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My Frigidaire Washing Machine Has a Burning Smell

Christie Gross

A washing machine should never give off a burning smell. If you smell a burning stench coming from your Frigidaire washing machine, cut the power to the washing machine from its main power source until you can troubleshoot the problem and deal with it. Several components will produce a burning smell when they wear, including a belt, motor or a frayed wire. Continuing to operate the washing machine in spite of the burning smell can cause further damage to the washer.


A slipping or severed belt will produce a burned rubber smell. A belt supports the drum and ensures its smooth movement. If it wears, the drum’s movements weaken and finally come to an abrupt halt. In addition, a slipped or severed belt usually produces a burned rubber smell. Refer to the Frigidaire washing machine manual to review how to locate the belt. If the belt is no longer around the drum’s center, shift the belt back to its original position. If rubber fibers are discernible or cracks are apparent, change out the worn belt for a new one.

Drive Motor

The drive motor turns the belt, which rotates the drum. It runs near continuously when your Frigidaire washing machine is operating -- turning one way during agitation and the other when the washer drains and spins. If the motor starts to go bad, it creates an unpleasant odor until it eventually burns out and shuts down. Contact a washer repair person with experience servicing Frigidaire washing machines to inspect the motor. Depending on the damage and age of the washing machine, he may recommend that you either replace the motor or purchase a new washer.

Electrical Wiring

Make sure that your Frigidaire washing machine’s electrical connections aren’t frayed or haven’t short circuited. Inspect the washer’s power cord for signs of damage. A frayed power cord could cause the electrical outlet to short circuit and emit a burning smell. If no damage is found, assess the electrical outlet. If the outlet has grayed, a wire may have burned out inside. Contact a qualified electrician to test the electrical outlet’s continuity, and make necessary repairs. You may also want to call a washer repair person to confirm the washing machine hasn’t sustained damage from the faulty electrical outlet or power cord.

Agitator and Transmission Spline

If you discover that your Frigidaire washing machine isn’t agitating correctly and smells like it's burning, the transmission spline in the center of the agitator has failed. The friction that’s created as the agitator continues but fails to grip the moving transmission spline is what can produce the odor. Contact a Frigidaire washing repair person to evaluate the problem. He will likely suggest that you either replace the transmission spline or agitator, and possibly both if each component is broken.