The simplest way to know if the bearings are gone in a washing machine is to listen for it to rumble when it spins. Although this is not a definitive rule, this is a surefire way to know if something is wrong.
Generally, when a washer runs, it is supposed to make a quiet humming noise, if any noise at all. However, if the washer starts bumping and making thumping noises as if something were alive inside of it, then usually the drum is misaligned. However, if the washing machine is making loud thumping noises and is whining or making any other unusual noise during the spin cycle, this can point towards bearings being worn down or gone.
Quick ways to check for worn bearings include:
- Check the drum movements
- Spin the drum
- Replace the bearings
Check to see if the inner drum of the washing machine moves severely independently of the outer drum. If it moves up and down more than a few millimeters independently, then the bearings are probably badly worn or gone.
Spinning the drum can also help determine if bearings are worn or gone, as the spinning should produce the same noise as it does on spin cycle.
Bearing repair kits and pieces can easily be purchased at local repair stores if the bearings need to be replaced, and replacing washing machine bearings is not too difficult for those good with their hands.