All washing machines make a little noise when you use them. Still, there are several noises a washer isn’t supposed to make, like a loud squealing during the agitating cycle. So, why does your washing machine make that noise?
When your washer squeals during the agitating cycle, ensure that you haven’t overloaded the machine or gotten items stuck under the agitator. Once you rule those out, you can troubleshoot for worn-out drive belts, dirty or damaged pulleys, or a worn-out clutch assembly in the gearcase.
Troubleshooting a squeaking noise in your washer can be quite challenging. But don’t worry. This guide will show you the most likely causes and how you can resolve them.
Why Is My Washer Making A Squeaking Noise When Agitating?
When you notice a squeaking noise coming from your washer while it agitates, you can troubleshoot for the following issues:
#1 Overloaded Washer
Finding the root cause of that squeaking noise in your washer can potentially be a frustrating and time-consuming process. That’s why you must start by checking the issues that you can rule out quickly.
For instance, ask yourself if your washing machine is overloaded. When there are too many items inside, the drum will carry more weight than usual. As a result, there’s added strain on the belts, pulleys, and other components inside your machine.
That strain will cause your washer to make unusual noises. That includes the squeaking that you hear when the appliance goes through its agitation process.
How To Avoid Overloading Your Washer?
Firstly, you can check the user manual. The manufacturer puts information about how much weight your washer model can handle safely.
Let’s suppose you can’t find your user manual. In that case, stick to the timeless rule of thumb: loosely pack your washer with clothes up to ⅔ of its maximum capacity.
Anything beyond that is too much for your washer to handle. Plus, it’ll cause squeaking noises during the agitating cycle.
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#2 Object Stuck In Agitator
Once you’re sure that you’re not overloading your washer, it’s time to take a closer look at the agitator.
The agitator is not a part of the washer drum. Instead, it’s a separate piece that manufacturers attach to the back or bottom of the drum with a bolt. As a result, there’s a tiny gap between the bottom of the agitator and the washer drum’s surface.
As your washing machine goes through the agitating cycle, small objects can get stuck in the agitator. When the agitator or the drum turns, those parts will grind against the stuck object and cause the loud squeaking noise that you’re hearing.
Thankfully, you can fix this problem quickly by temporarily removing the agitator and freeing the stuck object.
How Do You Take Out An Agitator?
Most washing machine agitators will have a cap to cover their top. Firstly, you’ll have to remove that cap to expose the agitator’s inner chamber.
Once you do that, you’ll need a ratchet with an extension socket to reach inside. The goal here is to unthread the bolt at the bottom of the agitator that mounts it onto the washer drum.
After removing the agitator, you can free any stuck object that was causing the squealing noise earlier.
#3 Worn-Out Belts
Squeaking can also be a symptom of a worn-out belt.
Many washing machines on the market today are still driven using belts. When the motor generates energy, it turns a belt that transfers that energy to rotate the washer drum and other components.
Manufacturers typically make washer belts out of black rubber, the kind of material you’ll find in tires. The belt travels through pulleys and tensioners that ensure it stays tight around the motor and whatever component it’s turning.
Over an extended period, however, the belt will suffer normal wear. It’ll become loose, torn, and frayed.
When a washer belt becomes worn out and loses grip, it will squeak, particularly during the agitating cycle.
At that point, your only solution is to replace the affected washer belt.
Is It Easy To Replace A Washing Machine Belt?
Yes, replacing a washing machine belt is a very straightforward process. First, you’ll need to gain access to the belt. That’s typically done by removing the washer’s back panel.
Then, depress the tensioner to remove the belt quickly and replace it with a new one. Remember to always put the grooved side facing inwards and the smooth side facing outwards.
#4 Dirty Or Damaged Pulleys
As you’ve seen above, the washer belt moves through one or more pulleys that help maintain tension and alignment for the belt. Unfortunately, those pulleys will also produce squeaking noises when they become dirty or suffer damage.
To find out whether your pulleys are dirty (and need cleaning) or damaged (and need replacements), you’ll have to remove them from the appliance.
Before doing that, start by removing the drive belt the same way you did in #3 above.
How Do You Remove A Pulley From A Washing Machine?
You can remove the pulley from a washing machine by unthreading the bolt that holds it in place. With the bolt removed, you might have to shake the pulley slightly to get it off the shaft.
Once you get it out, inspect the pulley for dirt and damage that can cause squeaking noises during the agitation cycle.
Clean the pulley thoroughly if it’s dirty, but replace it with a new one if you find signs of damage.
#5 Worn Out Clutch Assembly
Lastly, the squeaking noise you hear could be coming from a worn-out clutch assembly. The clutch is responsible for the movements of both the tub and the agitator.
So, when the assembly becomes worn-out, it will likely cause a squeaking noise during the agitating cycle.
The clutch assembly is part of the washing machine’s gearcase or transmission.
How Do You Change A Clutch On A Washing Machine?
You’ll have to remove the washer’s transmission first to change the clutch assembly. That can be pretty challenging as the transmission (or ‘gearcase’) is a huge component. So, you might need a second person to help you carry it.
Then, you can remove the thrust washer and clutch support ring to free the clutch.
Once that’s done, you can put the new clutch assembly in.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are answers to some other frequently asked questions that you’ll find helpful when troubleshooting the squeaking noise from your washer.
What Is The Agitating Cycle In A Washing Machine?
The agitating cycle is a part of a standard wash program. That’s when the agitator turns from side to side repeatedly. By doing that, the washer loosens dirt and debris from your laundry to make the washing process much more effective.
How Do I Know If My Washer Is Agitating?
You’ll know that your washing machine is in the agitating cycle when the agitator moves back and forth repeatedly. As that process goes on, you’ll see that the washer is mixing your clothes with the water and detergent, and the water is getting dirty.
What Sounds Are Normal While A Washer Agitates?
When your washer is agitating, it’s normal to hear an electric hum or grinding noise. You’ll also hear an electric pulse or waterfall sound if the washer turns on its recirculating pump.
How Do I Know If My Washing Machine Agitator Is Broken?
A telltale sign that your washing machine agitator is broken is when it doesn’t move. Typically, the agitator will rotate back and forth repeatedly during the agitation cycle.
Is The Agitator Supposed To Be Loose?
On newer washing machines, you’ll find that the agitator is somewhat loose. That’s because manufacturers intentionally design it to wobble a little bit to protect against damage. However, you should always check to ensure that the agitator’s bolt is secured tightly to avoid wobbling.