How to repair an unbalanced washing machine

Updated February 21, 2017

An unbalanced washing machine can cause many problems. The washing machine may not agitate, may spin out of control or may make banging noises. Your washing machine may be unbalanced because the load of laundry is unevenly distributed throughout the basket, the machine itself is not level or clothes have caught under the washing machine basket.

Check to see if the load of laundry is unbalanced. When you wash heavy items, such as jeans or towels, you must evenly place the items in the basket to distribute the weight. The laundry may move around during agitation, throwing off this balance.

Redistribute the load evenly in the basket.

Restart the laundry cycle to see if the problem has been fixed.

Verify that the machine is level by placing a levelling tool on top of it.

Adjust the legs or place wood shims underneath the machine until it becomes level.

Restart the laundry cycle to see if the problem has been fixed. If the washing machine remains unbalanced, then you must remove the basket to remove any clothes caught underneath it.

Lift or pry off the top of the agitator.

Remove the stud and seal at the top of the agitator using a socket wrench with extension.

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

Detach the splash guard from the top of the tub by opening the tabs or prying off the metal clips with a screwdriver.

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

Lift the basket straight up carefully.

Remove any clothes caught under the basket.

Reassemble the washing machine by reversing the above steps. Restart the spin cycle to verify that the problem has been fixed.


Put on safety goggles and gloves when removing the locknut in the centre column of the washing machine.

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.