A balance ring is an important element to a washing machine’s ability to spin a washtub uniformly and keep the wash load inside steady, so water doesn’t spill out of the washer when it runs. When a ring fails, a washer usually makes a loud knocking sound and vibrates strongly, because it cannot balance the tub properly. Fortunately, most ring replacements are relatively minor repairs to make.
Balance Ring Basics
Many Kenmore washing machines have balance rings at the top of their inner washtubs. The plastic rings are filled with water and saline and surround the tub. They help stabilize the washtub so it spins smoothly while adjusting for various laundry load sizes.
Signs of Problems
The washtub on a Kenmore washer with a damaged balance ring won’t spin properly. The tub might knock against the cabinet sides, creating a lot of noise, particularly during the agitation and spin cycles. The vibration caused by an unbalanced washtub could be enough to make your washer “walk across the floor” or move from position. If you continue to run your washer despite its faulty component, the washer could do harm to the adjacent dryer and walls as well as damage the floor under it.
Although a prone to wear, a balance ring could become damaged from overloading your washer or if an item gets caught on it. In certain cases, you might find pieces of plastic from the ring in the washtub after a cycle ends. In others, you might see part of the ring actually sticking out from the interior tub’s rim where it shouldn’t be visible. Regardless of how the ring broke, you'll need to replace it.
To obtain a new balance ring, contact Sears Parts Direct or another appliance parts retailer that sells Kenmore washer replacement parts. A new balance ring cost about $40 as of 2011, depending on the washer model you own, according to the website Manage My Life. Installation instructions usually accompany the part; if not, request them from Kenmore. Of course, if you’re not familiar with washing machines and prefer that a washer technician perform the repair, you could always call Kenmore to make a service appointment.