What Can I Use to Lubricate My Dryer Ball Bearing?
A ball bearing or rear drum bearing is a support apparatus found on certain clothes dryers. Its primary function is to support the drum while it tumbles clothes. Over time it can wear and cause the dryer to make a squeaking sound. Although it's probably better to replace rather than to repair a ball bearing, you can sometimes lubricate it to quiet the dryer in the short term.
Depending on your dryer model, the ball bearing can either have a ball-and-socket or a shaft inside a sleeve type of joint. Both are prone to wear with excessive dryer use. They are typically located at the back of most dryers surrounded by grease that enables them to turn along with the drum. The ball bearing enables the dryer's drum to rotate in a uniform, circular motion inside the cabinet.
Indicators of Wear
When a ball bearing's lubrication disappears, it's common to hear a squeaking or squealing noise from the dryer. It might initially occur periodically but eventually becomes louder and more persistent if you don't lubricate the component right away. The longer you ignore the problem, the worse the damage. Ultimately, the component's metal wears down and metal shavings appear in the drum. You might also notice that the drum dips down in the back and creates a gap between the drum and cabinet where clothing gets trapped.
You can only lubricate the dryer's ball bearing successfully when you first start to hear the squeaking noise. The longer you wait, the less likely that lubricating the component will stop the noise. Review your dryer's user guide to find the ball bearing on your dryer. It will most likely require that you remove the dryer's main access panel to view the entire drum. Once you locate the ball bearing, cover the entire component in high temperature grease made for use on dryers. It either comes as part of a ball bearing replacement part kit or is sold separately at retailers that also sell dryers.
If you disassemble your dryer and find that the ball bearing is badly damaged, lubricating it won't fix it. The component will continue to wear even if it temporarily stops squeaking and could possibly cause further damage to your dryer. Repair Clinic recommends that you replace rather than repair a defective ball bearing for this reason. Contact a dryer repair technician to evaluate the component and recommend the right solution to fix it.