How to fix a squealing dryer

A squeaky dryer can be a real nuisance. Thankfully there are a few easy ways to fix this headache. The dryer is a rather simple device with minimal moving parts inside, which makes isolating the squeaky part a rather deductive process. The main culprits are normally the belt, the idler pulley, the drum bearing, or the motor itself.

If your appliance is still under warranty, the manufacturer will be liable to fix these issues. If your warranty has expired, however, you’ll have to fix the faulty part(s) yourself — or invest in a new appliance altogether (we’ve got some recommendations for you!). Here’s our comprehensive guide to fixing a squeaky dryer.

Note: First and foremost, unplug the dryer, disconnect the utilities, and move the unit away from the wall. You might also consider wearing a pair of gloves as a precaution as well.

The dryer belt

If the dryer belt develops wear or has simply become slack with age, loose or poor fit with the drum itself may cause slippage and squeaking. If this is the case, you’ll need to replace this part. Fortunately, this is a pretty easy fix.

First, remove the lint trap insert and unscrew the the two screws connecting the lid to the dryer frame. Using a putty knife along the bottom lip of the dryer top, you should now be able to flip open the top of the dryer. Next, prop up the lid and use a screwdriver to remove the locking tab on the wire harness plug. You’ll need to remove the mounting screws along the front panel next; you will probably need a nut driver for this task. You should now be able to remove the front panel of the unit.

Note: all of these basic repairs will start with this exact same process.

Simply slide off the old belt at this point and wrap the new belt around the drum. Next, thread the remaining belt slack through the idler pulley and around the motor pulley. It’s as simple as that. Now replace the front panel and connect the wire harness plug. Lower the lid, apply the screws to the lint catch housing, and reinsert the lint catch.

The idler pulley

If the idler pulley is faulty, the component will squeak while the appliance is running. This process starts the exact same way as the previous replacement method: Remove the lid and front panel and disconnect the wire harness plug. Now, unthread the drive belt from the idler pulley. The pulley itself sits in a small bracket in the base of the dryer; you’ll need to detach the part from this bracket housing. Next, simply place the new idler pulley in the same bracket and thread the belt through the wheel and around the motor pulley.

Drum glide bearings

Once inside of the unit, remove the the belt from the drum and lift the drum itself out of the dryer housing. The drum glide bearings are located along the edge of the drum. Release the two-pronged locking tabs along the edge of the bearings and discard these worn components. It is important to note that you may need a pair of pliers to pinch these locking tabs together before removing them.

Now align the locking tabs on the glide bearings with the openings along the drum itself and insert the prongs. You will now need to replace the felt seal along the front panel. Remove the retaining clips around the seal with a pair of pliers. Simply remove the old seal and push the new one into place inside the channel housing and reinsert the retaining clips. Now place the drum back inside of the dryer and connect the belt. Voila.

The motor

If the problem is in fact the dryer motor, you may need to have a long conversation with yourself about your relationship with your current dryer. Dryer motors can be expensive and it might be worth it, at this point, to just invest in a new appliance — might we suggest one of these? You’ll always have the memories.

This process starts the same as the others. You will also need to remove the belt and the drum from the unit. Now, using a screwdriver, release the motor mounting clips and remove the motor. Behind the dryer motor is the blower wheel, use a wrench to slightly loosen this component. Turn the drive shaft with the wrench while holding the blower wheel in place.

With this task you will also need to remove the back panel of the dryer. To do so, you’ll need to unscrew the outward-facing screws along the edge of the panel. Now the air duct will be accessible; a series of mounting screws holds this duct in place. Simply unscrew these and remove the air duct. Once removed, the blower wheel will be visible. Set the blower wheel to the side for the time being.

Once all of the locking tabs along the motor bracket have been released, disconnect the wire harness connected to the motor and remove the faulty component. You can now install the new motor. Reconnect the wire harness to the new motor, reinsert the blower wheel, and clamp the motor in place. Then insert the air duct and back panel, position the drum and apply the drum belt, threading the belt through the idler pulley and around the motor pulley.