Washing Machine Bearings: 8 Answers you must Know

Washing Machine bearing is made up of small metal balls put together in a ring-like structure to support the rotation of the drum. These bearings are located at the back of your washer if it’s a front-loader and bottom for top-loaders.

It’s an extremely important component as it supports the drum’s rotation.

Since it’s the most overworked component in your washer, it also tends to get damaged.

Here are the 6 important things to keep in mind when working with a bad washing machine bearing.

How do I know if my washing machine bearings are bad?

The most common symptom of a worn-out bearing OR bad bearing is a loud sound when the drum rotates. It may also sometimes feel like something is banging inside the washing machine as the drum rotates.

The other invisible symptom is the slower RPM rate. Even though you are selecting the highest setting to wash OR to dry the clothes, the drum simply does not rotate as fast as it should.

Another way to identify if the bearing has been damaged or not is to manually spin the drum and see if you hear a loud rumbling noise. If you hear a loud rumbling noise while spinning the drum manually, your bearing is likely damaged.

What does a bad washer bearing sound like?

Worn out OR damaged bearings can have different types of sounds associated. Most common amongst all is scrapping sound, mostly occurring due to rust. Sometimes when the inner drum is loose, you may feel as if something is banging inside, so the banging sound is also a common symptom of worn-out bearing.

In scenarios, where bearings are completely gone, a symptom such as excessive shaking along with the loud banging sound is also possible.

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Why is my washing machine so loud and shaking?

Excessive shaking does not necessarily mean damaged bearings.

Your washer may shake excessively if you overload it with laundry OR when the clothes are not distributed evenly inside. Having said that excessive shaking with loud sounds is a sign that the drum is struggling to move freely. If you notice a loud scratching sound OR banging sound, the bearing is likely damaged.

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Is it worth replacing bearings on a washing machine?

It’s worth replacing the bearings on your washing machine if you know how to do it, as it saves the labour cost. If your washer is extremely old and you don’t know how to replace the bearings, it’s best to go for a new washer.

Most likely, you will spend a lot on labour cost as well as for the replacement bearings, if you want to get it done through expert labour.

Having said that, if you can keep the labour cost low you should always try replacing the bearings.

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Can you use a washing machine with worn bearings?

Yes, you can continue to use your washer if the bearings are barely worn out. Having said that, it’s not recommended to continue using the worn-out bearing for a prolonged period as it will damage the other parts of the appliance such as the drum and basket.

A mild scratching sound while the drum rotates is an indicator that your bearing is either worn out or damaged. You can continue using the washer even with a mild scratching sound, it’s the loud sound and sometimes banging sound that indicates your washer needs repair and it has become unusable.

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What can be done to keep a washing machine running with damaged bearings?

While it’s important to address the issue of damaged bearings promptly, there are a few measures you can take to keep your washing machine running temporarily until you can arrange for repairs or replacement.

Here are some tips to help you out:

Minimize the load

Reducing the amount of laundry you load into the machine can help alleviate stress on the damaged bearings.

Overloading the machine can worsen the situation and potentially lead to more severe damage.

Balance the load

Unevenly distributed loads can cause additional strain on the bearings.

Make sure to evenly distribute the laundry inside the drum to minimize any imbalance.

Adjust the spin cycle

If your washing machine offers adjustable spin settings, consider lowering the speed.

A slower spin cycle will reduce the strain on the bearings, potentially prolonging their usability until they can be repaired or replaced.

Grease the bearings

In some cases, if the damage to the bearings is not severe, you may be able to temporarily improve their performance by greasing them.

Greasing can help reduce friction and make it work smoothly temporarily.

Consult your washing machine’s manual or seek professional guidance to ensure you correctly identify and access the bearings.

Once located, apply an appropriate lubricant or bearing grease following the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, it’s important to note that greasing the bearings is a temporary solution and may not completely resolve the underlying issue.

Thus, it is still advisable to consult a professional technician to assess the damage and determine the best course of action.

Regularly clean and maintain the machine

Proper maintenance is crucial, especially when dealing with damaged bearings.

Keep the machine clean by regularly wiping down the drum and removing any debris or lint that may accumulate.

This maintenance routine can help prevent further damage and ensure smoother operation.

Monitor for unusual noises or vibrations

Pay close attention to any unusual noises or excessive vibrations coming from your washing machine.

If you notice any new or worsening symptoms, it’s important to contact a professional technician for a thorough inspection.

Consider professional repair or replacement

While these temporary measures can help you extend the life of your washing machine with damaged bearings, it’s important to remember that they are not long-term solutions.

Seeking professional assistance from a qualified technician is essential to properly repair or replace damaged bearings, ensuring the efficient and safe operation of your appliance.

How Long does a washing machine bearing last?

On average, bearings in a washing machine can last anywhere from 8 to 10 years. However, it’s important to note that this is just an estimate, and the actual lifespan can vary depending on several factors such as the workload that your washer handles on a daily basis, how well you maintain the washer and the environment.

How much does it cost to replace a washing machine tub bearing?

Depending on your washer type, replacing the washing drum bearing should roughly cost you between $120 – $190 including the labour charges. The properly placed bearing should last more than 10 years.

It’s recommended to replace the bearings when your washer makes a loud noise and shakes excessively. Having said that, only consider a replacement if your washer is not too old, it simply does not make sense to replace the bearings on a 15-year-old washer.

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Final Thoughts

Bearings are an important component in any washing machine. It helps to rotate the drum at high RPM to clean and dry the clothes.

Damaged bearings not only make your washing machine inefficient but also affects other parts inside your washer, hence you must get the washer checked if you notice any abnormal sounds.

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Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at) theportablelaundry.com.