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Why Does My Dryer Sound Like a Helicopter?

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In this comprehensive guide, we will explore why your dryer might sound like a helicopter, the potential causes, and the steps you can take to fix the problem. From worn-out drum rollers to a faulty blower wheel, several issues could be causing this unusual noise. So, let’s delve in and find out more.


Your dryer might sound like a helicopter due to several reasons, including worn-out drum rollers and axles, a damaged drive belt, a blocked or unbalanced blower wheel, a broken idler pulley or tensioner, worn drum bearings, a damaged motor, or loose parts. These issues cause abnormal noises ranging from squeaking to thumping. It’s advisable to diagnose the problem or hire a professional to fix it, as ignoring it can lead to further damage.

Identifying Normal Vs. Abnormal Dryer Sounds

Firstly, it’s crucial to distinguish between normal and abnormal dryer sounds. A low humming, an initial squeak when turning on, light thumping as clothes tumble, and a steady low hum indicating the motor’s normal function are all typical sounds a dryer makes.

However, persistent squeaking, constant screeching or chirping, and a loud humming sound louder than typical dryer function are abnormal sounds and may indicate a malfunction.

Common Causes of a Noisy Dryer

Several issues could cause your dryer to sound like a helicopter. Here are some of the most common culprits:

  • Worn-out drum rollers and axles: These support the dryer drum as it turns. When they become damaged, they can cause squeaky or thumping noises.
  • Damaged drive belt: This is part of the pulley system that rotates the dryer drum. If it’s worn out or broken, it can cause a loud thumping noise.
  • Blocked or unbalanced blower wheel: This circulates air in the dryer drum and removes moisture. If it becomes unbalanced, loose, or blocked, it can cause abnormal noises.
  • Broken idler pulley or tensioner: A screeching noise when turning on the dryer may be caused by a broken idler pulley or tensioner.
  • Worn drum rollers: A squealing or thumping noise may indicate one or more drum rollers have worn flat, broken, or are binding.
  • Damaged motor: A humming noise that is louder than usual could be a sign that the dryer’s motor is starting to fail.
  • Loose parts: A rattling sound may indicate that something has become loose inside the machine.

Diagnosing and Fixing the Noises

If you’re comfortable with basic appliance troubleshooting, you can follow these steps to diagnose and potentially fix the issue:

  1. Identify the noise type: Determine if the noise is grinding, squeaking, thumping, or rattling. This will help you narrow down the possible causes.
  2. Check the drum rollers and axles: Inspect these for wear and damage, and replace them if necessary.
  3. Inspect the drive belt: Check it for signs of wear or damage, and replace it if needed.
  4. Examine the blower wheel: If it’s damaged or obstructed, it can cause grinding or squeaking noises. Clean or replace it as necessary.
  5. Ensure the dryer is level: An unbalanced dryer can cause the drum to rotate unevenly, creating noise. Use a spirit level to check if the dryer is level and adjust the feet accordingly.
  6. Inspect the drum bearing: Some dryers use a bearing to support the back of the drum, and a worn bearing can cause squeaking or squealing noises. Check the bearing for wear and replace it if necessary.
  7. Examine the motor: A defective motor can produce rattling noises due to a loose pulley or a high-pitched noise from a bad bearing or bushing. Test the motor with a multi-meter and replace it if needed.

If you’re unable to diagnose the issue or feel uncomfortable performing these checks, it’s best to call a professional technician to inspect and repair your dryer. Using a dryer with defective parts can worsen the problem and potentially damage the appliance further.


In conclusion, a dryer that sounds like a helicopter can be caused by several issues, most of which involve worn-out or damaged components. Addressing these issues promptly can help keep your dryer running efficiently and prolong its lifespan. If you’re unsure about any aspect of the process, don’t hesitate to call a professional to ensure the job is done correctly and safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I inspect my dryer for potential issues?

It’s recommended to inspect your dryer at least once a year for potential issues. However, if you start noticing abnormal noises, you should inspect it immediately to prevent further damage.

Can a noisy dryer pose a safety risk?

Yes, a noisy dryer can pose a safety risk. If the issue causing the noise is not addressed promptly, it could lead to a more serious problem such as a fire. That’s why it’s important to diagnose and fix any issues as soon as possible.

Can I lubricate the dryer’s drum rollers to reduce noise?

Lubricating the dryer’s drum rollers can sometimes reduce noise if the rollers are not damaged. However, this is only a temporary solution, and the rollers should be replaced if they are worn out or damaged.

How much does it cost to replace the dryer’s motor?

The cost to replace a dryer’s motor can vary greatly depending on the model and the region you live in. On average, it can cost between $150 to $400. It’s advisable to get a quote from a professional technician for a more accurate estimate.

Is it worth repairing an old dryer or should I just replace it?

Whether to repair or replace an old dryer depends on several factors like the age and condition of the dryer, the cost of the repairs, and the cost of a new dryer. If the repair cost is more than half the cost of a new dryer, it’s usually more economical to replace it. However, if the dryer is less than 10 years old and the repair is relatively minor, it might be worth fixing.

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