There's an uncomfortable urgency to the sounds of the washer banging against the dryer or walking across the laundry room floor. It's a noise that compels us to drop what we're doing and dash to the laundry room to try to calm the gyrating machine. A variety of causes, from common to obscure, can make a washing machine vibrate excessively. Fortunately, most of the causes are easy to remedy.
The washer load is unbalanced
If you loaded the washer with heavier clothes on one side, or if they shift to one side of their own volition, the load becomes unbalanced. Unbalanced loads are especially common with large or bulky items, especially if the load is small.
The solution is simple: open the washer and redistribute the load.
If you're not available to untangle and rearrange the soggy load, the washer will add water and swish the clothes around in an effort to correct the problem. After a set number of tries, it will give up and stop the cycle.
The leveling legs aren't leveling
All four leveling legs should have full contact with the floor. To check, place your hands on the corners of the empty washer and rock it slightly side to side. If the washer rocks, adjust the legs following the directions in your owner's manual.
The flooring is weak
Above-ground floor installations or pier-and-beam foundations may not offer adequate support for some washing machines, particularly washers with a high-speed spin. Securing a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood to the floor under the washer base will sometimes help resolve the excessive vibration.
Something in the washer is broken
The problem might be that components that stabilize the washer have broken. Possibilities include suspension springs, balance rings, snubber pads and shock absorbers. Inspect these parts and replace any that are broken.
Stabilizing components vary by model, so check your owner's manual for details about your machine.
The washer still has shipping bolts
If the washer is new or was recently moved, check to see if the shipping bolts are still in place. Shipping bolts usually are in the back of the washer, with one in each corner around the drum area. If the bolts are in place, remove them. Operating a washer with the shipping bolts in place causes extreme vibration and will damage the machine.
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