Noisy Clothes Dryer Noise Repair

Updated on April 6, 2016

Thumping, bumping, and knocking sounds

Clothes dryers are pretty simple but can be confusing at the same time.  Be sure to follow safety precautions while working on an appliance.

There are a variety of sounds that a dryer can make that indicate that some sort of service is needed.

The moving parts of the dryer include:

  1. Motor
  2. Idler (Belt Tensioner)
  3. Blower
  4. Drum Supports (usually some kind of roller or wheel)
  5. Bearing

Any of these moving parts can begin to make noises that should be attended to in the near future. Failure to repair a noise in a dryer is likely to lead to a more serious problem. For example, a bad roller may start making a noise when it has reached the end of its service life, failure to replace the roller could result in damage to the drum, bearing, heating element, etc.

Drum Supports and motor
Drum Supports and motor
Drum Support
Drum Support
Motor and Idler Arm
Motor and Idler Arm

Common Noises and their probable causes

The dryer makes a thumping noise which is rhythmic. You hear, "thump, thump, thump" and it continues.

Most likely cause for this noise is a bad support or roller. The roller may not be turning as designed, or has developed a flat spot on one of the surfaces, or the bearing in the support has ceased to work and has worn completely through and it is riding irregularly on the spindle.

The dryer makes a 'card in the spokes' sound. Remember when you used to put a playing card on your bicycle with a clothes pin so make that trilling sound? If you hear this in your dryer it may not be a good sign.

Most likely cause for this noise is something has gotten into the blower wheel or the blower wheel has come loose especially in a Maytag dryer. If you hear this noise, get closer to the blower housing and see if you can determine if the noise is coming from the blower. Quite often the obstruction is a small plastic toy or an ink pen. This will need to be removed from the blower.

The dryer is making a screeching or high pitched sound.

Most likely cause for this noise is a metal sound. The drum support is not rolling and instead is scraping the spindle. The bearing on the drum is worn and the drum is riding low and scraping on the door opening or on the element enclosure. This problem should be fixed before you operate your dryer again. This indicates the beginning of a serious problem that could cost a lot because the whole door panel or element enclosure might need to be replaced if the problem is ignored.

Squealing and bumping intermittent sound. The drum turns a complete rotation before you hear the bumping noise.

Most likely cause for this noise is the belt or idler (tensioner). If the belt is badly worn and a chunk of it is missing, the belt will make a thump each time it passes over the motor pulley. Also the squealing could emanate from the idler where the idler pulley is dry and the belt is squealing as it passes over the idler pulley. This problem can be solved by replacing the belt and cleaning and lubricating the idler pulley. Squealing can occur if the support rollers are dry, check them, too.

Noises like scraping are coming out of the front of the dryer from around the door.

Most likely causes for this noise are worn bearings that work like glides or slides where slick plastic is used to ride over other plastic parts, when they become worn, they are designed to make a scraping noise. It is important to have the dryer repaired before continued use. The bearings typically cost around 20 or 30 dollars. The whole front cowling is more like a hundred dollars or more and the labor for this repair will be forty or fifty dollars.

Metal on metal scraping and screeching sounds. Sometimes you get a scrape that lasts a 1/2 second or so.

Most likely cause for this noise is badly worn bearings that allow the drum to ride low and scrape against the metal supports or the element enclosure. Stop using the dryer immediately as the sound indicates a condition that will ruin the dryer or at the least be very expensive to repair.

Other sounds and what they might be.

Whistling may indicate a full or plugged lint filter.  Clean it out.

Buzzing when the start switch is pressed usually indicates that the timer is set to an off position. Make sure the door is closed. Reposition the timer to the 30 minute timed setting and try again.

Humming when the start switch is pressed usually indicates that motor is bad. If this is an intermittent problem, but is getting worse, the motor is probably bad and needs to be replaced.

Loud knocking repeated after a pause usually indicates that someone is at the front door. Go to the door and find out who it is. If it is a friend, open the door, this will completely solve the problem. If the knockers are two young men dressed in suits, they are probably from Utah. They are not dangerous you may open the door and tell them to go away. If the knockers are two women and a child nicely dressed and sweetly looking at your door, carefully check to see if they are carrying anything that says "Watchtower." If they are, they must be discouraged or they will be back again and again. If the knockers are arriving in costumes, especially ghosts and witches, you have forgotten Halloween again, run to the store and get some candy.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Tom 3 months ago

        My dryer is making an intermitting screeching noise

      • profile image 10 months ago

        I get a loud thumping/rattling noise that sounds like the drum is off track but only when I first turn on my dryer. Looks like there are several parts for me to try but would love to make an accurate first guess. Can you help?

      • profile image

        14 months ago

        My dryer makes a few loud thumping sounds then it quiets down...sometimes it makes a squeaking noise also.

      • profile image

        jerry schwendeman 16 months ago

        Drier doesn't get clothes 100 percent dry- usually have to re do the driyng.

        Also sounds like a loose screw inside the drum.

      • profile image

        MaryAnn 18 months ago

        My dryer is making a screeching noise. Should I be using it?

      • profile image

        Emily 19 months ago

        My dryer has. Buzzing sound what could it be ?

      • profile image

        Determined 23 months ago

        Kenmore stackable replaced the dryer belt. When putting the front panel back, I cannot get the panel to completely fit onto the dryer drum. It needs to move in about 1/2". Now the drum is very hard to turn as it is dragging on the lip. All the screws are in place and I don't know how to get it into place. Any ideas??

      • profile image

        Humor 3 years ago

        Loved the "other sounds...." section. The "loud knocking..." was my favorite. Thanks for the smile

      • profile image

        dadgoesincircles 6 years ago

        Had the "card in spokes" noise in my often repaired and resurrected Roper clothes dryer. Turned out to be a screw that had somehow gotten lodged into the felt gasket around the front of the drum. Simple 5 minute fix with no $$ spent. Thanks for the what to look for.

      • profile image

        Susie 6 years ago

        My husband just fixed our MAytag dryer. Was making noise like cards on bike spokes. He tipped it and banged it on the floor a few times and all of a sudden it sounded like breaking glass and it turned out there was a bunch of change stuck in the motor! Now it's quiet as a lamb

      • profile image

        prisch 7 years ago

        I have a thumping sound that occurs at the top of the drum rotation. Any ideas? Could it be a flat spot on the roller or a chunk out of the belt?

      • whitton profile image

        whitton 7 years ago

        Another great Hub from you SteveoMc! Very informative and useful information here.

      • SteveoMc profile image

        SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

        Thanks for reading all my hubs Allan, HOpe you keep following and would love to have your continued comments. Gives knock, knock a new meaning.

      • Allan Douglas profile image

        Allan Douglas 7 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

        I do believe (hope, pray) you've told me what to look for as the source of the intermittent screeching noise in our dryer, I guess it's not a crow stuck in the vent afterall!

        PS, LOVE the intermittent knocking section at the end! Thanks for the good chuckle.

      • SteveoMc profile image

        SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

        I know what you mean about the old sneaker and pocket items that still happens at our house. But the nasty other little noises that come out of a dryer are the most concerning. If you have a squeak or scrape, it is good to have an idea about what it means and what sort of an appliance repair you might need on your washer dryer.

      • Nellieanna profile image

        Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

        When my dryer makes odd noises, it always seems to turn out to be something left in a pocket or a sneaker. But these are valuable clues when those are not the culprits! Thanks Steve.

        I voted for your article! So glad you won!!! Way to go!! Talent will out!!

      • SteveoMc profile image

        SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

        Thank you BJ, did you also see that my article was named the hubnugget for this week. Woohoo! On a roll.

      • habee profile image

        Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

        I'm making hubby read this!

      • BJBenson profile image

        BJBenson 7 years ago from USA

        So happy for you , 100!