Washing machine smells like burning rubber: main troubleshooting

A well-maintained washing machine usually emits only pleasant aromas of traditional detergents. If it pulls with burnt rubber, then this signal indicates a malfunction of the unit. It usually smells like this when the drain pump overheats or the drum touches the door gasket at high speed.

The main reasons for the appearance of a repulsive odor are different for household appliances with a vertical and front-loading types. The first ones overheat due to drive motor breakdowns, wear of its clutch, or weakening of the belt. The latter suffers from problems with door gaskets or drum bearings.

Causes of odor

The main causes of unpleasant odors are related to the type of construction of the model. Therefore, it is necessary to consider in detail the options for malfunctioning equipment with a frontal or vertical type of loading.

Causes of odor burnt rubber

Top-loading washing machines

Clamping or loosening the engine belt

The motor of the unit is not always connected directly to the drum. Sometimes 2 its main parts are tied together with a belt.

When the wash cycle starts, the motor turns on and turns the belt. It drives the drum, as a result of which the laundry inside it begins to spin.

The belt passes through a system of pulleys and tensioners. It must be aligned and have sufficient potential to ensure the full functioning of the household appliance. Errors during the installation of the part lead to its weakening or the ability to jam when interacting with the engine. Then there is the smell of burnt rubber.

To fix the problem, you need to remove and reinstall the belt, checking the degree of its alignment.

Clamping or loosening the engine belt

If there are signs of wear or damage to the part, a new one should be installed.

Drain pump overheating

This component of the mechanism is located near the back of the washing machine closer to the floor. Its main task is to remove water through the appropriate pipe.

It is not easy to completely drain it from the unit. A number of difficulties complicate the process and overload the drain pump.

The main problem, in this case, is blockages that prevent the removal of water. Another reason may be a malfunction of the supply valve when it constantly enters even when trying to drain it.

Drain pump

With any of these malfunctions, the pump operates with an increased load, leading to overheating. This results in the smell of burnt rubber.

It must be taken into account that in this case, overheating of the part is a consequence, not a cause. To identify it, it is necessary to eliminate the malfunction of the inlet valve or the blockage that prevents the complete drainage of water from the machine.

Worn drive motor coupling

Some units are equipped with a direct drive motor rather than the belt-driven motor described in the previous example.

The engine coupling is made of rubber and is designed to be the junction point of the motor and transmission. It absorbs the torque generated by the drive forks connected to the clutch.

Worn drive motor coupling

Household appliances with a long service life usually suffer from wear and tear. Then, when it rotates, the rubber parts of the part do not firmly hold the drive forks in place. The result is that they slip and create unnecessary friction. Therefore, there is a smell of burning rubber.

Due to wear on the drive motor coupling, the part should be replaced by removing the drive motor and gaining access to it.

Drive motor overheating

Such an element of the mechanism is responsible for the rotation of the drum. It contributes to the production of energy, transmitted in 2 main ways: through a belt connecting it and the engine, or directly through the clutch (a similar principle is used in direct drive devices). The motors of modern models during washing can change the direction of movement of things.

Overheating of the engine occurs when the equipment is regularly overloaded. If the drum is filled with a large number of clothes, the motor for rotating the drum until the end of the wash runs at maximum power. If this happens too often, it will overheat and start to smell like burnt rubber.

Drive motor problems

The second option is due to the fact that the engine is broken and consumes too much energy. This overload also leads to rapid overheating.

When troubleshooting issues, you must complete the following tasks:

  1. If the drive motor is serviceable and has not worked out its resource, you need to reduce the load on the machine.
  2. If it is broken or has been used for too long, it should be replaced.
  3. Owners of household appliances need to refer to their operating instructions more often to determine the maximum load.

Front loading devices

Touching the door seal (shroud) while rotating the drum

This part is made in the form of a rubber gasket that rotates around the door section of the washing machine. It is used to prevent accidental splashing of water when rotating the drum with the door closed.

If it spins at high speed, its stability is ensured by the presence of bearings. But in those cases when they fail, the drum ceases to be stable and sways too much during operation. As a result, it rubs against the rubber door seal, which provokes the mentioned smell.

Gasket problems are also a consequence, not a cause. To eliminate the malfunction, it is necessary to change the old drum bearings. If the gasket is worn out, then it also needs to be updated.

Drain pump overheating

Drain pump overheating

As mentioned earlier, the drain pump is directly responsible for completely removing the used water from the washing machine, and pushing it through the drain hose.

In such a case, the pump is turned on no earlier than all the liquid is poured out.

If there is a blockage or malfunction in the inlet valve, it will continue to pass it, stimulating the continuation of the machine. As a result, it overheats and begins to smell like burnt rubber.

In this case, you need to find the reason for the continuity of the drainage pump. The process of troubleshooting should begin with checking the water inlet valve, and then looking for blockages.

If the drain pump malfunctions, it must be replaced.

Installing new water hoses

When a new hose is mounted to a household appliance, the mentioned smell is often felt. Usually, it is issued by new parts. But in any case, the owner of the equipment should check their condition and check the correct operation in order to know that they are to blame, and not other details.

To determine the source of the odor when installing a new water hose:

  1. The washing machine must be set to fill with hot water.
  2. Before starting a new cycle and rotating the drum, it is urgent to stop the operation of the unit.
  3. If the smell is felt only when it is filled with hot water, then new hoses are to blame. Since the cycle has not yet started, the motor and pump are not running and cannot cause problems.
  4. If burnt rubber pulls only when starting a household appliance, then its motor is overheated or the machine itself is too worn out.

Worn and overheated drum bearings

When washing, the drums of the unit rotate at exceptionally high speeds. Their revolutions are stimulated by metal rings, which are a variant of bearings. They contribute to maintaining smoothness and stability of movement even at very high speeds.

Main drum bearing wear

Over time, these parts develop a certain service life. Then the metal rings stop rotating smoothly. The motor continues to turn the drum and therefore excessive friction occurs, provoking overheating of the bearings and the appearance of a burning smell.

To fix the problem, you need to change them. It is very easy to extract such details, it is more difficult to access them. To do this, you need to disassemble the equipment and find them in its mechanism.


Are there cases when the washing machine causes fires?
This probability is practically reduced to zero. The motor, pump and other parts of the unit sometimes overheat and even burn out. But the heat emanating from them is often too little to cause a fire.
But even with a slight smell of burnt rubber, when using household appliances with any service life, you must immediately turn them off. Timely measures will prevent significant damage to parts of the equipment.

Is it possible that the washing machine emits a burning smell?
Sometimes it happens that an overloaded unit becomes the source of such a smell. If you put laundry in it, then the motor and its belt will function with great difficulty and, as a result, overheat. Then it will pull with rubber.
The wear of the parts supporting the drum, which include bearings, can also lead to their combustion under excessive load.

In what cases can a new household appliance give off rubber?
From the newly acquired equipment comes a huge variety of different smells, including this one.
When shipped from the factory, the washing machine is sealed tightly in an unventilated box. As a result of its long storage, odors accumulate and completely dissipate only during subsequent stay in a well-ventilated room.
Also, water and drain hoses made of the appropriate material are often given with rubber.