Washing machine smells like burning rubber: how to repair

If the washing machine is working properly, then the only scent that the user can smell is the detergent. If extraneous odors appear, for example, burnt rubber, this sign clearly indicates a breakdown. But what’s the matter? We will try to find the answer to this question further.

Most often, the washing machine smells like burnt rubber when the drain pump or drum overheats. Indeed, at an impressive rotation speed, it comes into contact with the door gasket. Moreover, the exact reason also depends on the type of loading, which can be vertical and frontal. In the first case, the drive motor, the clutch, which has undergone severe wear, or the belt may overheat. In the second situation, the door gasket or drum bearing may overheat.

washer repair

As already noted, the exact causes are determined by its type. Next, we will talk about the most common causes for front-loading and vertical-loading machines.

Top loading washer

The motor belt is loose or, conversely, pinched

Not always the motor is connected directly to the drum. Instead, it can be connected to it with a special belt. When the wash cycle is started, the motor will start running, causing the belt to turn. Energy will be transmitted through the tape. She, in turn, spins the drum and turns the laundry inward.

Under all circumstances, the engine belt must be straight and well-tensioned so that it can work as correctly as possible. That is why it passes through a mechanism that includes pulleys and systems for tension. If it is installed incorrectly, there is a high probability of loosening or jamming, even if the engine tries to crank it. Actually, this is where the smell of burnt rubber comes from.

Damaged belt

To solve the problem, you just need to remove the belt and reinstall it. This action will make sure that it is well aligned. But if there are signs of wear or obvious damage, you will have to replace it.

Pump overheated

Its main purpose is to ensure that water is drained from the system through a pipe. As a rule, it is located closer to the back of the device. The location of the drain pipe is a clear indicator of where the pump is located on a particular washing machine.

By itself, draining the water is easy. However, some problems can make it difficult and cause the drain pump to work at full capacity. The case may be a blockage, which creates obstacles for draining the fluid. And also in a non-working water supply valve. If any such problem occurs, the pump will continue to operate until overheating occurs. And then just the smell of burnt rubber will appear.

In this situation, it is not overheating itself, it is only one of the symptoms of the problem. Determining the root cause and troubleshooting the water valve is required. Be sure to check the system for blockages that interfere with the full drainage of water.

Drain pump failure

Coupling worn out

In some units, a direct drive motor is installed instead of a motor with a belt element. The clutch is made of rubber and is the point where the engine connects to the gearbox. The rubber will absorb the torque that the engine creates. And he, in turn, is connected to the clutch.

After prolonged use, the clutch is subject to wear. In this situation, rubber parts will not be able to hold the drive forks in one place. As a result, they simply begin to slip and provoke excessive friction. It is not surprising that as a result, the user will feel the smell of burnt rubber.

Due to the wear of the drive motor coupling, it needs to be replaced in a timely manner. This process is aimed at removing the drive motor so that its coupling can be accessed.

Coupling worn out

Drive motor overheated

Its main function is to ensure the rotation of the drum. And also in the generation of power, which is subsequently transferred to rotation. This can happen in two ways.

  1. Through a belt with which the engine is connected to the drum.
  2. Through the clutch directly (this applies to washing machines equipped with direct drive).

Motors installed on modern washing machines can change the direction of the laundry inside. They overheat if the device is constantly overloaded. When there are many items in the drum, the system is forced to exert maximum effort so that the drum continues its rotation until the end of the wash cycle. The drive motor eventually overheats and emits an unpleasant odor similar to that of burnt rubber. Also, the engine may be faulty and need to be repaired. If it is not implemented, it will consume a lot of energy and overheat greatly.

Drive motor overheated

Assuming that the drive motor is still in excellent working condition, the level of load on the washing machine should be reduced. Be sure to read the instructions for using the system in order to understand what is the maximum load and how much the unit can withstand. If the engine has been worn out or broken, it requires a complete replacement.

Front loading washer

Cover touching the drum door while rotating

It is immediately worth noting that the door casing is a rubber-based gasket. During the operation of the device, it rotates around the door part and is needed to prevent water from splashing out of the system when the drum rotates. Even when the system is running at an impressive speed, this mechanism remains stable due to the bearings. And if they break, the drum ceases to be stable and sways with any rotation. As a result, friction forms between it and the rubber seal. This is what causes the smell of burnt rubber.

Door gasket is not the main cause of the problem, but only a secondary symptom. First you have to replace the bearings that are worn out. If the door gasket is damaged, it must also be replaced later.

Drain pump overheated

Drain pump overheated

As noted earlier, the main function of the drain pump is to help remove all the water and push it out with a hose designed for draining. Immediately after turning on this mechanism, the shutdown will occur only after all the water has left. If there is a blockage or problem with the inlet valve, the pump will continue to run. Consequently, it will overheat and produce a smell of burnt rubber.

The solution to the problem depends on what exactly provoked the continuous operation of the drainage pump. The problem-solving process must begin with the water inlet valve. After that, you can look for all sorts of blockages. If the problem is with the drain pump itself, it needs to be replaced.

New hoses are used

Each time they are connected, the owner of household appliances may smell a strange smell. It is probably the new hoses that have just been removed from the package. It is important to make sure that it is in this, and not in the mechanism of the washing machine itself. This is necessary, first of all, for the safety of the user himself.

To understand that the smell really comes from a new water hose or from something else, you must:

  • set the washing machine to fill with hot water;
  • stop it before the start of the washing cycle, that is, the rotation of the drum;
  • if there is a smell only when filling with hot water, it’s because of the new hoses, because the wash has not yet started, and the engine with the pump is not working, so they cannot be sources of smell;
  • If the smell comes out only at start-up, this indicates a breakdown of the motor or pump.

Worn or overheated drum bearings

Its rotation is carried out at a decent speed and on metal rings, which are called bearings. At the same time, stability and smoothness are maintained. Over time, these parts wear out, so the movements are no longer smooth. As the motor continues to rotate the drum, excess friction causes the bearings to overheat and produce a burning smell. To correct the situation, the bearings need to be replaced. Removing them is easy, although access can be problematic. You may have to disassemble the entire washing machine to do this.

Worn or overheated drum bearings


Can a washing machine start a fire?
There is such a possibility, but it is extremely low. Regardless of the risk of overheating and burning the pump or motor, the generated heat will not be enough to start a fire. But if the owner of the device still smells the smell of burnt rubber, it is recommended to turn off the device to prevent damage to internal components.


Could the washing machine be overloaded?
Yes, a burning smell can form if the washing machine is heavily loaded. After all, the engine and belt work to the maximum, which will lead to their overheating. Along with this, worn out elements can also cause this problem.


Why does a new washing machine smell like burnt rubber?
It arrived at the user’s home sealed and no ventilation was provided. Therefore, the smell could not dissipate. Most often, it comes from water and drain hoses, which are just made of rubber. In addition to this aroma, some other odors, such as plastic, may also appear. You just need to wait for time, and they will fade naturally.