How To Fix Loose Washing Machine Drum (Do This!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
Washing machines are only as good as their individual parts. When the washing drum becomes loose it may seem like a contractor is needed to fix the machine, but that’s not always the case. Any homeowner can fix a loose washing machine drum on their own with enough grit, so follow along as we explore the simple process.

Washing machines can be a bit strange. They look and are solidly built, until they’re not. One of the most difficult things to deal with when your machine breaks is a loose drum. A machine drum is one of those things that, when it comes loose, can feel like it’s impossible to fix. Believe it or not, you can fix it on your own.

There are several areas that you need to check out when you have a loose washing machine drum. These include:

  • The Rear Drum With Bearing
  • Shocks/Suspension And Dampeners
  • The Drive Pulley

In most cases, a loose washing machine drum can cause a lot of problems, not to mention extremely loud banging. To help you get the best results, we’re going to discuss how to diagnose and repair this issue in a pinch.

Related Content: Most Common Washing Machine Problems | What Size Drain Pipe For A Washing Machine? | Whirlpool Washer Making Loud Noises During The Wash Cycle? | How To Remove The Drum From A Samsung Top Loader Washing Machine

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Why Is My Washing Machine Drum Loose?

There are a ton of reasons that this could happen, including just having a loose nut or bolt around the interior of your washing machine. It’s a pretty big deal, and what could be causing your machine drum to get loose can be a wide range of things. That’s why we’re going to troubleshoot three of the biggest causes, then give you the following advice:

  • Always keep an eye out for loose nuts and bolts. Even if they don’t seem to be attached to the washing machine drum, those bolts shouldn’t be left loose. Having everything tightened up can sometimes help immensely.
  • Make sure that the washing machine is on an even plane. If you have an uneven washer, this can cause the drum to act like it’s loose, even though it’s just off-balanced.
  • Check to see if you’re loading the washing machine correctly. Loading the washer unevenly or overloading it can throw the balance off-kilter, or just cause your machine to shake and bang,
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a professional to help you. I’m going to be brutally honest, fixing a washing machine can be scary and intimidating and you probably should get a handyman to help if you’re concerned you can’t do it on your own.

Wait, Is My Washing Machine Drum Actually Loose?

Figuring out whether or not your washing machine’s drum is loose typically involves a little observation. If you hear loud bangs when your washing machine is turned on, then you might have a loose drum. This is especially true if you can manually tilt the drum one way or another, or if you notice that your washing machine’s drum isn’t entirely centered the way it should be.

A good rule of thumb is that a loose washer drum will make things jostle around. If you can hear it and feel something moving around in there, chances are that it’s not all good. It won’t stop mid-way, but it will clang around a lot.

How To Troubleshoot A Loose Washer Drum

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it is time to talk about how you can troubleshoot some of the main issues that could be making your drum loose. We want to point out that you will need to refer to your owner’s manual to find out how to access the back of your washer, and that each model will be slightly different.

Because this is a rather involved endeavor, we strongly encourage that you learn the location of everything before you start working. If you can, find a model-specific tutorial online. With that said, here’s how we’d troubleshoot the loose drum…

Rear Drum With Bearing

A washing machine has two drums: the inner and outer drum. When you open up the back of most washing machines, you can take a look at the drum that holds the other drum. You need to check the rear drum as well as all the bearings that help the drum rotate. The bearings should be able to roll the drum smoothly.

If you notice that the bearings rattle or look broken, then you probably will need to replace the rear drum and bearings as one. This is a fairly labor-intensive issue and a costly one too. You will need to have at least one other person help you lift out the drum and put the bearings in place.

The Shocks/Suspension And Dampeners

The next thing that you need to look at are the shocks and dampeners. Shocks (sometimes called suspension depending on the type of washing machine) are what cushion the blow of all the jostling and bumps that can happen in a washing machine tub. Unfortunately, shocks and dampeners can wear out.

When they wear out, they need to be replaced. Dampeners, in particular, can cause a loose drum. They’re usually what holds the washing machine’s drum in place. Suspension plates and springs can also cause the drum to get knocked loose.

The Drive Pulley

If your washing machine model has a drive pulley (most, if not all do), then you also should take a look at the pulley. The pulley is what makes the tub spin and do the whole “washy washy” thing. If the pulley is broken or worn out, you might notice parts of the tub showing a slightly off-balance or loose angle.

How Much Would It Cost To Get A Loose Washing Machine Drum Fixed?

Admittedly, this is not the type of project that most DIYers will want to go their own way with. Depending on the reason for your loose drum, it could be a free fix, or it might make more sense to buy a new washing machine. Appliance repair costs an average of $50 an hour for washing machines, and that’s fairly stable across the board.

If you need to get parts and pay for a diagnostic, the price starts to climb up significantly. Drum replacement (and that includes bearings) will cost between $350 to $550 for a typical model. This is why many people choose to replace their washing machines once they start hearing stirrings about a bad drum.

With that said, you shouldn’t assume that you need to move straight to the belief that you need to get a drum replaced. Getting a diagnostic or looking at your own machine to figure out what’s going on can help you make a more educated move.

How To Prevent Your Drum From Getting Loose

There are no surefire ways to make sure that your drum will never get loose. Bearings break, pulleys snap, shocks shock themselves into oblivion, you get the gist. While there is no way to guarantee that you will live with a machine that never has a drum knock itself off-kilter, these tips will help prevent it from happening:

  • Make sure that your washing machine is level. Over time, your washer might end up leaning one way or another. Make sure that your machine is level so one side’s shocks and bearings don’t get too stressed.
  • Do lighter loads and try to reduce the use of your washer whenever possible. Do you really need to throw 15 loads of laundry in there a week? Maybe, but if you do have to do it, try to load your washer lightly and evenly whenever possible. Lots of heavy use can harm even the most durable washing machine.
  • Avoid washing weighted blankets and other unusually heavy items whenever possible. A weighted blanket can be as much as 20 pounds of weight. When it’s flung around in a washing machine, those 20 pounds will be soaked in, giving them an impact that could be double their weight. This stresses out the bearings and suspension on most machine models.
  • If you have to move your washing machine, don’t let it fall down. While this doesn’t guarantee a break, it can harm items that might already be brittle due to wear and tear. On a similar note, take care when you hook up your washer.

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Related Questions

Do machine washer drums make good fire pits?

If you are a fan of recycling goods, we have some good news. You can make a fire pit out of a washer drum pretty easily. Moreover, studies show that these upcycled fire pits are exceptionally fire-safe. This makes it a great project for a homeowner who wants to find a new use for an old washer drum after repairs have been made.

What is the drum on the washing machine?

When you open up the top (or front) of your machine, you will place your clothing in the drum portion of your washing machine. The inner drum is there to contain your clothing and give it a place to hang out while it’s being cleaned. The outer drum is where water comes through into the inner drum, and where water gets drained away.

When should you replace a washing machine instead of repairing it?

There is a rule of thumb you can follow to call the shots here. If the repairs cost more than half the price of a brand new machine, then it probably makes more sense to replace the machine rather than fix it.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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