Dryer making scraping or grinding noise? (Possible Causes)

Scraping noises during the rotation of the drum can be caused by debris caught in the front seal, worn-out or loose drum slides, or both, whereas a faulty or worn-out bearing could cause the dryer to make a grinding sound.

With that said, there could be a number of reasons why your dryer is making a high-pitched squeal or other unusual noise.

To identify the potential causes or the sources of noise, you will have to look into the below factors and see if they match your case.

Stuck objects

The first thing you should do is check for any debris that may be caught in the drum.

If there are any foreign objects stuck in there, simply remove them and see if the noise goes away.

Foreign objects such as paper, lint, or coins can become caught in the spaces between the drum and the dryer wall, causing a scraping noise as the drum rotates.

Just inspect the drum carefully and if you find any objects, remove them and see if the noise persists.

Drum rollers

Another possibility is that the rollers that rotate the drum are beginning to wear out.

This can create friction and ultimately trigger the squealing sound you’re hearing.

To check the condition of your rollers, simply remove the lint screen and look inside the dryer.

You’ll likely need to replace these rollers in order to fix the problem.

Blower fan

The most common cause of rattling noises in a dryer is broken blower fan blades. Long-term use or aging can cause the fan blade to wear out.

Another possible cause is the accumulation of lint and other debris around the blower fan area, which causes the fan blade to work harder, causing it to rattle.

These buildups gradually develop over time and prevent the blower fan from functioning properly. In fact, the fan may even break as a result of this.

So, it becomes essential to periodically inspect such areas and keep them clean.

Broken drum

A broken drum or its defective components is the most common cause of rattling noise in a clothes dryer.

If you have a broken drum, you will need to replace it. However, if only the connecting parts are defective, you can try to repair or replace them.

Furthermore, a broken drum or a worn-out surface can also trigger a banging noise.

Worn out bearing

Bearings are critical components that allow the drum to rotate smoothly.

If the bearing that allows the dryer to turn or move becomes damaged, you will hear squealing or other unusual noises.

It is common for bearings to wear out over time, whether from regular use or simply due to aging.

If the drum bearings wear out prematurely, they may become loose while the dryer is running.

As a result, your dryer will make strange noises such as a rattling or squealing noise.

Even one or two worn-out tiny metal balls (bearings) can lead to strange noises coming from the dryer.

Dryer Belt

It’s also possible that the issue is with the dryer belt and not the drum bearings.

If the belt is worn out, it can cause a squealing noise as it tries to turn the drum.

Over time, this part can become stretched or frayed, which can cause it to slip and produce that squealing noise.

So, inspect the belt to see if it needs to be replaced.

Dryer drum glide

You can look around the surface of the dryer drum, especially toward the rim.

You may find a small worn-out plastic strip, i.e., the drum glide.

A drum glide is responsible for moving the drum smoothly in a dryer.

Once these glidings wear out, they should be replaced to get the dryer working correctly.

Drive Motor

Yes, it’s possible that there’s something wrong with the motor itself.

If you hear a squealing noise that doesn’t seem to be coming from any specific part of the dryer, this could be an indication of a problematic motor.

The dryer may also produce a humming noise if the motor is faulty. If this is the case, then the drive motor needs to be replaced.

It’s better and recommended to call a professional to be on the safe side, as it requires a bit of knowledge.

Outer Panels

An old dryer may be noisy because either the outer panels are worn-out or the screws that hold them in place are loose.

Simply inspect the panels one by one to determine the root cause and have the relevant parts replaced or repaired accordingly.

Felt Drum Seal

If your dryer is making noises and you have a front-loading dryer, it could be that the felt seal has worn out.

Basically, felt drum seals prevent the drum in the dryer from rubbing against the bulkheads and from letting in too much air.

When this seal wears out due to aging or regular usage, your clothes can get stuck while the drum is turning.

This can cause thumping and scraping noises, especially if the clothes have zips, sharp objects, coins, or anything that can get caught.

Uneven Placement

Placing the dryer on an uneven surface can also cause the dryer to vibrate excessively, resulting in strange noises during operation.

Make sure the surface is flat and the dryer legs stand firm to avoid any vibration.

Moreover, if you have placed the dryer on a stand, then make sure to inspect it for any wear and tear. 

Idler Pulley

You cannot rule out the possibility of an issue with the idler pulley.

The idler pulley is a wheel that keeps the belt tight as it moves around the drum.

If this part is defective, you will hear a loud squealing noise coming from your dryer.

It’s better to get the entire assembly replaced if you’re facing issues with the idler pulley.

How to determine the source of a noisy dryer?

Turn off the dryer and open the door to look for any stuck or foreign objects inside.

If there’s nothing suspected, then simply follow the below steps.

Turn the drum with bare hands and carefully try to determine the direction from where the noise is coming.

A worn-out glide or a bearing slide could be the cause of the noise if it is coming from behind the dryer.

It can also be that the dryer’s belt is misaligned and causing noise.

However, if the noise is coming from the back, then it is likely due to a faulty drum bearing. Another thing to think about in this situation is a dryer pulley that may have become loose.

If the dryer isn’t noisy during the manual inspection, simply turn on the dryer and run a test cycle using a shorter duration.

Once the dryer is running, simply place your hands on the outer panels one by one and see if you feel anything.

You can wear safety gloves in the process while placing your hand on the dryer’s outer panels.

It may also happen that the screws of the panel or the panel itself have worn out.

Lastly, if you can’t find a solution or figure out what’s wrong, you should call a service professional for help.

Final Thoughts

Strange noises coming from a dryer are always a sign of something that’s not going right.

You will need to identify the actual cause of the strange noises before you even think of troubleshooting.

And to be very honest, an average layperson may get confused with the symptoms, as the symptoms may be the same for different issues.

So, it’s always best to talk to a service professional because they can easily figure out what the problem is and come up with the best way to fix it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I run the noisy dryer?

In most cases, you will be able to run the dryer but only to damage the worn-out component further. It’s better to fix the cause at the earliest and then use the dryer.

How often should I service my dryer?

As a general rule of thumb, you should service your dryer once every year or two. However, if you notice any strange noise or smell coming from your dryer, then it’s better to consult with a service professional as soon as possible.

Why does my tumble dryer make a grinding noise?

There is a good chance that coins, keys, sharp objects, or metal objects have entered the drum, causing a grinding noise. Check the inside of the drum before performing any advanced troubleshooting.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at) portablelaundry.com