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When To Replace Washer Shock Absorber

So your washer started wobbling strangely during the wash cycle, and you're not sure why. Testing the appliance could help you figure out what's wrong. We have researched all about the ways you can successfully determine if the washer's shock absorber is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.

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You should replace your shock absorber when your washing machine vibrates more than usual or the drum is knocking loudly while spinning. This will allow the washing machine to perform its job efficiently and prevent other parts from getting damaged.

Without knowing what you are looking at, it can be difficult to determine whether shock absorber replacement is necessary. If the problem occurs outside of the machine's warranty period, the repair will come at a cost you didn't anticipate. Continue reading as we delve into some common causes of your washer doing a little “dance” and some possible solutions that you can do yourself.

Interior of laundry room with a washing machine on bright teal wall, When To Replace Washer Shock Absorber

Inspecting Washer Shock Absorbers

Shock absorbers, also known as the suspension arm or damper, are usually located between the outer tub and the base frame of the machine.

A service technician repairs a damaged washing machine

You can inspect the shock absorber for operability. To do this, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your washing machine before starting.
  2. Determine where the shock absorbers are. To access it, you may need to remove the front or rear panel, depending on the model of your washing machine.
  3. Inspect the shock absorbers for the following signs:
  • Detached absorbers - The damper connection can become unhooked when a washer spins during the wash cycle. Your machine's uneven feet could be to blame. You may notice that one end of a shock absorber has come loose and detached when you open up your washer's panel. Vibrations may occur as a result of this. 

Reattaching your shock absorbers and leveling your machine's feet is usually enough to fix this problem.

  • Leaking fluids - Examine your shock absorber to see if it is leaking oil or covered in it. Your damper is no longer functional if this is the case. The vibrations of each spin cycle are heavily absorbed by a shock absorber that uses lubricant fluid. The shock absorber can no longer transfer force into the fluid if there is a leak. This indicates that the part needs to be replaced.
  • Broken shock absorbers - Shock absorbers can fail for various reasons. This is more common with older machines. It's also possible that the washer's uneven feet or other impacts are to blame. 

Examine your absorber for any visible broken or missing parts. If you encounter this, you’ll almost certainly need to replace the absorbers. It is preferable to purchase new shock absorbers from the same model and manufacturer. 

If your local parts store does not have the required replacements, you can search for them online. In the most extreme case, if these parts are longer available. Consult with the manufacturer for a suitable shock absorber replacement. This will save you time and effort should the parts you purchase not function with your machine.

How do you know if your washing machine shock absorbers are bad? 

Full length of handyman checking washing machine with flashlight in kitchen

The tub in your washing machine is stabilized by shock absorbers. You'll hear loud banging sounds and notice that it excessively shakes or vibrates loudly during the spin cycle if these shock absorbers are damaged or worn out. The shock absorbers will need to be replaced if this is the case. Other parts of your washing machine may be damaged if the shock absorbers are neglected.

How long do washing machine shock absorbers last?

A forum post on Modern Automatic Washers says that with good maintenance, shock absorbers will last between 15 to 20 years. Here are tips to make your shock absorber last longer: 

1. Don't Overload

There is a suggested load limit on every washing machine as determined by the size of the drum. When loading the machine, don't go beyond its weight limit. If you do, not only will it clean less efficiently, but it can also damage other components. 

2. Level The Machine

A washing machine that is not level to the surface will cause it to move. Aside from that, when the machine is in cycle operation, the combination of the unbalance, vibration, and spinning of the tub can cause excessive movement and may also damage the machine.

The problem can be amplified if your washer is on a pedestal. Top-loading washers level themselves automatically. You can re-level a top-loading washer by tipping it forward and then placing it back on the floor if something has shifted. Front-loading washers level themselves by raising or lowering a leg.

How To Replace A Washer Shock Absorber

Shock absorber for washing machine and household appliances

Replacing the washing machine's shock absorbers can be a simple task if you're a handyman. A suitable screwdriver, adjustable wrench, hammer, and a strong desire to save money on repairs are all you need to carry out these procedures:

Detaching An Old Shock Absorber

  1. Unplug the washing machine’s power supply.
  2. To detach either of the front two shocks, tilt the washer back and place two 2/4" timber blocks under the front panel of your washing machine to keep it elevated slightly so you can access the screws.
  3. Remove the screws holding the front panel in place with your screwdriver and pull the panel out.
  4. You now have access to both front shocks attached to the base of the machine with a locking pin. This pin has a little lock tab on its side, and you need to press the tab and tap the pin completely out of its socket.
  5. Pull the base of the shock out of the bracket with the use of an adjustable wrench—just turn that upper proportion 90 degrees till it pops out of the opening.

Attaching A New Shock Absorber

  1. Position the part and put the arrowhead fitting up through the slotted opening.
  2. Make sure that the wrench is on the narrow dimension on the upper portion of the part rather than the wide dimension because if you put it onto the wide pad, you will actually damage the top.
  3. Slide it into the opening while applying upward pressure to the part.
  4. Turn it 90 degrees to lock it in place and pull the bottom part of the shock absorber down into the bottom mounting bracket until it lines up.
  5. Push the pin into the opening by hand until it lines up, or gently tap it in with a soft-faced hammer.

Repeat this process on the other side of the front panel. It is also the same process for removing and replacing the rear shock absorbers.

Here's a YouTube video that demonstrates the steps to replace the washer shock absorber:

Washing Machine Shock Absorber Repair Cost

Male hand holding dollar in washing machine. Money laundering

The moment your washing machine runs and it shakes or vibrates loudly, this indicates a problem with the shock absorber. When the machine switches to the spin cycle, this part, also known as a strut, prevents the clothing from crashing against the frame.

It is always better to repair both shocks at once when repairing the unit, especially as your washing machine shock absorbers' professional repair cost will range from $100 to $300.

However, if your washing machine is over a decade old, costs a few thousand dollars new, or runs on natural gas, your washing machine repair costs for the shock absorber can quickly go higher. 

But if you are confident to replace them by yourself, carefully follow the instructions for your specific model. With this, you will buy shock absorbers that cost you less than $100 for 4 pieces. 

Click here to see this washer shock absorber replacement on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Interior of laundry room with a washing machine on bright teal wall

Important! Any malfunction with the shock absorbers must be resolved as soon as possible. Remember, once your washer vibrates or wobbles and is too noisy during a spin cycle, it's time to replace the shock absorbers.

Operating a washing machine with signs of breakage is inadvisable as it can damage other components. If your machine is nearing the end of its life expectancy and requires constant repair, consider replacing it. 

Before you go, are you having any other issues with your washing machine? Check out more of our posts: 

Bosch Washing Machine Won’t Start—What To Do?

LG Washer Won’t Drain – What To Do?

Samsung Dryer Not Starting – What To Do?