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What to Do if a Washing Machine Makes a Grinding Noise when Agitating?

Oleg Chudnovski, CEO

Technically Reviewed by Oleg Chudnovski, CEO on May 16, 2024 | Written by Olga Larina

Authorized repair service for most home appliance manufactures

What to do if your washing machine grinds every time you start it? If your washing machine produces a grinding noise during agitation, investigate the agitator components, including the agitator dogs or the agitator, for signs of wear or damage. Replace any worn or damaged parts as needed. Also, confirm that the washing machine is level and balanced correctly to minimize excessive vibration while agitating.

Despite instructions given briefly above, there’s no single set-in-stone answer. Several reasons exist for a grinding noise during a loaded washer’s agitation. In this post, we will examine the most common causes of the problem and go over ways to stop your washing machine from grinding.  

8 Reasons Why Your Washing Machine is Grinding

There are many reasons why washing machines make unusual noises during agitation — including a faulty component, poor manufacturing, or a maintenance failure.

Since we primarily focus on why appliances make grinding noises, we trimmed the list of most likely causes to eight possibilities. Let’s take a closer look at them:

Reason 1. The Washer is Operating Normally

Some manufacturers regularly experience a washing machine knocking noise during agitation. This noise can stem from the agitator changing its rotation directions. For instance, many GE washing machines are known to produce grinding noises upon initiation.

Reason 2. Agitator Dogs are Slipping

A component called agitator dogs permits the rotating motion of the agitator. You can find these in the top part of the agitator in the center column. After frequent use, it’s common for agitator dogs to wear out and start slipping. As a result, you will hear a grinding noise during washing machine agitation.

Reason 3. Drive Pulley Strain or Damage

A worn-out drive pulley is another likely suspect of grinding the washing machine. To solve the problem, you need to detach the pulley from the washer and check for signs of wear. If you find glazing, tears, or cracks, replacing the equipment is the only way to eliminate the grinding noise when agitating.

Reason 4. U-joint Failure

U-joint is a central player in washing machine agitation — the mechanism starts the agitation process. Generally, repairing a U-joint on your own is not difficult if you are experienced in do-it-yourself house maintenance.

On the other hand, replacing the part is not reasonable as the component is really expensive. If the U-joint cannot be repaired, consider getting a new washing machine instead.

Reason 5. Stator Assembly Glitch

Another potential cause of the grinding noise during agitation is a malfunction in the stator assembly. As this component establishes an electromagnetic connection with the tub, any cracks or error codes may result in agitation failures, manifesting as a loud noise during the washing machine’s agitation cycle.

To troubleshoot and assess the stator, inspect the rotor at the appliance’s rear for any signs of cracks or damage to the magnets.

Reason 6. Motor Control Board Defects

When a washer fails to agitate or produces unusual noises during operation, a technician typically investigates the motor control board. The proper functioning of these components is crucial as they supply the necessary force to start the device and determine the direction of the agitating process.

That’s why you should replace or fix the control board when it gets worn out or unreliable.

Reason 7. Tub Bearing Kit

Agitation problems may arise from tub bearing malfunctions. This type of issue is expensive to deal with — most likely, the grinding noise will not disappear unless you replace both the appliance’s bearing and outer tub.

Reason 8. Motor Coupling Wear

This washing machine component serves as a bridge between the water supply and the motor itself. If the coupling is worn out, it might fail so that it seems like the washer is overfilled with water. In this case, the agitation process will either not work or be slow and noisy.


How to Repair Grinding Noises During Washing Machine Agitation?

Regrettably, repairing the specific washing machine component causing agitation noises may not be feasible in many instances, and replacement becomes necessary. Nevertheless, the following tips prove valuable in troubleshooting agitation noise issues, potentially restoring the washer’s functionality.

Tip #1. Examine the Motor and Pump

If the grinding noises are traced back to the pump, a stroke of luck may be on your side — often, a thorough cleaning session can resolve the problem. Here’s a step-by-step guide on fixing the pump:

Step 1. Disconnect the washing machine from the electrical source.

Step 2. Detach the front panel, reconnect the washer, and run it (without contacting the appliance to prevent the risk of an electric shock).

Step 3. Ascertain if there is any agitation noise without the pump. If none is detected, it indicates that a faulty pump is the root cause of the issue.

Step 4. Remove the pump’s inlet hose and check for dirt on the impeller. If so, clean it with a cloth and vinegar.

Step 5. If there are physical cracks in the pump, get a replacement and install it.

Tip #2. Examine the Shock Absorbers

Checking the shock absorbers is another reasonable action when handling washing machine noise during agitation. Unplug the washer and determine the location of the shock absorbers—depending on the model, they will be on either the front or rear panel of the appliance.

Here are the signs that you should replace the shock absorbers of your washing machine:

  • They are torn
  • They are loose
  • They leak fluid

Even if only one of the absorbers is faulty, experienced technicians recommend replacing all absorbers at once to avoid mismatches between the different components.

Tip #3. Assess Drive Motors

By assessing the drive motor, you will be one step closer to figuring out the reason behind the washing machine’s grinding noise during agitation. There are two common drive motor malfunctions:

  1. The motor itself is malfunctioning;
  2. The two parts that drive the motor don’t rotate freely and don’t allow smooth agitation.

If the former, there’s nothing to do except replace the motor. If the latter, ensure nothing is stuck between the spinning parts, check that the capacitor is not swollen, and ensure all wire connections come together.

Once the motor can rotate freely, you shouldn’t hear the washing machine grinding.

Find Experienced Technicians For Washing Machine Repair at FIX Appliances CA

If you’re looking for a professional team to handle repair services at your home or business in Canada, consider FIX Appliances CA — a team of certified and reliable technicians. Our specialists will inspect your washing machine, determine the cause of the washing machine making a grinding noise during agitation, and fix the problem.

Other than the affordable repair cost, here’s what makes FIX Appliances CA technicians a trusted team for home and business maintenance and repair services:

  • We are a certified team. FIX Appliances CA technicians have TSSA certification, which proves our proficiency in gas and electric appliance repair.
  • Our repairs are warranty-complaint. After fixing a washing machine with FIX Appliances CA, you can still claim a manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Top-rated replacement components. By choosing our team, you will benefit from special deals from top-rated house appliance providers — GE, BoschLG and others.
  • Ongoing support. After we complete the repair, our support team stays in touch. We will offer you maintenance tips and help troubleshoot repair issues. At FIX Appliances CA, we want to ensure you get the most out of your home appliances and are dedicated to educating every homeowner in Canada on how to take better care of household devices.

To contact FIX Appliances CA technicians about washing machines or dryers making a loud noise or other repair help, call us or leave a message. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you get the most out of your appliances.

Date of page creation: April 29, 2020

Page update date: May 16, 2024


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FAQ: Top Frequently Asked Questions

Washing machines can make grinding noises during agitation due to various reasons. Common causes include issues with agitator dogs, a worn-out drive pulley, U-joint failure, stator assembly problems, motor control board defects, tub bearing kit malfunctions, or motor coupling wear. However, it's essential to rule out the possibility that your washer's noises are a normal part of its operation, depending on the manufacturer and model.
Some minor issues causing grinding noises in a washing machine can be addressed by homeowners with a knack for DIY repairs. For example, you can clean the pump, check and replace shock absorbers, or assess drive motors. However, in most cases, repairing or replacing the faulty component may require professional expertise. It's crucial to identify the problem correctly before attempting a DIY repair.
If you're experiencing grinding noises in your washing machine and need professional assistance, consider hiring experienced technicians. Look for certified repair services like FIX Appliances CA, which has technicians with TSSA certification, ensuring their proficiency in gas and electric appliance repair. Additionally, inquire if the repairs they offer are warranty-compliant and if they use top-rated replacement components for your machine's brand. A trusted repair service will provide ongoing support and maintenance tips to help you keep your appliances in top condition.

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