Noise Troubleshooting: Why is My Sewing Machine Squeaking

They say that a squeaky wheel gets all the grease and it is true. Even when it comes to sewing machines. The squeaky noise means something is off with your machine and you need to take care of it right away before it gets worse.

Why is my sewing machine squeaking? The most common solution to a squeaky sewing machine is oil. A little oil goes a long way to quieting your sewing area down so you can concentrate on what you are doing.

To learn more about fixing the different noises your sewing machine can make just continue to read our article. There are other reasons than a lack of oil that makes a sewing machine squeak or make noise.

What Noise Does a Sewing Machine Make?

The sewing machine will make a variety of noises depending on what is wrong with the machine. Here are some common causes other than the lack of oil, that creates noise in your sewing machine:

  • 1. Bobbin case full of lint - when the lint builds up in this area you can hear a nice knocking noise. That is because the lint is blocking the bobbin hook or needle from working correctly
  • 2. Engaged bobbin winder - this issue is another source for a knocking noise. This is an issue that can happen more with older sewing machines and involves an inner wheel
  • 3. A needle is bent, dull or broken - even new needles can produce the clicking sound you hear. That is because they come with flaws straight from the manufacturer. If your needle is bent or dull, etc., it will make a knocking noise as well.
  • 4. Needle plate screw is loose - this also produces a knocking noise and all you need to do is tighten the screw back up to end that annoying sound.
  • 5. Tangled thread - this issue can have your sewing machine make a grinding noise. Just untangle the thread or remove the tangle by cutting it out.
  • 6. Bad step motor - when the motor area is full of lint it may make a whistling sound. A good cleaning should take care of this problem.
  • 7. Unbalanced machine - this situation will cause your sewing machine to make a variety of sounds. You can try putting a towel underneath but it is easier to find the problem and level your sewing machine.

Sewing Machine Noise Levels


To start each different sound your sewing machine will come in at different decibels. Some are nice and loud while others are quieter and more subtle. If they go on for the long term then you might suffer a little hearing damage so it is best to shut your machine down when you first hear the noise.

The sewing machine motor is a different story altogether. They are designed to work at safe sound levels so you can sew a long time without worrying about your hearing. On average you can expect the sewing machine motor to produce noise between 65 and 85 decibels depending on the model of the machine.

One of the ways to keep the sound levels down is to avoid sewing at full speed. The faster you go the more noise and the higher the level of that noise. Another way is to make sure your sewing machine is oiled regularly.

Lubrication will help keep the noise down.

Singer Sewing Machine Squeaking


Sometimes sewing machines act like cars. When you are driving along the road you begin to hear a squeak but when you take it to the shop the squeak mysteriously disappears.

That can happen to sewing machines as well. You hear the squeak yet repairman does not and cannot find where the supposed squeak is coming from. Yet when this noise takes place it is usually a metal part rubbing on another metal part.

The intermittent sound just tells you that it is not bad at the moment and won't be bad until the noise never stops. When this takes place it may be a long time before you can find the source.

There are a lot of metal parts to check out before you find the two that are rubbing together. If you hear the squeaking after you stop the sewing machine then it is not a metal on metal i=]problem and you would need a repairman to help you find the source as it may be a major problem.

Brother Sewing Machine Squeaking


When a Brother sewing machine starts to squeak you have several sources to choose from before being able to fix the machine. First, the sound could be coming from a lack of lubrication. This is always the first thought for any repairman.

Second, the cause may be coming from too much lint in the rotary hook area. Clean out the lint and you should be good to go. Finally, the upper thread may have been threaded wrong.

The solution to the final cause is to simply re-thread your machine. One thing about squeaks they do not usually happen in major parts. The simplest item could cause a sewing machine to squeak.

Create a checklist to use to help you find the cause before taking your machine to the repairman. The checklist will save you money and time.

Kenmore Sewing Machine Squeaking


This model of sewing machines will have the same issues when it comes to squeaking as other sewing machines. The first step is to double-check when you last oiled the machine.

If it has been a while then you should re-oil it and that may take care of the problem. Make sure to use real sewing machine ilk only. There is some debate as to how long this oil lasts so double check to see if your is still good or not.

The next step if oiling is not the issue is to look at how clean your machine is. Dirty areas in moving parts sections will cause squeaking. The fix for this is as you know a thorough cleaning job removing all the junk you find.

There may be a problem in your treadle or presser foot but usually, a little oil will stop those squeaks unless something serious is wrong with those parts. The same goes for the handwheel, the squeak can be something simple to fix or it may be the belt. I which case you would need to replace the belt.

When trying to solve the squeaking issue in a Kenmore or other sewing machine be careful not to damage the good parts in the process.

Machine Making a Clunking Noise


When you hear this sound, it is possible that you failed to get the thread into the take-up lever while you were threading your machine. Like lubricating a squeak this is the first place you need to look.

While it is a simple problem to correct the reason for missing the take-up lever is that they may be hard to find. Some sewing machine models have them hidden behind the machine casing.

To find the take-up lever and thread correctly, raise your presser foot, put your needle in its highest position, clear the thread path and feel the thread move into the take-up lever.

You are going to need both hands to get this done right. Your right hand should be holding the thread near the spool while your left is holding the thread. You should be able to feel the thread move into its correct place.

Clicking Noise Bobbin


During those times you are not sewing and have a few free moments. You should make up a checklist of the different sounds you may hear and their causes. This checklist will help you track down the problem faster and clear it up without costing you a lot of time or money.

Once you have done that and you hear a clicking sound in your bobbin area that checklist will remind you to clean the bobbin area. The cleaning should stop the sound from continuing.

Other sources for the clicking noise could be from a loose bobbin. It was not inserted properly so it is bouncing all over the place. Then there may be a problem with the timing. Bad timing will also produce a clicking noise during your sewing time.

Finally, you need to check the go-to issue and see if the bobbin area needs a little oil. A lack of lubrication can also cause the bobbin to click when the machine is running. If you have done all of that and clicking continues, check your needle to see if it was inserted properly or take your machine to a qualified repairman.

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Sewing Machine Making a Banging Noise


The most simple source of this problem is that your sewing machine may not be level. When the machine is not sitting right it can create a banging noise due to the vibration of the working parts or the pull of the fabric and so on.

Check to make sure your sewing machine is on the level and not making any sudden moves. Plus, you can try to place a towel underneath your sewing machine as this will reduce the noise you hear by about 30%.

Another source may be as described earlier. The thread did not make it into the take-up lever and you have to pull your thread out and start re-threading the machine making sure you got the thread where it is supposed to go.

After checking that option, check your needle. They say that 80% of all sewing machine problems are caused by the needle being improperly inserted, bent or dull. Even new needles come with flaws and can contribute to this issue.

Don’t assume that new needles are flawless and are not the problem. You could have forgotten to insert it all the way up and it is banging on your machine.

Sewing Machine With a Grinding Noise


Like a lot of sewing machine problems, this one has several sources for the grinding noise. Even on a Brother sewing machine, there are multiple sources for this noise. They have a 20 step procedure to follow to help you get rid of that noise.

One of the sources mentioned is that your thread got tangled and you need to remove that tangle either by undoing it or cutting it out. Once that is done, you will have to clean your machine where the tangled thread used to be.

On a Janome sewing machine, the grinding noise may be coming from a little plastic part at the top rear of the machine. This is where the bobbin rests during the winding aspect of sewing.

There is a screw held in place by a nut. That nut may become loose and fall into your machine. When it does you will hear the grinding noise. Taking the Janome apart may take some time but the fix is simple.

Replace the nut, tighten it up and add a little glue to make sure this situation doesn’t happen again. All repairs do not need a repairman to get fixed.

Some Final Words

Sewing machines are like any other machine. When something is not working right, they will complain by making a lot of noise. The key is to be able to find the source quickly before your machine gets damaged any further.

A good checklist will help you track down the source and make the determination if you can fix it or need to take it to a repairman. As stated earlier there are 3 common sources for most noises.

One is a lack of lubrication. Two is the need for a good cleaning and three is the needle. Once you have cleared these sources you should start looking at other possibilities.

When you have a serious problem take it to your qualified repairman.

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