Table of Contents
While most washing machines are somewhat noisy, if yours has suddenly become louder than it used to be, the bearings may have started to go. If you also find the washing machine is walking, or that the drum is moving inside, you’ll need to start considering replacing the bearings, or getting a new washer.
Which one is the better choice though?
Is It Worth Replacing Washing Machine Bearings?
As long as your washing machine is not too old, replacing the bearings can give it a new lease on life. However, it won’t be worth it if you’re expecting to buy a new appliance in a year or two anyway.
There are several things to consider before you decide either to replace the bearings, or buy a new washer. Here are the questions to ask yourself:
How Old is the Washing Machine?
The first thing to consider is the age of your washing machine.
If it’s relatively new, you could make a case for bearing replacement. This will certainly be cheaper than buying a new appliance. However, you may also ask yourself why the bearings have gone in the first place. Does this mean the washer is not of the best quality? Can you expect anything else to break down soon?
On the other hand, if you have an older washing machine, replacing the bearings may not be worth it. If you only expect to use it for another year or two, your best bet is probably to buy a new washer earlier than you intended to.
To prolong the longevity of your washing machine, make sure to clean it regularly and to get rid of any mould on the rubber seal. While neither has a direct impact on the bearings, if you prevent general rust and mildew, your washer will last you longer.
Is It Still Under Warranty?
If your washing machine is still under warranty, you should definitely use it to replace the bearings. If the warranty has recently expired, it’s a judgement call.
How Often Do You Use the Washing Machine?
If you use your washer on a daily basis, getting a new one will probably be the safer bet. If the bearings have started to go, it may be a sign that the entire appliance is about to break down.
What’s Your Budget?
Getting a new washer will be more expensive than replacing the bearings – especially if you choose to replace them yourself. If your budget currently can’t take the hit of buying an entirely new washing machine, you can look into used ones, or get someone to replace the bearings for you, if you are not very handy.
However, since bearing replacement typically runs at £100-£200, you can consider adding another hundred or so pounds and buying a new washer.
When to Replace Your Washing Machine Bearings
Consider replacing your washing machine bearings if:
- The washing machine is still under warranty
- The washer is fairly new and you’ve not seen any other issues with it
- If you are on a budget and can’t afford a new washing machine
- If you are good at fixing things and can replace the bearings yourself
- You really like your washer and don’t want to replace it unless you have to
- You want to be eco-friendly and use your appliances for as long as possible
Washing machine bearings typically last around 10 years. If you use your washer every day and regularly do large loads, that time will be shorter. Replacing the bearings can buy you several more years of use.
When to Repair Your Washing Machine Bearings
You may also be able to repair the bearings of your washing machine, as opposed to replacing them entirely. This is a good choice if:
- You know how to do it yourself or are ready to try it with the help of a video
- You know a good handyman or washing machine repairman who can do it for you
- The issue with the bearings is minor and can be fixed relatively easily
Note that getting to the bearings requires you to dismantle the entire washer. It’s a dirty and messy job, and is definitely not suitable for beginners.
When to Buy a New Washing Machine
Replacing or repairing your washing machine bearings sometimes won’t be the best choice. This is when you should buy an entirely new washer:
- Your current appliance is old (8 years over more) and nearing the end of its life anyway
- The cost of buying a new machine is only slightly higher than replacing the bearings
- You’ve left it too long and now there’s a chance the faulty bearings have damaged other parts of your machine
- You want a new washing machine, as the old one no longer fits your needs
- You have the budget for it and would rather not risk anything else going wrong with your current one
- You want to avoid the mess and hassle that comes with replacing a faulty part
- You can’t actually change the bearings: some newer models don’t allow for the replacement of this part, so you may really have no choice
Can I Still Use My Washing Machine If the Bearings Have Gone?
Yes, but probably not for long. While the damaged bearings won’t impact its performance, they can damage other parts of the machine and cause it to break down.
Faulty bearings can over time damage the basket and the outer drum, even some electrical components and the actual shaft. You probably won’t see a breakdown overnight right after you first notice something is wrong with the bearings, but you will need to start figuring out how you want to solve the problem.
If you decide to replace or repair the bearings, do so as soon as possible, as you will prevent any further damage to your appliance, and avoid even costlier repairs down the line.
Signs Your Washing Machine Bearings Need To Be Replaced
Here is how you can spot faulty washing machine bearings:
- Your washer is very loud from the moment you turn it on
- It’s significantly louder than usual throughout the washing cycle
- You hear the inner drum moving around freely
- You walk in to find your washer has moved several inches
- There is a lot of rust in your washer (you can check by removing the back panel)
What Causes Damage to Washing Machine Bearings?
The main cause of washing machine bearings damage is simple wear and tear. You should expect to see the bearings go, usually after 10 years of use.
As your washer is used and gets older, water will start to seep through the seals and reach the bearings, causing rust. This will over time impact their stability, and they will ultimately break down.
You shouldn’t expect to see major damage in less than 10 years, unless you use your machine every day and wash a lot of heavy loads.
The Typical Cost of Replacing Washing Machine Bearings
The cost of replacing washing machine bearings can run anywhere between £100 and £300, depending on the model and extent of the damage.
The actual bearings will however be much cheaper. If you replace them yourself, you are looking at a fraction of the cost. Bear in mind that it’s not an easy task and that there is a lot of mechanical skill involved. It will take you several hours, so if you’re not very handy, hire someone to do it for you.
Ask around and get a couple of quotes to see who could do the best and most affordable job in your area. Then weigh it against the cost of getting a brand new washing machine, and make a decision based on your current budget and the state of your washer.
Wrapping It Up
Whether or not to replace washing machine bearings is usually a judgement call. It will depend on your own mechanical skills, the age of your washer and the extent of the damage.
As long as you take care of your washer, use it as directed and don’t put it on top of the dryer, you can expect to use it for 10+ years.