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How to fix a washing machine that shakes and jumps

Years ago, before washing machines were built to be quieter you’d be forgiven for thinking that a Jumbo Jet was taking off in your kitchen. While modern machines are much quieter, problems still arise when machines enter their spin cycle. Although machines can be inclined to move about a bit during a wash cycle the trouble only starts when the machine isn’t sufficiently stable to cope with the rapid spin cycle.

Jumping washing machine

First considerations

The age old technical support question – is it plugged in? doesn’t really apply if you know that the washing machine has been spinning. The same concept applies however. Before developing visions of currency symbols pouring out of your wallet, there is something that you can check. Even if you did have your machine professionally installed and the feet were adjusted, weeks or months of rumbling along can in fact impact on the legs. The legs or feet form the foundation of the stability of your machine and should be the first port of call when instability looms.

Check that the legs are equally levelled out in the space that the machine occupies. It is also possible that the floor is uneven, and the legs need to be altered to align the balance the slope on the floor. Most washing machine legs have lock buts, so the legs should stay in position after they have been stabilised. An enormous proportion of shaking and jumping from washing machine comes from the simple lack of stability when the legs are not aligned.

The Tub dampening straps

Inside your washer there will be four tub dampening straps. The are rubber straps that are attached at the top of the drum tub and to the top of the machine to keep it in place and cushion the strong movement and vibrations, particularly during the spin cycle. When these become stretched or fail completely then the tub will bang against the side of the machine during the spin cycle. It will be exceptionally bad when only one has failed creating an imbalance offered by the other three straps.

It is recommended to replace all four of the straps at the same time so that the balance and equilibrium is optimal after the fix. They are easy to access by removing the top cover on the machine.

Snubber ring, Damper pad and Tub wear pads

Many washing machines have a ring located at the base of the machine which cushions the tub support assembly from the base of the machine. This is called the snubber ring and helps to dampen vibrations during the spin cycle. Some machines have damper pads that perform the same purpose. These two items are made of solid plastic which wears away over time. This is to be expected if they are performing their purpose correctly. When worn completely the tub and the base of the machine will make contact and the machine will shake and jump uncontrollably.

To replace them, you will need to remove the front panel to open the machine. You will then need to remove the front suspension springs, replace the snubber and then reverse the process when you disassembled it. Remember that the suspension springs are tensioned so always ensure that you have protective wear. If you in any doubt, get your local washing machine repair service to send a qualified engineer to replace the parts for you.

Shock absorbers

If you have a front loading machine, you can rest assured that your machine is fitted with shock absorbers. These will be attached to both the tub and base of the frame casing. To replace these, you will have to remove either the front or the rear casing and in some cases possibly both. There are several tell tale signs that there is a problem with the shock absorbers. Visual inspection would indicate a leak or broken components. The machines behaviour when spinning will present a loud knocking or banging noise. If the shock absorbers are failing, then other components in the machine are at major risk of failure due to damage. While you are inspecting the shocks, also ensure that the suspension rings are not wearing too.

While replacement may appear straightforward, you should always remember to disconnect and discharge any power from the machine. If in doubt or the physical stamina required to pull the machine out and open it up is too much, call your local washing machine repair service who will send out an engineer that will complete the repair quickly.

While there are some simple fixes for problems that washing machines present, it is often better to call in a repair service to have a look. Quite often an experienced eye will spot cumulative problems that may have developed as a result of the machine doing the two steps across your kitchen or utility room floor. Addressing the resulting problems at the same time will save you a lot of time, money and anxiety.

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