Dryers are meant to tumble or rotate. The drum, or metal container where you put your clothes, rotates so your clothes can tumble loose from one another and dry more quickly. If you’ve got a dryer squeeking and making you crazy, there are basically four things that could be causing it.
The big rubber band that turns your dryer drum can stretch and wear out over time. If you’ve got a dryer squeaking in rhythm to the rotation of the drum, the dryer belt is likely the problem. This is the simplest repair, though if you get it wrong, the drum won’t turn at all. Taking the dryer apart can be fiddly and may turn hazardous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Unless you’re sure what you’re looking for and can do without the dryer for a few days if your DIY fix fails, hire someone to make this repair.
Dryer belt replacements aren’t terribly difficult to find, and you don’t have to pull the drum to replace the belt. However, in many models, you will have to unplug wiring harnesses to get to the idler pulley and re-tension the dryer belt. As with many projects, what starts out simple can quickly become a challenge. Unless you have the confidence and dexterity to manage this project, you can save yourself a great deal of worry by hiring a professional.
All power in the dryer comes from the motor. The idler pulley is turned by the motor, and the idler pulley is what drives the dryer belt, described above. The idler pulley is a very small wheel, so the squeaking will be quite a bit faster than the squeaking of a belt.
One of the biggest hassles of changing out or repairing the idler pulley is that it’s hard to know which part of the wheel needs replaced. It can also be hard to get replacement parts. Again, if you’re going to DIY this project, be ready to be without a dryer for a time. By the time you get everything taken apart, it may take a special order to get the right parts.
Rubber has a distinctive sound, so the belt will sound one way; that is, one squeak per revolution. Your idler pulley will squeak at a higher velocity and likely a higher pitch. Drum bearings aren’t so much a squeak as a scrape, but if they wear for long enough, they’ll squeak.
Your drum bearings are locked in place along the outside of the drum. They’re what allow the drum to turn against the body of the dryer with little friction. However, if your belt is worn and loose, your drum bearings will start to take some strain and may become damaged by an out of balance drum. They’re not hard to get to, but finding the parts can be challenging.
Before you do any work on your dryer, unplug it. Also, check to make sure the breaker to the dryer isn’t tripped. Once you know that it has been getting power, you can check the three items noted above to determine if they are the problem. The belt will be loose and may have small cracks if it’s overstretched and ready to replace. The idle pulley should be able to spin by pressure from your finger. If it doesn’t spin freely, it needs replaced. Check the drum bearings by completely removing the dryer drum. Study each for wear.
If these all look ok, or if you just planned to replace them while you had the dryer taken apart anyway, but the dryer still squeaks, the motor is bad. Dryer motors aren’t cheap. In fact, it may be less costly for you to replace the dryer than to replace the motor.
Getting rid of a dryer squeak doesn’t have to be difficult, but any time you’re working with electricity, you’re at risk. Unplug everything, and while you’re thinking about it, check the breaker. Be aware that this list is set up to review the simplest to the most challenging fix. If the belt was daunting, the idler pulley will be a bigger challenge and the glide bearings require you to pull the drum. You’ll need hand strength and a good eye for this project. If you’re not confident, hire someone. You’ll project your own health, your home, and your possessions.