A Burning Smell During the Spin Cycle in the Kenmore Stacked Washer


Although a burning smell from your Kenmore stacked washer might seem odd, it’s not entirely uncommon during the spin cycle when the washtub is spinning quickly. However, there are occasions when a burning smell could mean that a part is malfunctioning. Knowing what potential problems to look for could help you discern normal behavior from a more serious issue.

Routine Function

  • The belt that spins your Kenmore stacked washer can produce a slight burnt rubber smell at the final phase of the spin cycle when the spin speed ratchets up even higher. An odor is generally more noticeable when washing larger laundry loads, which make the washtub heavier and require greater effort from the belt to make the tub spin. For the most part, the smell is usually weak and dissipates once the spin cycle ends. Unless the smell becomes stronger with each wash load or is also accompanied by strange often high-pitched noises, disregard the burning odor as a routine part of operating your washer.


  • A more intense burnt rubber smell typically indicates that the rubber belt could be melting due to wear and excess washer use. This is especially the case if the smell is preceded by loud, high-pitched sounds emanating from your stacked washer when it spins. Open the stacked washer from its rear panel and inspect the thick, rubber belt at the middle of the washtub’s exterior for damage. If the belt’s fibers are raised or sections of the rubber are splintering, replace the belt.

Motor Coupler

  • The motor coupler is part of the direct drive system on certain newer Kenmore stacked washer models that use a motor coupler disk to turn the washtub as opposed to a belt used on older models. It’s a relatively fragile component that is subject to break over time. Although a broken motor coupler usually won’t cause a burning odor, if a new one was recently installed improperly, the poor installation could result in a burning smell. A coupler must be fitting in between the motor and transmission, so that both components are aligned. Otherwise, friction could occur when the washer transitions to the spin cycle. Contact Kenmore to have a technician perform a thorough inspection of the washer’s direct drive system and make adjustments that might be needed.


  • A burned-out motor could produce a burning smell on a Kenmore stacked washer. The motor propels the belt to spin the washtub. Observe the washer during the spin cycle to see whether or not its spinning is also weakened or abnormal. Also, listen to hear the motor’s hum; a fainting hum or a squeal instead of a hum indicate that the motor is bad. Contact Kenmore to have the washer serviced.

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