A washing machine with a loose drum will make loud clanking noises and vibrate every time it starts a spin cycle. The entire machine will wobble and vibrate for as long as you keep using it. Apart from being upsetting, a loose drum can also ruin its mounting or vibrate your washing machine to early retirement.
Tightening the machine as soon as possible will eliminate the wobble and shaking, restoring peace and ensuring your unit serves you without breakdown for longer years.
A loose laundry machine drum is hard to miss. The signs to look out for are:
- The laundry machine shakes violently and systematically when you turn on a spin cycle
- You are getting loud clunking noises from the machine that is not the common whirr and light vibration you know
- The drum and basket have a visible wobble
Could Be the Washing Machine is Out of Balance
Before running to disassemble your laundry machine and inspect the drum and its assembly, start by ensuring that it is properly balanced.
The laundry machine drum is heavy – especially when fully loaded. Placing the laundry machine on uneven ground will throw this delicate balance off, making the drum more susceptible to vibrations.
Leveling involves adjusting the machine’s feet or moving it to a more even surface.
Ensure it is on Even Surface
The first step is ensuring that the laundry machine is in a room with an even floor. Avoid placing it on unfinished floors that aren’t leveled. The small variations in inclination, even if designed to encourage water flow in one direction, will throw off the laundry machine.
Once you’ve got the unit as level as the floor can allow, you can finalize the fine-tuning using the inbuilt leveling feet and a spirit level.
Lay the Spirit Level on the Washer to Determine the Inclination
Take the spirit level and lay it on the top panel such that the spirit level is perpendicular to the front of the washing machine.
Check the bubble location at the spirit level.
- If everything is level, it should be between the two lines
- If it isn’t, it will be on one side. The side the bubble shifts to is higher than the other side.
Raise or Lower the Legs to Accommodate any Inclination
Using a wrench, loosen the tightening bolt holding the feet on the high side (the side the bubble moved towards). Once the foot is loose, you can twist the leg clockwise to shorten it. Turn it in small bits while observing the spirit level, as you will stop as soon as the bubble is between the two lines.
ProTip: Some washing machines don’t have a lock nut on the feet. You can adjust straight off by turning the legs clockwise or counter-clockwise to adjust the length.
Once you get the front side level, you can shift to leveling the sides of the machine. You must take the spirit level and lay it perpendicular to the front side. Repeat the adjusting procedure accordingly until the bubble centers on the spirit level.
ProTip: For best results, work on the two feet of each side when leveling instead of adjusting just one, as moving one foot too much will affect the opposite leveling.
You might have to repeat the entire procedure several times before the laundry machine is properly leveled.
Inspecting Possible Components that Could Break or Work Loose
If your laundry machine drum still shakes and wobbles violently even after leveling it, you will have to inspect its suspension and retaining mechanism to ensure that it isn’t loose or broken. You will be looking for:
The Shock Absorbers
Most laundry machines have at least two shock absorbers between the tub and the frame. The shock absorber is similar to what you get in a car. If they fail, they won’t damp the vibration and shock as much.
You will not that the shock absorber piston doesn’t retract and will probably leak. If this is the case, they will need replacement.
Otherwise, confirm that the attachment bolts are snug.
The Suspension Springs
The suspension springs finish the suspension system. They suspend the tub from the top of the laundry machine’s frame. The drum will be out of balance and shake more if one or more springs are loose, broken, or missing.
The Snubber Rings
Top load machines have a snubber ring at the bottom that pads the bottom of the tub from the lower frame. The ring is made of felt, plastic, or rubber.
If it is missing or dried out, the bottom of the tub will bump against the hard metal of the laundry machine’s frame, leading to more vibrations.
Inspect the Dampening Straps
Dampening straps are next in the restraining system. Four straps attach the tub to the four sides of the frame in suspension. If one of the straps is broken or damaged, the drum won’t have full support from all sides. This makes it easier for the drum to shake and wobble as it spins.
Check the Driver Bearings
Your laundry machine must have ball bearings between the tub spindle and the motor shafts. If the casings for these bearings (or any other bearings) wear out and throw the bearings, your tub will wobble, vibrate, get stuck or make other noises when in use.
Keeping your laundry machine level and ensuring you don’t overload it is a great way to keep the drum from working itself loose and wobbling too much.
Check this too: How to Clean a Washing Machine
Focus on running smaller loads and avoid heavy items as much as possible. Take note of your laundry machine’s weight rating. Avoid anything that could absorb water and add up to more than the maximum weight.
A good example is throwing in a big blanket or duvet into a 6KG laundry machine. While it might be light and fit in the drum when dry, it will weigh more than 6KGs when wet and ruin your machine’s drum, suspension and the motor.