When a dryer makes a banging noise, the cause could be something simple like thumping shoes, or something more sinister like a broken drive belt. Whilst the fix is often simple, it’s important to rectify the issue right away to avoid further expensive damage to the motor.
A banging noise from your dryer is often caused by loose items or the dryer hitting the wall. After considering the obvious, the most common cause of banging or thumping is broken rollers; the second most common issue is a stretched drive pulley. Both components are easily and affordably replaceable.
In this article, I have provided a step-by-step diagnosis of a banging noise coming from your dryer. I’ve started with the most obvious and easy-to-fix issues, followed by damaged components. As with all of my guides, I discuss actionable steps written in plain English to resolve the problem.
Why is My Dryer Making a Banging Noise? top 3 causes
Sometimes the banging noise coming from your dryer can be easily fixed. So let’s start with the simple problems first, so you can quickly address them before considering component replacement: objects getting stuck in the dryer, a dryer hitting a wall, and an unlevel dryer.
I have previously fixed banging dryers simply by placing an old blanket between the wall and the dryer, so we’ll look at obvious causes before dismantling anything!
In the components section, I’ll walk you through two very common causes of banging or thumping noises: broken dryer rollers and a stretched drive belt.
1. Check these things first: stuck objects, or is your dryer banging against a wall?
Whilst the cause of banging noises in your dryer can be related to internal components, I’m going to first take you through the obvious and easy things to check. This includes objects making a thumping noise, the dryer banging against a wall, and an unlevel dryer.
Objects Are Hitting the Dryer Walls
If objects are banging against the walls of the machine you’ll hear a banging noise. This is not something to worry about if the object is small and non-dangerous as you can remove them when the drying cycle is complete.
For instance, the banging could simply come from leaving things in jeans pockets or the zipper of your jacket rattling against the inside metal.
Ensure to remove loose or removable objects from the garments before putting them in the dryer as it can prevent the issue and protect the machine. If you fail to remove large objects, you might be left with a cracked drum which can be challenging to repair.
The Dryer is Banging Against the Wall
Dryers are prone to moving around on the floor over time due to excessive shaking when they are in use. So it’s possible your dryer has moved across the floor and ended u closer to the wall than you thought.
Simply move the dryer further from the wall. My dryer is prone to banging against the wall, so I add soft padding (like an old blanket) to the surrounding walls which does the trick.
The Dryer is Misaligned (not level)
A misaligned dryer could cause banging noises. Again, the machine can bang against the walls or on its corners, causing friction with the floor. To level a dryer simply place a spirit level flat on top of the cabinet and adjust the legs accordingly.
2. Your dryer support rollers are damaged
Once you’ve checked the basics of your dryer setup such as the levelness and location, the most common cause of a dryer making banging noises is damaged dryer support rollers. The good news is that this is a cheap and relatively easy fix, but you SHOULD deal with it straight away to avoid motor damage.
Dryer support rollers sit just underneath the drum and provide support for the weight of the dryer drum as it rotates. They help reduce the friction between the drum and the dryer cabinet which can help a dryer last longer.
Here’s what dryer support rollers look like:
When drum rollers wear out they’ll stop rolling freely. They can generate a slightly flat spot and this can cause squealing, rough vibrating, and banging or thumping noises. It’s important to replace support rollers as soon as possible, as damaged rollers can overload the motor and eventually break the entire appliance.
Note: If your dryer is located in a cool area, rollers can become rigid and misshapen (especially if your dryer is being used for the first time in a while). If this is the case, you may notice banging noises for the first 10 minutes but this should subside.
To determine if your dryer support rollers are damaged, you’ll need to remove the belt from the dryer and turn the drum by hand. The drum should move freely without feeling like it’s being obstructed.
You should also check the rollers themselves for any signs of wear and tear. I have shown an image below showing you what the rollers look like right next to the drum. To do this, you’ll need to disassemble the cabinet, remove the drive belt, and visually inspect the rollers. I’ll link a video in the next section on how to do this.
How to fix broken drum rollers
Replacing broken drum rollers is definitely possible to do at home yourself. I’d estimate it’d take you between an hour or two to do. As with most appliance repair jobs, the most time-consuming element is taking apart and reassembling the machine.
The good news is that drum rollers are cheap. They only cost between $30 and $40. But if you are paying for labor, expect to pay between $100 and $300 in the US.
I’ve linked the most popular dryer manufacturers’ replacement rollers here:
Note: I would always recommend replacing all of the rollers at the same time as a preventative measure.
Here’s a summary of how to replace broken drum rollers. It’s much easier to explain over video but I also wanted to give you a brief idea of how to do it:
- Unplug the dryer and place a cloth beneath the dryer to catch dropped screws.
- Access the rollers by removing the top panel and removing the front panel.
- Detach the drum by removing the belt from the motor and roll it off.
- Remove the old rollers, replace the new rollers from the kit, and clean the area of lint buildup.
- Reassemble the dryer, reattach the belt, and plug the dryer back in.
Here’s the best video I could find (by Repair Clinic) on how to replace drum rollers:
3. You Have A Loose Drive Belt
The second most common cause of a banging dryer, after faulty rollers, is due to a loose drive belt.
The drive belt is responsible for connecting the motor to the drum. When the dryer starts, the motor spins the belt which in turn makes the drum rotate. Whilst dryer belts are strong and made of reinforced rubber, they undergo a significant amount of force for years and are prone to fraying or loosening.
Did you know that an average American household does 50 lbs of laundry each week? That’s a lot of pressure on the drive belt!
When a drive belt is damaged, it prevents the drum from correctly turning and can cause a loud banging or thumping noise.
If the source of the thumping noises is your drive belt, it’s likely to be loose. A completely broken drive belt would prevent your machine from starting altogether. Also, even during operation, the drum might not rotate if the drive belt is fully broken.
The good news is that drive belts are cheap to replace (under $20) and it is a do-it-yourself job!
Here’s how to check if your dryer drive belt is loose:
- Access the Dryer Drum: This is model-specific but usually, there is a back panel near the bottom where you can see the pulley the belt is hooked onto.
- Visual Inspection: Visually inspect the drive belt. Look for signs of wear, damage, or misalignment. A loose belt might appear stretched or misaligned from its natural position.
- Tension Check: Gently press the belt with your finger. It should feel taut and have minimal give. If the belt is loose and can be easily pushed or moved side to side, it likely needs tightening or replacement.
- Rotate the Drum: Rotate the drum by hand while observing the movement of the belt. A loose belt might slip or wobble as you turn the drum.
How to change your dryer belt
As I mentioned before, drive belts are cheap. I’ve linked to the most popular brands and their Amazon links below:
I’d recommend following along with the video I’ve linked below, but I also wanted to provide a summary of how to change your drive belt. I’ve broken this down into the main steps required, for most dryers.
For this job, you’ll need a power drill, a ¼ drill bit, a square head bit, and needlenose pliers.
Always unplug the power to the appliance first!
- Remove the backsplash: This step involves removing your back panel by unthreading all screws, as well as detaching the ground wire.
- Wire detachment: Dryers have a surprising amount of wires and switches, and you’ll need to remove a majority of them in order to access the drum and pulley system. You’ll need to detach the signal switch (take a photo first!), the temperature switch, and the resistor.
Then feed all wires through the panel.
- Remove the door panel: Then you’ll need to remove the screws holding the top panel in place and lift it off. Then undo the screws for the front panel, and unplug the wire harness.
- Remove the stretched belt, and replace it with the new one. Depress the pulley to release tension and unthread it from the motor shaft. Then remove the belt from the drum.
Next comes the fun part… fit the new belt! Fit it rib side down around the outside of the drum. Then loop it around the tension pulley and motor shaft in a zig-zag or S-shape formation. Rotate the drum to help align the belt.
- Replace the front panel, top panel, wire harnesses, wires, and the top panel (in reverse order to how you removed it).
Here’s the best video I could find explaining the process in detail:
An Explanation of Problematic Dryer Machine Sounds
Various sounds can come from your dryer machine when there is a problem. Here are the various noises to look out for and an explanation of what they mean.
A grinding dryer may be caused by either worn-out bearings or broken drum glides. Drum glides, which enable the drum to spin smoothly, can deteriorate over time. A grinding or scraping sound is produced when the dryer cylinder rotates over worn-out drum glides.
As an alternative, your drum gear may be malfunctioning. Between the dryer casing and the drum’s rear is where this bearing is located. If it becomes worn, the drum begins to scrape against the housing, creating a grinding sound.
A dirty or loose blower fan blade may be the cause of a rattling sound emanating from your dryer. A motor pulley that is slack can also rattle. In case there are items there that are rattling against the dryer, it is worthwhile to look beneath the lint filter.
However, rattling doesn’t always indicate that there is an issue with the dryer. Simple things like metal zips or other garment trims striking the inside of the spinning drum could be the cause.
Dryers frequently vibrate while they are running, which can cause them to shake against the wall or other equipment.
Squeaking or Squealing
An idler pulley that is worn out is likely to be the source of your dryer’s rattling. The drum belt is kept taut by this pulley, which results in constant friction and strain. When it first begins to exhibit a defect due to wear and tear, it may squeak; as the defect worsens, the sound typically changes to a banging or grinding noise.
Another typical cause of squeaking in dryers is defective dryer wheels. The drum is held in position while rotating by the rollers, which rotate on axles.
A squeaking sound produced by lightly damaged roller bearings or rollers gradually develops into a banging sound as the issue gets worse.