dryer.

Why it fails:

For the front drum glides to fulfill their purpose, they must be smooth enough for the drum to glide. Over time, however, they wear out and don’t provide the same smoothness.

As a result, the drum comes into direct contact with whatever part of the dryer supports the drum.

That produces a grinding noise because the drum quite literally starts to grind against the dryer thanks to the front drum glides which aren’t able to do their job correctly.

How to fix:

Worn out front drum glides must be replaced entirely. Again, front drum glides can be quite different in shape and size across different brands and models.

Some may have one big piece that wraps around the front of the drum, while others may be multiple smaller pieces that are sold in a set.

By replacing the front drum glides, the grinding noises should no longer be a problem. These are relatively easy to replace as a DIY job, so you’ll save a lot of money by replacing them yourself rather than calling a technician.

If Dryer Is Making Hitting Noises

If your dryer is making hitting noises, your blower wheel could be to blame. A dryer is all about hot air. Specifically, hot air needs to be forced through the drum to absorb the moisture of the wet items in there.

Then, the hot air needs to be pushed outwards through a vent (for vented-type dryers) or through a condenser (for condenser-type dryers).

The air that moves around in a dryer isn’t driven by a fan, but by a blower wheel. As the name suggests, it’s a plastic wheel with several blades that causes air to move whenever it spins.

On a dryer, the blower wheel’s spinning pulls air from the outside of the machine, drives it through the drum, and out through a vent.

Related: How Often To Clean Dryer Vent?

Why it fails:

It’s entirely possible that the blower wheel might get damaged. Perhaps a foreign object found its way inside the blower wheel’s compartment, or it wasn’t installed correctly.

When that happens, one or more of its blades might get damaged and hit the back of the dryer whenever it turns.

That could be the source of a hitting noise that you might hear coming from the back of the appliance.

How to fix:

Blower wheels can’t be repaired, so they must be replaced entirely. Most dryers place the blower wheel towards the rear of the machine.

So, you’ll probably need to remove the rear panel to access the blower wheel and replace it with a new one. There are many videos and tutorials on how it can be done with your specific dryer

If Dryer Is Making Thumping Noises

If your dryer is making thumping noises it could because of a damaged drive belt or even drum rollers. The drive belt is what makes the drum turn.

It’s a belt with multiple grooves that connects the drum to the drive motor through several pulleys, such as the idler pulley mentioned earlier.

Why it fails:

The drive belt is one of the most frequently replaced dryer parts, regardless of brand or model. That’s because the belt wears out after a while and typically breaks as a result.

When it breaks, the dryer drum won’t turn at all, rendering the machine useless to the user.

Still, it’s possible that the belt doesn’t break entirely. Instead, it’ll gradually deteriorate as pieces of it fall off over time.

When a drive belt is in that kind of condition and continues moving through the dryer’s pulleys, it’ll make thumping noises that you can hear from the outside of the machine.

How to fix:

Even if a drive belt hasn’t broken entirely, you must replace it when you hear that thumping noise. That’s because it’s a clear sign that the belt has deteriorated significantly and that it could break at any moment.

Replacing a drive belt on a dryer is straightforward, but it’s a very time- and labour-intensive process. Depending on the design of your dryer, you may have to open up most of the access panels.

That will allow you to remove the deteriorated belt from around the drum and replace it with a brand new one.

The more challenging aspect of this process is ensuring that the belt is positioned through the different pulleys in a serpentine fashion so that it achieves the correct level of tension to turn the drum effectively.

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