Why Is My Dryer Making a Grinding Noise? (4 Common Causes)

Have you noticed that your dryer has been making a grinding noise whenever you turn it on lately? If so, certain parts of your dryer might have gotten worn down from too much use. In such cases, reacting quickly is pivotal, as it can save you from having to buy a new dryer altogether.

In most cases, a dryer makes a grinding noise because some of its elements have worn thin due to regular use. These elements can include the drum glides, drum bearings, motor, and blower wheel.

Here is what you need to know about each potential issue.

1. Drum Glides Problems

As their name suggests, drum glides are located near your dryer’s drum. In fact, the glides are what supports the drum and allows it to rotate safely and without any obstructions.

When the drum turns, it leans on the glides completely. Their elasticity allows the drum to gyrate quickly and seamlessly. However, since the glides are made of plastic, they usually get worn with frequent use.

With the glides thinning, the drum no longer has the support necessary to turn without any issues. As a result, the sound from its rotation is no longer smooth and balanced, and you can hear grinding and thumping instead.

If you suspect that your drum glides might be worn out, you can do a simple check. Remove the dryer cabinet to access the drums, and then take a look at the glides near the bottom of the drum. If you can see any wear or tear, then they are most likely causing the grinding noise you can hear whenever your dryer is on.

Luckily, this problem is easily fixable. You just have to replace the glides, and your dryer will be as good as new! Depending on the type of glides your dryer has, you will either have to use a drill or a screwdriver to remove them.

If you’re unsure about the whole procedure, it is always a good idea to call a professional for help. They have the equipment necessary to do the replacement without causing any damage to your dryer. Plus, this issue is quite small, so getting a pro involved won’t cost you a fortune.

2. Drum Bearing Problems

Certain dryers have an additional part that supports the drum and keeps it safe while it spins. This part is called a drum bearing, and it is located at the rear of the drum. Depending on the dryer manufacturer, this bearing can have two forms.

Firstly, there are dryers with a ball and socket drum bearing. On the other hand, some can also have drum bearings in the form of a shaft that connects to a sleeve bushing.

Either way, the drum bearing can become worn with frequent use of the dryer. The bearing is also made of plastic, so it can become thinner the same way as drum glides. If that happens, the drum doesn’t have adequate support, so it starts emitting a grinding noise as it spins.

To check whether the drum bearing in your dryer is due for a replacement, you will have to remove the dryer cabinet. Moreover, you’ll need to take off the dryer belt from the drum.

When you are done, you can perform a simple test on the drum. Try gently spinning it with your hand, mimicking the motion of the drum rotating when the dryer is on. If there is resistance or you can hear grinding or squeaking as it turns, you can be sure that the drum bearing is at fault.

Although you can attempt to replace the bearing yourself, it might be best to call for professional help in this case. The bearing is a much bigger and more integral part of the dryer than the glides, so replacing it takes more time and experience.

Still, this issue is not too serious. As soon as you get a new bearing, your dryer should become quiet once again.

3. Drive Motor Problems

Every dryer, no matter the type or manufacturer, comes with a drive motor. The motor is what rotates the drum and the blower wheel, ultimately allowing your clothes to dry.

There are three different motor issues that can cause grinding noises when the dryer is on. For one, if the motor bearings need replacing, you will hear a soft grinding and squeaking sound whenever you begin a drying cycle.

Next, the motor can also have a faulty switch. If that is the case, the noise you will hear will switch between grinding and humming as the dryer works.

Finally, your dryer might also be making a grinding noise if its motor pulley is loose. If you ignore this problem, the grinding will soon turn to rattling, and your entire dryer will shake as soon as you turn it on.

Examining your dryer’s motor can be a bit tricky. Namely, you will have to remove both the dryer cabinet and the drum to reach it. Some newer models might allow you to peek at the motor without removing the drum, although such dryers are rare.

Once you reach the motor, you will have to turn it and examine it. Noticing a loose pulley will be easy, but the other two issues require more knowledge and experience than most people have. Plus, you will need a multimeter to check the motor, which is a tool that not many homes have.

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Thus, your safest bet is to contact a professional and have them take a look at your dryer’s motor. If the motor is indeed causing trouble, they will be able to pinpoint the problem immediately and help you find a good solution.

4. Blower Wheel Problems

Dryers are effective because they have powerful blower wheels that help air circulate throughout the dryer drum. These dryer elements also help all moisture evaporate from the clothing and go through the rear vent by the end of a drying cycle.

Although they are sturdy and firmly attached to the bottom of every drum, blower wheels can become loose with time. It usually happens because of regular use, but it can also occur if you load too many clothes into your dryer all at once.

Besides becoming loose, blower wheels can also get blocked with lint or smaller pieces of clothing. For example, a sock or smaller underwear can become stuck in the wheel, causing a grinding and rumbling noise whenever the dryer is on.

Fortunately, checking for a faulty blower wheel is by far the easiest task on this list. All you have to do is turn your dryer off mid-cycle. The blower wheel will keep spinning for a few seconds after you turn it off, which is your window of time for confirming your suspicions.

If the grinding and rumbling persist even after you’ve turned the dryer off, you can rest assured that the noise isn’t coming from the motor or any part of the drum. Since the blower wheel is the only one still active immediately after the dryer is turned off, it’s safe to assume that it is the one causing the noise.

Dealing With a Faulty Blower Wheel

In case you’re sure that your dryer is being noisy because of its blower wheel, you should inspect it. On most models, you can find the blower wheel behind either the front or rear panel of the dryer. It sits within the blower wheel housing, which is clamped or threaded to the dryer’s motor.

When you reach the blower wheel, you should check for any lint or clothing that might be stuck in it. In case you find any, simply remove it and then test the wheel’s mobility. If it turns easily and noiselessly, your job is complete.

However, if there is no lint or clothing in the wheel, you’ll need to keep looking. Again, it’s best to try turning the wheel manually. By rotating a properly attached blower wheel, you should be able to also turn the motor and the drum of your dryer.

In the event that you can’t turn the wheel or it makes a grinding noise as you do it, you should replace it. Luckily, the wheel doesn’t cost too much, as you can find high-quality models starting from $30.

When you replace the wheel, any abnormal noise should be a thing of the past. But if the grinding persists, you should check the other dryer parts mentioned above instead.

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Final Thoughts

Your dryer might be making grinding noises for various reasons. For example, some of its parts — drum glides, a blower wheel, or a drum bearing — might be loose or worn. Moreover, you might also be dealing with a faulty motor, which is a bit more serious.

Still, fixing a noisy dryer can be easy when you know how and where to search for the faulty part. If you have the equipment and knowledge necessary to check the dryer, go for it. But if you don’t, there is no shame in asking for help. After all, fixing your dryer is the goal.


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