Clicking sounds from your washing machine can be easily diagnosed and fixed most of the time. However, if clicking is left untreated, further damage can be caused to the washing machine leading to expensive repairs.
A non-starting washing machine that makes clicking sounds is caused by debris in the drain or a faulty door lock and switch assembly. Clicking during the cycle is most commonly caused by a stuck object such as a coin in the drum. Stuck objects in the pump can also cause clicking.
Clicking noises coming from the washing machine is a common problem and I’m here to help. I’ll walk you through what sorts of clicking noises to look out for, how to find the root cause, and how to fix it preventing any further damage to your machine.
Why Is Your Washing Machine Making a Clicking Noise?
Washing machines make noises for all sorts of reasons. Older Maytag Bravos for example often click towards the end of their cycle and this is well documented, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an error that needs addressing. It’s important to establish the difference between normal clicking noises and when to be concerned.
Look out for these signs that indicate a fault:
- Your washing machine clicks and will not start, or cuts off mid-cycle.
- An irregular metallic clicking noise.
- A clicking noise that accompanies any faults on the washer such as an absent spin cycle.
- Excessively loud clicking noises might indicate loose internal components.
The first thing I’d recommend doing is listening to when the clicking noise occurs and where exactly the clicking comes from. Once you’ve narrowed that down it’ll make the process of elimination a lot quicker.
The causes of clicking noises vary from stuck objects to damaged internal parts. In the next few sections, I’m going to walk you through the most common causes of a clicking washing machine and how to get rid of that annoying clicking noise.
I’ve broken the article down into two sections: the first section covers clicking on a machine that won’t start and the second section covers clicking on a machine during use.
|Signs and Type of Clicking Noise||Cause Of Clicking Noise|
|Clicking noise and washer won’t start||Faulty door latch assembly or debris in the drain|
|Random metallic clicking noises during or after spin cycle||A foreign object is stuck in the inner or outer drum|
|Clicking noise during agitation cycle||A worn out pump or a foreign object stuck in the pump or sump|
|Excessive vibration alongside clicking noise||Loose components or uneven washing machine legs|
|Clothes come out of the wash still wet||Defective motor coupling|
|Clicking during fill and machine struggles to fill||Sediment build up in the water inlet valve|
Why does your washing machine click and won’t start?
If your washing machine clicks but won’t start the most common cause is a faulty door lock motor and switch assembly. This can easily and cheaply be replaced. Another potential cause is debris in the drain.
Step 1: Check for debris in the drain
One cause of clicking in washing machines that fail to start is when debris accumulates in the drain. Check the machine’s drain for any large items such as coins that may have become lodged.
To check the drain, turn off your water supply and detach the drain hose. Then clean out any potential blockages before reattaching the hose.
I recommend this as a first step because washing machine drains are easy to remove and check, and it’s good practice to check them regularly anyway.
Step 2: Check the Door Lid Latch
If the door clicks and the washing machine won’t start the most likely cause is a faulty door lock motor and switch assembly. Typically the machine will click a few times, beep, and then switch itself off.
Note: a faulty lid switch assembly can also cause intermittent clicking and faults during the cycle. If the lid switch assembly fails, the washing machine may not enter the spin cycle.
Inspect the mechanical door lock to make sure that it’s closing and locking properly. Then use a multimeter (on Amazon) to test for continuity once the door is shut. If the test is negative or your door switch isn’t engaged properly, you’ll need to replace the switch. Fortunately, this is an easy and cheap fix that you can do at home.
To replace your door lock and switch assembly you’ll need to ensure you buy the correct part by entering your model number to a website such as partselect.com. Then follow these steps:
- Disconnect power to the washer.
- Open the door and remove the round metal spring that surrounds the opening to the door. This is found beneath the rubber door gasket and you can use pliers to remove it.
- Peel the rubber gasket away from the right-hand side, exposing the door lock assembly.
- Remove the two screws securing the door lock assembly to the front panel and pull away the assembly from the panel.
- Remove the wires by depressing the locking tab and pulling away.
- Re-connect the wires to the new switch assembly ensuring the locking tab engages.
- Screw in your new lock and switch assembly and re-assemble the washing machine.
Here’s a great Youtube video I found on how to replace the lock and switch assembly:
Why does your washing machine click whilst on?
If your washing machine clicks whilst on the most common cause is a stuck object such as a bra wire somewhere in the machine. A malfunctioning drain pump and loose fittings could also cause clicking.
Step 1: Check the machine for stuck objects
If your washing machine does not produce any error codes and the only problem is clicking and clanging, the most common cause is that something is stuck in your machine. Note that this noise will be more audible either during or after the spin cycle.
Loose objects, like metal coins, bra wires, or buckles, may cause clicking, rattling, or thumping sounds during a wash cycle. It’s essential to remove objects stuck between the inner and outer drum as they can perforate the drum causing flooding and damage to your machine. If untreated, foreign objects may also make their way further down your washing machine and end up in the pump (which is another cause of clicking and being covered later on in this article).
Fortunately, it’s simple to remove foreign objects from the washing machine. Here’s how you do it:
- Inspect the inner drum.
Use a flashlight and slowly turn the drum by hand to identify where the clicking noise is coming from. You may be lucky and spot the end of a bra wire coming out of the perforations. If so, use your hands (or a pair of pliers) to ease out the bra wire. You might need to turn the drum a bit whilst pulling to ease it out.
Also, check the baffles for noise and use the process of elimination to determine which baffle it could be. If you find the object, remove the baffle to access the object. Removal instructions vary based on your model.
- Check items between the inner and outer drum
Sometimes objects can get caught between the inner and outer drum. To check for this, spin the drum by hand and feel for any resistance. Also, listen out for the clicking noise.
If you find something, you’ll need to try and locate it and prise it from where it’s sitting. Pull a gap on the seal between the inner and outer drum by prying the gap with a flathead screwdriver (or hammer). Spin the drum to locate the object. If you can’t find it, you may need to use a flexible probe (for example a long cable tie) to work around the outside of the inner drum.
Try pulling out an item if you feel it, being careful that the object doesn’t snap.
- Check underneath the drum
If you still can’t locate the object, you’ll need to check underneath the washing machine. The sump hose and heater are common areas for coins to get stuck, which could be causing the clicking noise.
Pull the washer away from the wall, unplug the machine, and then remove its back. Remove the heater and inspect the housing too.
Then try the sump hose at the bottom of the machine. You may need to lean the machine on its side to access the sump hose safely and remember to put down some old towels to soak up any spillage. If you need to remove the washing machine from under the dryer for access, here’s another article I wrote on the subject.
Loosen the clip and remove the sump cover to access underneath the drum. Pull this out, and hopefully a foreign (probably metallic) object will be lying in the tray.
To be 100% sure there aren’t any other foreign objects there, try shining a torch down the drainage hole. Once done, reassemble the machine and run another cycle to see if the issue has been resolved.
If this doesn’t work, one nifty little trick I’ve used in the past is to put something at the back of the machine that raises/tilts the machine forward, then run a cycle. This can push any foreign objects to the front. Once the cycle has finished, repeat the ‘looking’ process above.
Step 2: Check for a Malfunctioning Drain Pump
A malfunctioning drain pump can also cause a clicking noise. A drain pump is responsible for draining water during and after a cycle. If the clicking noise comes after the agitation cycle and the washing machine doesn’t drain or spin, the fault is likely related to the pump.
Where your pump has completely stopped working you may also notice water failing to drain from your drain hose. There are two potential causes of clicking within the drain pump: a worn-out and malfunctioning pump or something stuck in the water port of the drain pump.
Signs of a bad drain pump all relate to wastewater. Common signs are:
- The drum will not drain or drains slowly.
- The washing machine stops mid-cycle full of water
- The machine won’t enter the spin cycle.
- Clicking noise when the pump is being used.
The most common cause of a malfunctioning drain pump is that a foreign object has blocked the filter or pump. This foreign object may also be causing clicking noises, especially if it’s something metallic like a coin.
The first thing you should do is make sure the washing machine filter is clear. The filter is designed to catch foreign objects that have made their way beyond the washload.
Depending on your model, you can do this by unscrewing the filter (normally at the bottom right of the machine) and then inspecting for foreign objects.
Hopefully, you’ve located the object and cleared it (I’ve seen many pebbles and coins caught in the filter) but if not you’ll need to access either underneath or behind your washing machine.
Next, have a feel along the sump hose for any blockages. If you find something, disconnect the hose and remove the blockage. If not, a foreign object may actually be in the pump (note: most washing machines have two pumps, a recirculation pump, and a drainage pump).
- Unplug your washing machine.
- Remove the pump via the four screws. It’s normally located in the bottom right of the washer and is accessible by removing the lower front panel.
- Disconnect the plug for the outlet and then disconnect the power connection for the pump.
- Remove as much water as possible from the drum and remove the drain lines.
- Remove the pump and open the cover to see the impeller and check for any stuck objects (usually coins, pins, nails, or screws).
- Replace the pump cover, replace the drain lines and screws, and reconnect the power to the pump.
I’ve linked a video below on how to remove and clean your washing machine pump:
Step 3: look for other potential causes of the clicking noise
Once you’ve ruled out the door latch assembly, and any foreign objects in the washing machine, the filter, and the pump, there are only a few remaining potential causes. Whilst these causes are less likely, I still want to give you all the potential causes and signs to look out for.
Ensure all nuts and bolts of the chassis are tightly secure. Some machines can develop cracks if welding comes loose. Also, check all the feet are completely level and tight. The best way to troubleshoot this is to disconnect the washing machine from the mains and to start physically pressing it in certain ways and directions to emulate the clicking.
Loose screws in the tumbler for example can cause clicking, and it could be as simple as tightening the nuts. Excessive vibrations during spin cycles typically cause the components to become loose or damaged over time.
Faulty Water Inlet Valve
The water inlet valve manages the flow of water in the machine. It can cause clicking or rattling sounds during wash cycles if it malfunctions, as well as leaking during the fill cycle. This problem is usually caused by a build-up of sediment in the valve, which obstructs the water flow. The most obvious symptom of a faulty inlet valve is that your machine will struggle to fill with water.
These situations call for replacement components as inlet valves can’t be repaired. Here’s a great video on how to replace an inlet valve.
Defective Motor Coupling
Washing machines have a motor coupling that links the motor to the transmission. If the motor coupling malfunctions, it can cause a clicking noise during wash cycles.
This issue usually happens when the washer is overloaded or unbalanced, causing excessive vibration that damages the motor coupling.
The most common sign of a defective motor coupler is that your clothes come out of the wash still wet. You’ll also know if your motor coupler is faulty because the washing machine won’t fill to the right level, and will not agitate the water correctly.
Worn-Out Drive Belt
Worn-out drive belts are another potential culprit behind clicking sounds. The belt can become loose or damaged as your machine ages, causing clicking sounds during wash cycles. You must replace the worn-out belt to eliminate the noise in these cases.
When the belt wears down, you may smell burning rubber, and a worsening squealing noise over time.
The agitator moves clothes around during a wash cycle. Components can become loose and cause clicking, rattling, or thumping sounds. These issues are easy to resolve, requiring you to tighten the agitator or replace it if damaged.
The most common causes of clicking in washing machines are door latches and foreign objects stuck somewhere in the drum. Once you’ve made sure there are no foreign objects and have tightened the legs and components, your clicking is probably caused by a faulty part. If at this stage you feel that you’ve eliminated all the most likely causes it’s probably worth bringing in a professional.