Why Is My Dryer Squeaking? 6 Likely Reasons
Sometimes when a fully loaded dryer fires up and starts to spin, it starts squeaking. The squeaking sound might be loud enough to cause a disturbance, but it could also be something subtle and hard to hear. Squeaky dryers can be annoying, but they are also concerning. Dryers are not supposed to squeak, and the squeaking sound usually is an indication that something is wrong.
If you have a squeaky dryer, it could be caused by one or a number of potential issues. Here are six likely reasons that your dryer is squeaking.
The 6 Reasons Your Dryer May Be Squeaking
1. Loose or Worn Dryer Belt
One of the most common causes of a squeaky dryer is a loose or worn dryer belt. The dryer belt goes around the drum of the dryer and connects the drum to the motor. The belt is prone to cracking over time due to the consistent motion and heat that a dryer produces. When the belt becomes worn, it can come loose. A loose belt will often squeak. A loose belt is also at risk of breaking. If the belt breaks, the dryer won’t spin at all. A worn-out dryer belt needs to be replaced. Once it is replaced, the squeaking noise should stop.
2. Old Dryer Motor
All motors wear out over time. The thing that powers a dryer’s motion is a motor. Over time, a motor can break down. A squeaking noise coming from the back of the dryer can betray a motor that is starting to go bad. A bad motor might also be accompanied by grinding or buzzing noises along with squeaking. The sound usually comes from the back of the dryer. If a dryer motor goes bad, it usually makes the most sense to simply get a new dryer. Replacing the motor can be extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive.
3. Bad Idler Pulley
The idler pulley is a part of the dryer belt system. The idler pulley connects the dryer belt to the motor. It is a wheel that spins and runs the belt to the motor. A bad idler pulley can easily cause a noticeable squeaking noise as the belt spins through the pulley. An idler pulley can be replaced, and as long as the motor and the dryer belt are in good shape, the repair will be less than the cost of a new dryer.
4. Dry Roller Wheels or Roller Bearings
When you try to dry a large or heavy load of laundry, you might notice that the dryer tends to move a lot. It might rock from side to side or bounce up and down. In order to compensate for this, the dryer has a set of wheels or bearings in the legs that help the dryer absorb this force. If the legs come loose or the wheels get dry, they can start to squeak. This is generally the easiest problem to fix when it comes to a squeaky dryer.
Check the legs. If they are loose, see if you can tighten them. You can also use WD-40 and spray the area where the legs connect to the dryer.
5. Bad Drum Bearings or Front-Loading Seal
Other pieces that could be causing the squeaking noise involve the spinning drum. The drum bearings could be dry or going bad. The drum bearings help the dryer drum spin smoothly. Dry bearings could start to rub and wear out, which causes a squeaking sound. The other thing that could squeak is a loose or busted seal on a front-loading dryer.
When the seal on the dryer comes loose or cracks, it can squeak when the dryer drum spins. The seal is supposed to be tight to keep the door securely fastened. The seal keeps the hot air inside the dryer. Like the dryer belt, it can grow worn, cracked, split, or loose. Problems with the drum bearings or seal will cause squeaking from the front of the dryer. Check the seal for signs of damage to determine your next course of action.
6. The Dryer Is Rubbing Something When in Use
One of the simplest issues that people might overlook is that the dryer might be making contact with something external. When the dryer is in use, see if the appliance is rubbing up against anything. It could be touching a nearby washing machine. It also could be moving a nearby mop handle, loose floorboard, or wire shelf.
Sometimes it is not your dryer squeaking at all but the motion of the dryer causing things to rub and bump into each other. Laundry rooms can become cluttered, and dryers move an awful lot so just check the area around your dryer if you do not think that anything inside your dryer is causing the squeaking sound.
Best Way to Diagnose Squeaking
Most people are clueless when it comes to their appliances, and that is okay. You don’t need to be a professional to try and diagnose the source of a squeaky dryer. The first step is to find the relative location of the squeaking sound. Is it coming from the back, front, top, or bottom? Squeaking sounds from the back or top are usually more of an issue than squeaking sounds coming from the front or bottom of the unit. The motor and much of the belt infrastructure are located at the back of the dryer behind the drum.
The other thing you can do is open everything up and look for obvious signs of wear or damage. Check the seals, the lint screen, the area around the dryer, and the area behind the dryer. If you can’t see anything obvious, but the squeaking sound is definitely coming from inside the dryer, it is likely a belt or bearing issue.
When in doubt, you can always call a professional. They will be able to diagnose the problem and give you an estimate on the cost to fix or replace the unit.
Is a Squeaky Dryer a Cause for Concern?
Yes. A squeaky dryer is a cause for concern. In most cases, a squeaking sound is an indication that a part or piece is starting to wear out. If these parts break completely, your dryer will stop working altogether. The best course of action is to identify the source of the squeaking sound and to diagnose and fix the problem before it gets any worse.
In rare cases, the squeaking is harmless, but it pays to be careful and proactive in these situations. If your dryer breaks completely, you might need to buy a new unit rather than spend less money on a more preemptive repair. If you have a squeaky dryer, don’t ignore it.
A squeaky dryer can be caused by a number of things. In some cases, the cause is something minor, like a loose dryer seal, uneven dryer legs, or even cleaning supplies leaning up against the unit. In other cases, it can be a deeper problem like bad belts or a failing motor. In any case, it is a bad idea to ignore a squeaking dryer. Steps should be taken to identify the source of the squeaking and then move to fix the issue in order to help your dryer last longer.
Featured Image Credit: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock