Dryer Making Loud Screeching Noise and Burning Smell

Is your dryer squeaking in loud, unbearable noise and producing a burning smell? It’s important to take action right away. Screeching sounds and a burning smell could indicate that the dryer’s motor is overheating and may soon fail or cause a fire.

dryer making loud screeching noise

A dryer making a loud screeching noise with a burning smell could be due to stiff idler and motor pulleys, failing ball bearings, worn-out drive belts, or damaged drive motors. Solutions include replacing worn-out parts and performing regular maintenance on your dryer.

This article will cover the causes of a squeaking dryer with a burning smell and how to fix and prevent it from happening again.

Kenmore Elite Oasis Dryer Squeaking

Your Kenmore elite oasis dryer squeaking may be caused by regular wear and tear of its components, such as the pulleys or the drive belt. To fix the squeaking noise, you must assess the individual parts of your dryer, replace worn-out parts, and clean any components that have accumulated grime. 

1. Worn-Out Pulleys

Two essential kinds of pulleys facilitate the dryer drum’s rotation; idler and drive pulleys. To understand how these pulleys can produce noise, we need to understand how each works. 

Idler pulleys transfer rotation from one component to another, i.e., the drive pulley to the drum. Idler pulleys also provide tension that holds and rotates the drum with power delivered by the drive belt. On the other hand, drive pulleys attach to the motor and transfer the rotating force from the motor to the dryer drum.

Both types of pulleys are attached to the unit through axles (shafts), which hold them in place as they rotate. A sleeve or roller bearing system lines the contact between pulleys and axles.

After months of use, gunk and lint accumulate on the axle’s surface. This buildup restricts the pulley’s free movement. Additionally, the ball-bearing system may fail after years of use.

How To Fix

To fix issues with Kenmore elite oasis dryer squeaking, you must fix the immobile pulleys. 

Start with assessing their flexibility. Normally, a pulley should rotate easily when turned by hand. If it does not rotate, here’s what you need to do. 

  1. Turn off the power to the unit.
  2. Dismantle the unit following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Take out any electrical connections with care.
  4. Remove the snap ring holding the pulley in place.
  5. Next, remove the pulley.
  6. Clean the axle by wiping it clean.
  7. Install a new pulley.

While replacing damaged pulleys, replace them in sets. This ensures that other old pulleys do not fail and cause noises and a burning smell any time soon.

2. Worn Out Drive Belt

The motor drive belt in a dryer helps to rotate the drum. The drum is what the clothes are placed in, and it needs to spin for the clothes to dry. The motor drive belt is made of rubber, with “teeth” or ridges on the inside that grip the drum and cause it to rotate. 

Over time, the motor drive belt can become stretched or damaged and must be replaced. A damaged drive belt slips and rubs against the rotating drum, causing a burning smell.

How To Fix

A damaged dryer belt will need to be replaced with a new belt.

  1. First, unplug the dryer and remove the front panel
  2. Then, remove the drum by lifting it up and out of the dryer. 
  3. Next, locate the motor and pulley system, usually at the back of the unit, behind the drum. 
  4. Remove the old belt from the pulleys and then thread the new belt around them. 
  5. Once the new belt is in place, replace the drum and front panel.

Plug in your dryer and test it out to ensure it is running properly.

3. Damaged Motor

The huge motor at the unit’s base is responsible for turning the drum that tumbles the clothes while they dry. 

A damaged dryer motor can cause the dryer to stop working altogether, or it may simply run less efficiently, resulting in longer drying times. In some cases, a damaged motor may also cause the dryer to overheat, posing a fire hazard.

Over time, the motor bearings can wear down, causing them to grind against each other. The grinding can generate heat and cause damage to the motor. If you suspect that the problem is with the motor bearings, you will need to replace the motor. 

How To Fix

Suppose you suspect that your Kenmore elite oasis dryer squeaking is because its motor is damaged. In that case, it is important to have it inspected by a qualified appliance repair technician as soon as possible. 

A technician can determine if the motor needs to be repaired or replaced and can make the necessary repairs to get your dryer up and running again.

Note: A certified technician should do all electrical replacements. Only attempt DIY electrical repairs if you’re well-versed in similar projects.

Related Posts:

4. Lint Buildup

Though lint buildup in a dryer may seem purely aesthetic, it can lead to some serious problems. 

A burning smell indicates lint has built up in the lint screen. Lint is highly flammable. Often, it is the first thing that catches on fire in residential fires caused by dryers.

Lint can accumulate in the exhaust vent and internal parts, such as the motor. This buildup can create friction when the machine runs, resulting in squeaking and squealing noises alongside a burning smell. 

How To Fix

To avoid problems caused by lint buildup, cleaning the lint trap after every load of laundry is important. In addition, you should clean the vent every month. 

To clean your dryer and prevent buildup,

  1. Start by removing the lint screen and cleaning it with warm, soapy water
  2. Then, vacuum around the dryer’s drum to remove any loose lint. 
  3. Next, use a dryer brush or a vacuum attachment to reach any lint trapped in the exhaust ducts
  4. Once you have removed as much lint as possible, clean the dryer’s interior with a damp cloth.


A Kenmore elite oasis dryer squeaking and producing a burning smell can be alarming, but simple maintenance steps can fix these issues easily.

Clean out any lint buildup inside the appliance, inspect for damage or excessive wear on internal components, and ensure all belts are properly tensioned. If you need help fixing the problem, call a qualified appliance repair technician.