If your washing machine is getting on in age and beginning to sound like a box of bolts each wash, it may be time to check its bearings. Washing machine bearings are a crucial element of the machine that help it to function correctly, but if they’re looking worn down and in need of replacing, don’t panic! We’ve put together a handy guide to help you navigate replacing your washing machine bearings. Learn all you need to know with this Canstar Blue guide.
What are washing machine bearings?
Washing machine bearings are a major component of your washing machine in the shape of metal rings that support the rotation of the drum. These are usually found at the back of your washer below the outer tub. They are a crucial piece of your washing machine that helps it function better and make sure the drum is rotating correctly.
How long do washing machine bearings last?
Washing machine bearings can last up to 10 years if your washing machine is used correctly and taken care of. With regular use however, bearings will wear with time regardless of added care, although you may be able to prolong its life a bit longer.
What causes washing machine bearings to wear?
Simple wear and tear. All washers, whether we’re talking about front or top loaders, have two bearings that will degrade with use. Water will eventually begin to seep through seals around the metal bearings, causing them to rust over time.
The two main signs of defective bearings are:
- if your appliance starts sounding like heavy machinery during its spin cycle
- if the inner drum seems to move more than a millimetre or two, comparative to the fixed outer drum
The best way to know for sure is to inspect your appliance. You can do that by removing the back panel of your washer and checking for signs of rust in and around the motor. That’s a dead giveaway of faulty bearings!
How much does it cost to replace bearings in a washing machine?
Replacing the bearings in your washing machine can cost between $100 and $600. This includes the actual bearings, oil seals and professional installation. Front loaders generally cost less to repair because they have fewer parts than top loaders, so the cost may vary depending on your washing machine.
How to fix washing machine bearings
Replacing bearings isn’t rocket science, so doing it yourself is an option. However, if your machine is still within its warranty period, the manufacturer can send out a technician to replace the parts. If you’re feeling handy, here are some simple steps to follow to replace your washing machine bearings yourself:
- Turn your washing machine off: Before you attempt to pull anything apart you need to unplug the washing machine from power and water. Laying down some towels will help with any spills caused by the sump hose.
- Have your parts ready: there’s nothing worse than starting a project and being unprepared. Have all the tools and parts you need ready and laid out in the space you’re working in. This can help you visualise what needs to go where and make the process smoother.
- Know the lay of the land: if you’re unsure about where the bearings are located or how the washing machine is held together, familiarise yourself with the design and structure. This can help avoid any mishaps with the disassembly and reassembly of your washing machine. Contacting the manufacturer is also a great option if you want some advice before diving in headfirst.
- Start stripping the machine: remove the front and back panels of the machine with the help of a screwdriver. Next you will want to remove the detergent dispenser, control panel and the drum from the housing of the washing machine. Always take extra precautions when removing any wiring and remember to remove the pipe leading to the inlet valve.
- Replace the bearings: remove and replace the bearings with a spanner, along with the bearing seals. Make sure they are secure and screwed on correctly to avoid any failure later on.
- Reassemble your machine: Once you’ve put in the new bearings, start to put your machine back together. It’s crucial to make sure all elements go back in their correct place so when you reconnect it to power there won’t be any faults.
Replacing bearings can be a tedious task and should only be undertaken if you’re entirely confident in your ability to do so. Some higher end models of washing machines may require special tools to strip the machine, so it may be best to leave it to the professionals.
Which washing machine brands last the longest?
How long an appliance will last is entirely dependent on a number of factors including its usage, how often you’re maintaining the machine and how you take care of it day to day. If you’re in the market to buy a new washing machine but aren’t certain about the longevity of different brands, here are some brands that last longer based on consumer feedback:
Miele was rated best for overall customer satisfaction in Canstar Blue’s latest front load washing machines review. Consumer feedback suggests Miele washing machines can last up to 10 years.
This high-end German manufacturer has a wide range of feature-rich washers with a life expectancy of about 10 years. Bosch scored a four-rating for overall customer in our latest product review.
Samsung washing machines last up to a decade or more, depending on the model. Samsung ranked third best for overall customer satisfaction in our latest front-loading washers review.
Fisher & Paykel
Washing machines from Fisher & Paykel can keep spinning for up to 10 years with a little TLC. Fisher & Paykel received a four-star rating for overall satisfaction in Canstar Blue’s latest product review on front loaders.
Should I buy a new washing machine or replace the bearings?
The most economical decision you can make is to replace the bearings yourself. Choosing DIY eliminates the costs that stack up when you choose to hire a professional. If you don’t feel confident however, hiring a professional is your best bet. Most technicians will charge an hourly fee as well as a call out or transportation cost, but their expertise means your machine will be repaired correctly.
Ultimately it comes down to whether all those added costs come to more than buying a new washing machine. If you have a higher end model of washing machine, then repairing could be the best choice, particularly if you’re fond of it, or if it washes your clothes correctly. For more washing machine information, reviews and ratings read more here:
Picture credits: New Africa / Shutterstock.com, Prophotoo / Shutterstock.com, Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.com, Money Business Images / Shutterstock.com.