Washing machine smells like burning rubber in spin cycle. Help!

Washing machine smells like burning rubber in spin cycle [Recommended fixes]

There are a couple of ways we can tell when our washing machines have an issue..

One of the most common is the machine emitting a bad smell when you’re doing your laundry at the end of a busy week.

Now, we already looked at what to do if your washer smells like mildew (You can read the article here).

So we shall be looking at your options if your washing machine smells like burning rubber in spin cycle (what it means, possible remedies, and how to prevent the problem from recurring in the future).

Let’s dive in.


Washing machine smells like burning rubber in spin cycle – what it means and how to troubleshoot your washer

So, what does it mean if your  washing machine smells like burning rubber when spinning?

Well, as you may have guessed, that burning rubber smell is not a good sign.


Because it likely indicates that your washing machine is having problems.

Below are the most probable faults, leading to the burning spell(sometimes it smells like burning wax)  at some point during the spin cycle.

Pro-Tip: Always turn off your washer immediately after you smell the burning odor – it could save your appliance from serious damage or possible accidents.


Problematic belt

Let me explain:

You see, there’s a rubber belt in belt-driven machines (it’s a big one so you’ll easily notice it) around your washer’s motor.

This belt then goes around the agitator (it loops around it) to make the agitator start to spin around (during cleaning).

Here’s is what happens now:

If your washer is having too many clothes, this belt will be under extreme stress so it tends to slip(and start to wear due to the resulting friction)…this is one spot where the burning rubber smell can begin.

Suggested fix

Try to reload the washer and see if the occasionally noxious smells will go away.

Keep in mind that you may have to swap out the entire rubber belt drive (if it is too worn).

Check current washing machine belt replacement cost.

It’s also not super difficult to replace the belt, if that is worrying you.

And below is a helpful YouTube video showing you how to do that step-by-step

Of course, you want to be putting smaller loads going forward.

Pro-Tip: Inspect your washer’s pulley wheel as well as the arm for signs of seizure or difficult pivoting (for the arm)- switch them if so because these problems could be behind the washer’s belt slippage/friction, which in turn makes the belt overheat, and emit a burning odor.

Needless to say, not all washers have belts obviously so the question of the belt slipping might not apply to you(you could own a belt-less washer).

So here are the other possible culprits…


The drive motor might be overheating itself

If you accidentally overloaded your washer, the motor (the motor is usually found where the agitator is –on the side- of agitator) could be under excessive stress.

This can make it overheat, hence the burning odor.

Did you know that too much overheating tends to ultimately make the motor stop functioning?

You can be nearly sure the motor is failing if you’re also hearing a sort of humming/buzzing noise out of the washer (the tub usually won’t spin/agitate) when the motor goes bad.


Suggested fix

You have two potential fixes here: loading the machine afresh then running it once more or accessing the motor and testing it for continuity..

There’s a significant probability you have a seized motor if there’s no continuity, meaning you could need a new motor.


The drain pump is blocked/obstructed

Another mishap that can make a washing machine smells like burning rubber in spin cycle is an obstructed/blocked drain pump.

I will expound a little:

When debris or anything foreign obstructs/clogs the drain pump(there’s a debris filter to filter out debris/particles when the washer is draining), the drain pump impellers won’t spin smoothly every time a spin cycle starts..

The result (sometimes) is your washing machine generating a rubber-like burning smell

Suggested fix

Try to clean the drain pump filter to remove the obstruction.

Otherwise, your best bet might be to change out the pump (order on Amazon), if it appears damaged.


Blocked drain pump motor 

Still on the drain pump, another reason why your washer could start to smell like burning rubber when spinning (or immediately after completing the spin cycle) is a seized drain pump motor.

You see, if the motor drain pump gets stuck for whatever reason, it struggles to turn.

And because it keeps attempting to rotate during spin cycles, you will smell some sort of a burning odor due to the resultant friction(as parts rub together).

So my next guess is that there’s an issue with your washer’s drain pump motor if there’s a burning rubber odor coming from your washer.

So, what are your options?

Well, because it is not an expensive part (see prices), it is perhaps best to swap it out.


Washing machine smells like burning rubber in spin cycle – final repair you may consider

Lastly, check if the drum suspension springs are badly worn out -they all need replacing too because when they are worn, they make the drum oscillate, leading to a lot of strain on your drive belt. 


Front load washer smells like mildew [What to do!]

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