DIY Repair & Maintenance

Solved! Why Is My Dryer Squeaking?

A dryer squeaking can be cause for concern. These helpful troubleshooting tips can help determine what’s causing the noise and how to fix it.
Dryer Squeaking
Photo: depositphotos.com

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Q: Recently I noticed my dryer squeaking every time I run it. Not only is the squeaking annoying, but I’m concerned that this could be a sign that the dryer is damaged. So why is my dryer squeaking, and what do I do about it?

A: Noisy appliances can be a huge nuisance, so it’s natural to wonder, “Why does my dryer squeak?” A dryer squeaking loudly is definitely not normal wear and tear. It usually indicates that a part has worn out and needs to be repaired. The best-case scenario may be a few loose screws or squeaky bearings, but the worst-case scenario could be a failing motor. Either way, the issue will need to be addressed immediately in order to avoid further damage. First, try to identify the location of the squeak: top, back, front, or bottom. This helps determine which part is possibly malfunctioning and can offer a clue about how small or big a fix it will require. It can also aid in the decision to either hire one of the best appliance repair services or attempt to DIY. The following are some potential causes of a dryer squeaking when it’s running.

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Before contacting a dryer repair technician, there are a few quick things to check.

In some cases, the squeaking may not be a sign of dryer damage at all. For instance, if the floor or subfloor underneath the dryer is loose, the vibration from the dryer may be causing it to squeak and it might be time to replace the subfloor. If the floor is not level or the drum is overloaded, this can also result in the dryer making loud noises. A professional who installs dryer vents can verify that the metal duct may squeak against the machine or the wall when agitated. On the inside, loose objects like coins can become stuck in the lint trap and make noise. Homeowners and renters can eliminate these possibilities ahead of time to avoid making an unnecessary service call.

The roller wheels or bearings might not be lubricated properly.

Dryer Squeaking Because of the Roller Wheels
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Ideally, the dryer squeaking sound is coming from the wheels or bearings on the bottom of the dryer; this is a relatively easy problem to solve. As the dryer drum rotates, especially with bulky loads, the dryer moves slightly while it’s running. If the wheels or legs on the bottom of the dryer have become loose or uneven, they can cause a squeaking sound. In most cases, putting a little WD-40 on them to grease them up will eliminate the squeaking noise. If the dryer sits on screwed-in legs, simply tightening them can fix the issue.

Alternatively, sometimes a dryer squeaks when running because of small foreign objects in the dryer’s drum or lint filter. Coins, paper clips, and other similar items can easily be found in the drum and removed. To inspect the lint filter, the user will need to unplug the dryer, and then look down the opening. If any objects are stuck inside, they can use work gloves to retrieve them. It may also be worth the cost of dryer vent cleaning and inspection to make sure that the vents are clear and undamaged.

The dryer belt might be worn out and it needs to be replaced.

Since dryers run at high temperatures, it’s not too uncommon for a dryer belt to become worn and cracked over time. If the sound is coming from the top of the dryer, it may be because a worn-down dryer belt is squeaking. The user can inspect the belt for cracks or see if it’s loose by first unplugging the dryer, then opening the dryer cabinet.

Sometimes it is possible to prolong the life of the dryer belt by rubbing bar soap or spraying belt lubricator on it. This will temporarily remedy the dryer squeaking noise, but if the belt is showing signs of wear, it may be more worthwhile to order a replacement part and have it installed to avoid additional problems down the road.

The idler pulley may have lost traction and need to be replaced.

If the dryer is squeaking from the bottom, there may be a problem with the idler pulley. This part is an automatic tensioning device on the dryer belt. The user can check the idler pulley’s state: If the pulley wheel is broken or loose, a dryer squeaking would be the result. In this case, some dryers will require a full pulley replacement, while others will need only the wheel replaced. A professional appliance repair person can advise the customer on the best course of action.

Dryer Squeaking Because of the Drum
Photo: depositphotos.com

The drum glide bearings might be faulty and need replacement.

Another possible culprit for a squeaking dryer is faulty drum glide bearings, which will make a squeaking or rubbing sound toward the front of the dryer. This part is what helps the drum glide smoothly when rotating against the front seal. The user can inspect the glide bearings to see if they have been worn down. Minimal signs of wear could be enough cause for replacing the part. If the front seal was damaged by faulty drum glide bearings, it may be necessary to replace it.

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The felt drum seal may be torn and require attention.

Most dryers have a felt seal on the perimeter of the drum to prevent air from escaping during the dryer cycle. The seal also keeps clothing from getting stuck in the gap between the drum and the bulkhead. When the seal wears down, clothing may become wedged in this gap, making a loud scraping noise and also causing tears in the clothing. A new seal can be purchased and is relatively easy to install, though many prefer to hire an appliance repair person to perform the replacement.

The dryer’s blower wheel may have come loose and need to be tightened or replaced.

The blower wheel conveys hot air from the heating chamber to the drum. Over time, exposure to hot air can wear out the wheel’s plastic and cause it to come loose. This can result in the dryer making squeaking noises or thudding when the unit is turned on. In some cases, the blower wheel can be tightened, but if it has permanent damage it will need to be replaced.

The baffles or lifters may be loose and require tightening or replacement.

The dryer’s baffles, also called lifters or fins, protrude from the drum and help to scoop up and fluff clothes during the drying cycle. When baffles loosen or begin to come unscrewed, they can make noise while the drum is rotating. The baffles may need to be secured or replaced in order to remedy this issue.

The dryer bearings and motor may need to be replaced.

A faulty motor is usually identified by squeaking or grinding sounds, not by a burning smell from the dryer. If the squeaking sound is coming from the back of the dryer, a faulty motor or bad bearings may be the problem. This issue will need to be solved promptly; grinding bearings can break the motor, in which case the dryer won’t start at all.

With the dryer unplugged, the repair person or owner can open up the unit and check if the bearings need to be lubricated or replaced. Replacing the motor may involve removing wiring, clamps, or the pulley. If that seems a little more daunting to tackle, a professional can get the job done confidently.

If the cause of the dryer squeaking isn’t obvious, an appliance repair technician can diagnose the problem and offer potential solutions.

Homeowners are often tempted to try to make repairs themselves in order to save on appliance repair costs. However, those who are not particularly familiar with the mechanics of a dryer may be better off having a professional inspect the machine. Unfortunately, the answer to the question “Why is my dryer so loud?” is not always straightforward. While some fixes may seem simple, there is always the risk of further damaging the dryer or sustaining an injury. Additionally, many DIY fixes can do more harm than good, resulting in an even bigger repair bill. Appliance technicians are experts on broken dryers and will be able to diagnose the problem, order any necessary replacement parts, and carry out the repairs much more efficiently. It’s also a good idea for homeowners and renters to have the number of the best dryer vent cleaning services and repair professional on hand for maintenance to prolong the life of the dryer for as long as possible.