Troubleshooting Washing Machine When It Smells Like Burning

A washing machine is one of the most essential and day-to-day home appliances. Our daily routine depends heavily on whether the washer is working or not. Sometimes it could break, just like any other appliance. If this happens, we are left with piles of dirty clothes and a tough choice – either repair it or buy a new one. However, luckily for any washer owner, it is possible to fix the machine in most cases.
One of the topical problems you might encounter with a washing machine is a burning smell that is coming from it. Here is a simple guide on how to troubleshoot your washer yourself. By following these steps, you might fix the problem quickly and efficiently.

Required Tools

To troubleshoot your washer, you will need a minimum of tools. The only things you will require are:

  • a flathead screwdriver
  • a 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • a pair of work gloves to be protected from the electricity
pliers and screwdriver

Drive or Spin Belt

If you are an owner of a top-load washer, then the problem might lie in a damaged belt. Get access to the belts by unscrewing the panels and inspect them carefully. Try to visually identify any kind of damage, rips, or wearing. A damaged belt could be the source of burning smell or unusual noise while the machine is running.


Pump Belt

This is a belt involved in the draining system functioning. Look for the signs of wear on this belt in case you can smell burning rubber. Replace this part with a new one if needed.

Pump Belts

Broken Drive Belts

A drive belt is a part that helps a washer tub to spin. Sometimes, if it becomes loose, it can rub against other parts resulting in damaged sections and burning smell. Check the model of your appliance and replace the belt with a fitting new one.o continuity.

Drive Belt

Motor Pulley

This is an important part, which functions together with the belts. It is often made of metal. This means that this part can become rusty over time, which can damage the belt even further. It is not enough to simply replace the damaged belt – always check the pulley as well.

Main Drive Pulley

Drain Pump

Sometimes the drain pump can get clutched, which results in an unusual burning smell. The motor malfunctioning might be also the case. Before buying a new pump, inspect the old one and see whether anything is obstructing it from moving properly.


Idler Pulley Wheel

In some of top-loading washers, there is an idler pulley that can start malfunctioning. Sometimes it stops applying the correct weight to the belts, which wears them off and creates the smell of burning. Replace this part, if needed.

Direct Drive Motor Coupling

Even with the motor running normally, the coupling might start wearing off as time passes. In case you see that the tub is not spinning freely anymore, this means that the coupling might need a replacement.

Direct Drive Motor Coupling

Idler Pulley Arm

In some cases, an idler arm might stop turning easily as it should. The belt will start wearing off because of the uneven tension applied to it all the time. You can buy a new replacement part if the arm is malfunctioning.

Idler Pulley Arm

Clutch Assembly

This assembly is what moves the tub during the spin cycle. You can understand that the clutch is worn out if there is a burning smell when the machine is spinning. It will also produce an unusual scratching noise. Be careful of being electrocuted while working with this assembly.

Clutch Assembly

Glide and Spring

You can find this part in some washing machines under the motor. Examine the spring for the signs of stretching. If the glides are not greased enough, you can grease them up for better work. Replace the damaged parts if there are any.


Drive Motor

If the motor is overheating, it can produce a burning smell. Sometimes it will result in a shutdown of the motor. If it does not turn properly, you might have to replace it with a brand new one.

a drive motor

Burning Smell from the Plug

In some cases, the machine is not at fault. The plugs and cables can create this smell too. Carefully inspect the cables and the plug for the signs of damage and replace them if necessary. Do not forget to turn off the electricity and wear protective gloves.

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