Thumping, bumping, and knocking sounds
Clothes dryers are pretty simple but can be confusing at the same time. Be sure to follow safety precautions while working on an appliance.
There are a variety of sounds that a dryer can make that indicate that some sort of service is needed.
The moving parts of the dryer include:
Idler (Belt Tensioner)
Drum Supports (usually some kind of roller or wheel)
Any of these moving parts can begin to make noises that should be attended to in the near future. Failure to repair a noise in a dryer is likely to lead to a more serious problem. For example, a bad roller may start making a noise when it has reached the end of its service life, failure to replace the roller could result in damage to the drum, bearing, heating element, etc.
Drum Supports and motor
Drum Supports and motor
Motor and Idler Arm
Motor and Idler Arm
Common Noises and their probable causes
The dryer makes a thumping noise which is rhythmic. You hear, “thump, thump, thump” and it continues.
Most likely cause for this noise is a bad support or roller. The roller may not be turning as designed, or has developed a flat spot on one of the surfaces, or the bearing in the support has ceased to work and has worn completely through and it is riding irregularly on the spindle.
The dryer makes a ‘card in the spokes’ sound. Remember when you used to put a playing card on your bicycle with a clothes pin so make that trilling sound? If you hear this in your dryer it may not be a good sign.
Most likely cause for this noise is something has gotten into the blower wheel or the blower wheel has come loose especially in a Maytag dryer. If you hear this noise, get closer to the blower housing and see if you can determine if the noise is coming from the blower. Quite often the obstruction is a small plastic toy or an ink pen. This will need to be removed from the blower.
The dryer is making a screeching or high pitched sound.
Most likely cause for this noise is a metal sound. The drum support is not rolling and instead is scraping the spindle. The bearing on the drum is worn and the drum is riding low and scraping on the door opening or on the element enclosure. This problem should be fixed before you operate your dryer again. This indicates the beginning of a serious problem that could cost a lot because the whole door panel or element enclosure might need to be replaced if the problem is ignored.
Squealing and bumping intermittent sound. The drum turns a complete rotation before you hear the bumping noise.
Most likely cause for this noise is the belt or idler (tensioner). If the belt is badly worn and a chunk of it is missing, the belt will make a thump each time it passes over the motor pulley. Also the squealing could emanate from the idler where the idler pulley is dry and the belt is squealing as it passes over the idler pulley. This problem can be solved by replacing the belt and cleaning and lubricating the idler pulley. Squealing can occur if the support rollers are dry, check them, too.
Noises like scraping are coming out of the front of the dryer from around the door.
Most likely causes for this noise are worn bearings that work like glides or slides where slick plastic is used to ride over other plastic parts, when they become worn, they are designed to make a scraping noise. It is important to have the dryer repaired before continued use. The bearings typically cost around 20 or 30 dollars. The whole front cowling is more like a hundred dollars or more and the labor for this repair will be forty or fifty dollars.
Metal on metal scraping and screeching sounds. Sometimes you get a scrape that lasts a 1/2 second or so.
Most likely cause for this noise is badly worn bearings that allow the drum to ride low and scrape against the metal supports or the element enclosure. Stop using the dryer immediately as the sound indicates a condition that will ruin the dryer or at the least be very expensive to repair.
Other sounds and what they might be.
Whistling may indicate a full or plugged lint filter. Clean it out.
Buzzing when the start switch is pressed usually indicates that the timer is set to an off position. Make sure the door is closed. Reposition the timer to the 30 minute timed setting and try again.
Humming when the start switch is pressed usually indicates that motor is bad. If this is an intermittent problem, but is getting worse, the motor is probably bad and needs to be replaced.
Loud knocking repeated after a pause usually indicates that someone is at the front door. Go to the door and find out who it is. If it is a friend, open the door, this will completely solve the problem. If the knockers are two young men dressed in suits, they are probably from Utah. They are not dangerous you may open the door and tell them to go away. If the knockers are two women and a child nicely dressed and sweetly looking at your door, carefully check to see if they are carrying anything that says “Watchtower.” If they are, they must be discouraged or they will be back again and again. If the knockers are arriving in costumes, especially ghosts and witches, you have forgotten Halloween again, run to the store and get some candy.
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