Dryer Making Grinding Noise: 10 Machine Parts To Inspect

Clothes Dryer

Last Updated: April 27, 2022

A dryer has several parts that move as it spins. Over time, these components are prone to wear. Among others, one of the most common issues that you will encounter is the dryer making grinding noise. 

More than being annoying…

A noisy dryer requires immediate attention. Pause it mid-cycle as soon as you hear anything unusual. Do not resume until you figure out the problem and solution. 

If you have no idea about diagnosing and fixing a dryer making noise, read on!

Why Is My Dryer Tumbler Making Noise? 

As soon as a dryer makes a loud noise, most people will panic. It pays to be knowledgeable of the potential reasons, including those I will talk about below. 

Why is my dryer so loud? Here are some of the possible issues to look at and quick fixes that can work before you call a technician.  

1. Drive Belt 

Drive Belt
Drive Belt

Also called drum belt, the drive belt turns the drum as the drive motor rotates. It is brittle and wears out over time, especially when the dryer often runs at a full load. 

As the drive belt breaks, it will shed into pieces. In turn, you will hear a grinding noise as the machine performs its function. 

Luckily, repairing a broken drive belt is easy and affordable. The replacement parts are often cheap, and you can fix them yourself using basic tools. 

To repair the dryer belt, remove the front panel of the dryer. Look for the drive belt, which wraps on the dryer drum, connecting the driver shaft and idler pulley. Inspect for fragments, remove when necessary, and replace. 

2. Drum Roller And Shaft 

Drum Roller And Shaft 
Drum Roller And Shaft 

The roller and shaft work together to support the drum. After using the dryer for several years, they can break and contribute to dryer noise. 

As the shaft starts to spin, it will be difficult for the roller to move. It exerts more effort than necessary, which makes it loud. It can also have an uneven spin, which is the culprit for a loud thumping sound. 

Repairing the roller and shaft requires taking off the door to access the drum and its components. You will also need to take out the cover for the heating element and bearing. Uncoupling electrical wirings is also necessary. 

3. Drum Slide 

Drum Slide 
Drum Slide 

The drum glide or drum slide supports the front drum, allowing it to turn smoothly. 

Plastic, nylon, and Teflon are some of the most common materials used in drum glides. It also has felt or cork. As they disintegrate because of long-term use, they will not be able to support the drum. As a result, you will hear a grinding noise. 

Like most of the problems on this list, you will need to replace this component to get rid of the noise. To access the slides, you must remove the dryer cabinet. Depending on the specific model, you will need to remove rivets or screws. 

4. Drum Bearing 

Drum Bearing 
Drum Bearing 

The bearings facilitate the rotation of the dryer drum. It is located at the back and can be attached to a shaft or a ball and socket assembly. 

It carries most of the weight as the dryer spins, which makes it prone to strain. The heavy load can be a burden, and this can cause the bearings to misalign. When such happens, it is when you can hear a grinding sound. 

To be sure if it is the problem, remove the front panel and belt of the dryer. Turn the drum. If it squeaks, it is an indication that the bearing warrants a replacement. 

5. Idler Pulley 

Idler Pulley
Idler Pulley

A spring-loaded device, the idler pulley maintains the tension of the dryer driver belt. It has a central axle that prevents the slippage of the belt as the dryer runs. 

Especially when the dryer is running full, the idler pulley can experience increased friction. In turn, it can make a grinding noise. 

Look for the pulley inside the dryer drum. Inspect its spring mechanism, which is the part often prone to breakage. If the spring has fallen off, you will need to re-attach it. It is also possible that it is completely broken, and hence, a replacement is needed and not just a simple repair. 

6. Blower Wheel 

Blower Wheel 
Blower Wheel 

The blower wheel works with the dryer motor.

They draw air outside and circulate it inside, which is what dries clothes. The air is then expelled outside through an exhaust. 

Aside from a high-pitched noise, other common symptoms of problems in the blower wheel include extreme vibrations and clothes not drying completely even after a cycle is done. 

One of the most common reasons for a failing blower wheel is stuck debris on the fans. Clean them to prevent the wheel from overheating and encountering other problems that can result in grinding or thumping noise. 

Fun Fact: A blower is similar to a fan. If you experience noise coming from the dryer's blower, then have a read regarding how to make a fan quiet and silence the noise!

7. Drum Seal 

Drum Seal 
Drum Seal 

Sometimes, you will find clothes with tears after pulling them out of the dryer. If this happens, one of the potential culprits is the drum seal. It causes clothes to slip on the edges as it spins. At the same time, it can also contribute to grinding noise as it makes it difficult for other components to rotate smoothly. 

If the drum seal is broken, then you will need to install a new one to prolong the life of not just your clothes but also the dryer itself. 

Open the dryer cabinet to access the drum seal. The exact location will depend on the specific brand. Peel the seal and use sandpaper to make the surface smoother. Once done, put the new seal and use high-heat adhesive to glue it in place. Wait until it dries before re-installing the drum. 

8. Lifter Or Baffle 

Lifter Or Baffle
Lifter Or Baffle

A clothes dryer has several fins surrounding the drum interior, which are known as baffles or lifters.

They help in air circulation, making sure that your clothes fluff and dry. 

Over time, the baffle can loosen. As the machine turns, it can rip or snag your clothes. Also, it can result in the dryer making a loud noise (like a rumbling noise) as it gets in contact with the other parts of the dryer. 

In most cases, you can re-secure the lifter and it will fix the problem. Screw it tightly so that it won’t operate loosely. Nonetheless, there are also instances when it is heavily damaged, and hence, the best solution is a replacement. 

Fun Fact: Before opting for a replacement baffle, determine first where the return air sound baffle is coming from by performing simple tests!

9. Dryer Motor 

Dryer Motor
Dryer Motor

When a dryer makes a loud rattling sound or grinding noise, one of the first things to check out is the motor. 

The motor is the heart of the dryer. It is what makes it possible for the other parts to move and for the dryer to deliver its purpose. 

Any problem with the motor can be linked to other parts that connect to it, such as the bearings and bushings

While a repair may fix the problem, some instances will require a replacement of the dryer motor. It is a big component and often expensive. 

10. Metal Object 

Metal Object 
Metal Object 

Beyond having problematic components, the weird and alarming sound can be simply because there is something inside the drum that rubs on other components. 

There are many things that you should never put in a dryer, and some of them are metals

The metal can be from coins left in pockets or from parts of clothes that could have loosened during a drying cycle, such as buttons. 

Remove the clothes from the dryer and check if there is any loose metal object on the drum. 

Watch This!


Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I continue using a dryer making grinding noise? 

As soon as you hear a grinding noise from the dryer, pause the drying cycle. Do not continue until you pinpoint the reason. Otherwise, it can put additional strain on the various components, which can make the problem more difficult and expensive to repair. 

How to fix a dryer making noise? 

Fixing a noisy dryer starts with a diagnosis of the problem. Once done, you can open the dryer cabinet and look for the problematic part. Clean or repair it. If it can no longer be fixed, a replacement might be necessary. If you have done several things and there is still a grinding noise, it is best to call a professional. 


Conclusion 

When your dryer is making grinding noise, some of the potential suspects include the drive belt, drum roller and shaft, drum slide, drum bearing, and idler pulley. It could also be because there is a metal object stuck in the drum. 

Is there any other possible reason for the dryer’s tumbler making noise? Let us know in the comments! 

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