How to Repair an Off-Balance Washing Machine

Updated February 21, 2017

An off-balance washing machine can cause several problems. A lack of balance can keep a washing machine form agitating, or cause it to spin out of control, or make banging noises. Fortunately, you can fix this problem yourself instead of waiting for an expensive service call. Your washing machine may be off balance because the laundry is unevenly distributed throughout the basket, the machine itself is not level to the floor, or laundry is caught under the washing machine basket.

Look for uneven distribution in the washing machine basket. When you launder heavy items, such as towels or jeans, the items must be placed evenly in the basket to distribute the weight load. Even if the laundry is properly loaded into the machine, the laundry can move around during agitation, throwing off the balance.

Redistribute the laundry evenly in the basket. Consider removing some items entirely to be washed in a later load.

Restart the washing machine to see if balance has been restored.

Place a levelling tool on top of the machine to verify that it is level in relation to the floor.

Adjust the washing machine's legs or place wood shims underneath the machine until the levelling tool indicates that the machine is level.

Restart the washing machine to see if the problem has been fixed. If the machine remains off balance, remove the basket to retrieve any laundry caught underneath it.

Lift or pry off the top of the agitator, exposing the stud and seal that hold the agitator in place. Remove the stud and seal, using a socket wrench with extension.

Lift the agitator straight up out of the washing machine. If your agitator comes in two parts, remove both parts.

Remove the splash guard that rests around the top of the tub by opening the tabs, or prying off the metal clips that hold it in place with a screwdriver.

Remove the locknut in the centre column of the tub (where the agitator rests) with a spanner wrench or hammer and drift punch. Be careful not to hit the basket with the hammer.

Lift the basket straight up and out of the washing machine.

Retrieve any laundry that was caught under the basket.

Reassemble the washing machine. Restart it to verify that the problem has been fixed.


Unplug your washing machine and turn off the water supply before performing repairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Levelling tool
  • Wood shims
  • Socket wrench with extension
  • Screwdriver
  • Safety goggles
  • Safety gloves
  • Hammer
  • Drift punch
  • Spanner wrench
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About the Author

Jen Anderson has been writing professionally since 2008. Her work has appeared in the "New York Times," "Time Out Chicago" and "The Villager." She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Brooklyn College.