Is it Worth Replacing the Bearings in a Washing Machine?

washing machine bearings being replaced

As a savvy homeowner, you probably know that every now and again your washing machine is going to break down.

One of the most common faults that a washing machine will encounter in its life is bearing failure.

The question is: should you bother replacing the bearings in your washing machine when they break?

Well, that depends on a few factors. You have to consider if your washing machine is both worth repairing and if it seems to have any other faults.

There’s no point in taking on a huge repair for your machine when it’s likely to fail again in the near future.

We have put together this article to help you figure out if you should repair your washing machine or replace it in the event of bearing failure.

The signs that a washing machine needs new bearings

It’s pretty obvious when your washing machine needs the bearings replaced. It will start with the machine being a little noisier when spinning and then end up with the drum collapsing.

Most people describe the noise as like a plane taking off when the machine goes into its final spin cycle.

You can check if the bearing has collapsed by doing the following:

  • Put your hand between the door seal and the drum and see if it wobbles around when you lift your finger
  • Look for small pieces of plastic in your clothes and in the drum after a wash cycle
  • Inspect the back of the machine for any shredded plastic
  • Listen out for a really noisy machine when it’s on a spin cycle
washing machine bearings being inspected at the back of the machine

Don’t forget, not all noisy washing machines need the bearings replaced and if your machine is shaking around during a wash, it could be a sign of a different problem altogether.

How much do washing machine bearings cost?

Typically, the bearing itself doesn’t cost a lot of money to buy. Sometimes, you may find that you need to buy a few other parts to get your machine back up and running smoothly.

Washing machine bearings currently cost around £5 – £20 depending on your machine.

If you’re going to replace the bearing, the drum will need to come out of the machine. When doing this you may find it useful to replace the door seal at this time, as it makes it much easier to replace if it is old and mouldy or has become damaged.

If you do go ahead and replace the seal, you may want to check out our article on how to keep your washing machine door seal clean.

When you split the drum in half, you will need to replace the drum seal as they don’t usually go back in very well. Luckily, these don’t usually cost a lot of money.

Don’t forget, if you’re going to carry out your own repair, you will need to have all of the tools to complete the job.

If you’re looking for an appliance repairer to carry out the job, you should expect to pay between £100 and £250 for this job.

Can all washing machines have the bearings replaced?

Not all washing machines can have their bearings replaced. This is because some washing machine manufacturers produce drums that can not be split in half.

When you’re replacing washing machine bearings, you need to be able to access the bearing, which is only possible by splitting the drum in half.

You can check If your machine is eligible for bearing replacement by doing one of the following:

  • Find an image of your washing machine drum online and see if has screws all the way around the middle of the drum. If it does, this means that the drum can be unscrewed and split.
  • Take the lid of the machine off and visually inspect the drum. Check for screws around the middle that hold the back and front half of the drum together.

Lately, it seems most brands are moving towards manufacturing washing machines with sealed drums.

This is because they are cheaper to produce but this can be bad for the consumer in the long run. If you are someone who believes in repairing before replacing, this leaves you with fewer options.

Knowing if you can replace the bearings in your washing machine is definitely something you should consider when purchasing a new washing machine.

Is it difficult to replace washing machine bearings?

Replacing the bearings in a washing machine is the most difficult repair that you can do.

This is because you have to strip most of the machine down to remove the drum. It usually takes over 3 hours for someone without experience to do this.

An experienced appliance engineer can strip down most washing machines, replace the bearing, and put the machine back together in 1 – 2 hours.

A washing machine being taken apart with the front off

Additionally, keep in mind that the bearing could become stuck inside the drum. In some situations, this could even mean the end of your washing machine’s life because it can be extremely difficult to remove the bearing.

It is important to hit the new bearing ‘square’ when installing it in order to prevent it from becoming wedged. You risk the bearing becoming stuck if you don’t hit it correctly.

Should you replace a washing machine with bearing failure?

You should consider if the value of the machine is worth spending the time and money to repair.

If you paid less than £300 for your washing machine, it’s probably not even worth considering getting the bearings fixed.

You should also consider if the machine has any signs of other faults. If your washing machine has been leaking or struggling to drain, then it’s probably an indication of other faults that need to be repaired.

Also, don’t forget that having a big repair done on your machine doesn’t guarantee that it will significantly extend its life, as anything can break down at any time.