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Why Does My Washing Machine Shake?

Why Does My Washing Machine Shake?

Is your washing machine shaking like crazy? Though a little shimmying may be normal, excessive shaking could indicate a problem with your washing machine. Read on to learn why your washer is doing the jitterbug and how you can shut down the appliance dance party in your laundry room!

When to Worry About Your Shaking Washing Machine

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of washer shake, let’s address the elephant in the laundry room: is your washing machine’s shaking normal? It depends. Some vibration during the spin cycle is par for the course, especially with impeller or agitator-driven washers. But if your washing machine cha-chas itself around the room, it’s time to investigate further.

Why is My Washer Shaking?: Potential Culprits and How to Fix Them

Your washing machine could be shaking for many reasons — from still-installed shipping bolts to worn-out suspension rods. Below, we’ve ordered these culprits from cheap and easy-to-fix to costly and more complex.

Shipping Bolts

If you have a brand new (or at least new to you) front-loading washer, it may still have the shipping bolts installed. Shipping bolts prevent damage to your washing machine during transit by holding the drum in place. If a washing machine is operated with these bolts installed, they can interfere with the movement of the drum, cause significant vibration/shaking, and ultimately result in severe damage to your machine.

Shipping bolts are generally installed in the back of your appliance and can be easily removed with a properly sized wrench. For further instructions on how to remove these bolts safely, refer to your owner’s manual or appliance care guide. It’s worth noting that shipping bolts are generally reserved for front-loading machines, so if you have a top-loading washer, this may not be the source of your vibration.

Overloaded or Unbalanced Loads

Overcrowding your washer’s drum with laundry can also cause your appliance to shake. This is because washing machines use counterweights and/or suspension systems to keep the drum rotating smoothly. When you cram too many items into the washer’s drum, their weight can overcome the washer’s balancing mechanism, which causes the drum to spin off-axis and the machine to shake.

On the other hand, running a cycle for a single bulky item, like a comforter, pillow, or dog bed, can also cause vibration to occur, since it can get stuck on one side of the drum. As you may have guessed, the solution to either of these issues is to reorganize your load. For overloaded tubs, take some clothes out. Add more to the drum for bulky single-item loads to help balance things out.

Unlevel Floors

If the floor underneath your washer isn’t level, your appliance may rock back and forth as the drum spins. Fortunately, this issue is easy to troubleshoot. Simply push down on each corner of your washing machine. If it tips one way or the other, you know that it’s not level. To fix this, simply screw the adjustable feet on the bottom of the machine in or out to make contact with the floor. If you want to be extra precise in your leveling, consider placing a bubble level on top of your machine as you adjust the feet. And if you’re looking for a temporary fix, try using pieces of cardboard. The more level your appliance is, the less it should wobble.

Loose Pedestal

Here’s our last easy fix if you’re still plagued by the question, “Why is my washing machine shaking?” If you have a pedestal or storage drawer underneath your washing machine, the wobble may be occurring between the appliance and the pedestal. Double-check that the pedestal or storage drawer is properly aligned and that its fasteners are firmly tightened down.

Unbalanced Washing Machine

Is your washing machine shaking during the spin cycle, but you’ve tried the tips above? Your machine may be unbalanced. Imbalance can be caused by the failure of several different components, including the following:

  • Tub bearings: Both front and top loading washers use bearings for smooth, even rotation of their tubs. With use and time, the seals on these bearings can fail, allowing water and detergent to wash away their lubricant. Once the lubricant is washed away, metal-on-metal friction can grind at the balls inside the bearing or even cause them to fall out. When this happens, the bearing can develop slop, which may introduce wobble into the drum of your machine, resulting in imbalance, vibration, and loud noises.
  • Suspension rods and springs: Most top-loading machines (and some front-loading machines) use suspension rods and suspension springs to dampen the movement of the wash tub. Each cycle causes these springs to stretch and compress repeatedly. So it’s no surprise that these components can wear out or break entirely over time. If they do, your machine may become unbalanced, vibrate, and do the hokey-pokey across your laundry room.
  • Shock absorbers: Some front-loading washers use shock absorbers — similar to those found on cars — to compensate for out-of-balance loads. Much like the previous components, these shocks can wear out or break over time. If they do, you may notice shaking and loud banging noises as the drum contacts the shell of your appliance.

You’ll need to access your washing machine’s internals to replace or repair any of these components. Though you may be able to attempt these repairs yourself, it’s probably best to leave it up to the professionals. But if your machine is older or doesn’t truly suit your wants/needs, the cost of having a technician diagnose and repair your washer might not be worth it.

In that case, it may be time to replace your washer. We understand that choosing a replacement washing machine is a big commitment. So, if you need assistance, read our guide to shopping for a washer and dryer and learn about Rent-A-Center’s flexible payment options before taking the plunge.

Restore Balance to Your Laundry Day Routine with Rent-A-Center

Don’t let a shaking washing machine disrupt your laundry day routine. For washing machine issues that require significant repair or replacement, Rent-A-Center offers various rent-to-own options, including reliable brands like Maytag, Amana, and Whirlpool.

Ready to upgrade to a more dependable model? Rent-A-Center has you covered. Browse online or stop by your nearest storefront today!

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The good things in life don’t have to be out of reach. Rent-A-Center is here to make the things you want and need accessible, and Front & Center is your resource for living well on a budget.

Each week, we’ll bring you tips and tricks for infusing simplicity, style—even a little fun—into every aspect of your life and home. From decorating advice to money-saving strategies to opportunities to share with others like you, we’ll give you ideas that inspire. Live well, friends. And send your submissions, suggestions and questions for the blog to blog@rentacenter.com. For all customer service inquiries, please contact our Solution Center team at 1-800-422-8186.