Why Does My Washing Machine Shake and Vibrate?

washing machine shaking and vibrating

It can be frustrating to hear your washing machine shaking around after you set it off for a wash cycle.

In this article, we are going to be talking about the different reasons that your washing machine would shake around and vibrate while in use.

Most of the time, if your washing machine is quite new, the problem is with the installation, but this isn’t always the case.

There are a few checks that you can do to identify the problem, which we have included below.

The machine is not level

It may seem obvious, but if your washing machine is not level then it can cause it to move around and shake when it goes into its final spin.

Sometimes, this is caused by an uneven floor and can be pretty tricky to solve.

If you can, you should use the adjustable feet on the machine to try and level out the machine.

As a rule of thumb, if you can move the machine from side to side with your hand, your machine is unbalanced on the floor.

You can adjust the feet by reaching under the machine and using the lock nuts, you can move the feet to become taller or shorter.

If the feet don’t seem to be moving, you can use tools like pliers and adjustable spanners to do the job.

It’s quite common for the floor in your home to be a little uneven, so it’s common practice for a machine to have to be adjusted when it’s installed.

The transit bolts have not been removed

When a washing machine is being transported, it’s at risk of getting damaged from moving around.

Manufacturers install transit bolts into the back of the drum, which helps stabilize the machine and reduce the risk of the drum being damaged.

If the drum was left to freely move around, then the cabinet or the drum could crack or dint.

It’s important that when your washing machine is installed, the transit bolts are removed so that the drum can function normally.

If you forget to remove the transit bolts and use the washing machine, it can cause serious and irreversible damage to the drum.

The transit bolts are located at the back of the machine behind the removable metal cover. They need to be unbolted and pulled out.

You will usually find 3 -4 transit bolts in the back of a washing machine and it’s important to refit them if you plan on moving the machine again.

The bearings have failed

As a homeowner, you would prefer it if your washing machine would last forever. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

The bearings in a washing machine are located at the back of the drum and after many years of service, they can eventually fail.

If your machine has been excessively loud and has been shaking around during a spin cycle, it might indicate a problem with the bearings.

We recently wrote an article on if it’s worth it to replace washing machine bearings, which you might want to read.

Other signs that your machine has bearing failure include a drum that’s wobbly, plastic in the drum and grinding noises when it’s spinning.

Unbalanced wash load

Different washing machines have different sized drums, which means they are all different in what they can handle when being filled with clothes.

If you have accidentally underloaded or overloaded the drum when you’re preparing for a wash cycle, then your machine can shake around.

A good indication that your washing machine has an incorrect load size is if the drum seems to be taking longer moving forwards and backwards before spinning.

The motor on your machine will send feedback to the control board so it can figure out if the drum is balanced and ready for a spin cycle.

If your machine struggles to balance out the wash load it may give up or go into a bad spin cycle resulting in loud banging and vibrating.

As a rule of thumb, you should be filling the drum up with clothes to about halfway up the glass door on a front loading machine.

Make sure that you don’t wash all heavy items at once and only filling the machine with one or two items can cause problems when trying to initiate the spin cycle.

Suspension legs have worn

The drum of your washing machine is supported by two suspension legs, which give the drum the ability to safely move around during a wash.

Over time, the suspension legs will wear down and eventually result in them not being able to function correctly.

If you can bounce the drum up and down by hand, then the suspension legs probably aren’t supporting the drum correctly.

Luckily, if you think that your machine needs a new set of suspension legs, they are a pretty straightforward repair.

In some cases, one of the suspension legs can snap or come away, which results in an uneven spin cycle. This means the drum will shake and bang around.

The pump has a blockage

If your washing machine is experiencing a blockage, the drain pump impeller can get jammed.

If the pump is jammed, then your machine will make a vibrating and humming noise. This will usually be when the machine is trying to drain the water away.

If you’re looking for more information on what to do when your washing machine is not draining the water, then you can check out our guide.

If you think your machine is noisy because of a blocked pump, then you will need to inspect the drain pump filter.

This can be done by manually draining as much water as you can and then removing the filter. Leaning the machine back while you do this can help with catching the water in a bowl.