Collapsing building © Daniel Friedman Washing Machine Oil Leaks
Causes of & repairs for oil leaks at clothes washers

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Washing machine leak repairs:

This article describes the causes, diagnosis & repair of oil leaks at washing machines. We discuss where oil may be coming from if it shows up on clothes after washing or on the floor under or around the washing machine.

The article describes typical repairs at washing machine drums, baskets, and transmissions.

Links are included to related appliance diagnostic and repair procedures.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

How to Diagnose & Repair Washing Machine Oil or Grease Leaks

Washing machine oil leak on floor found by moving the machine (C) Daniel FriedmanReader Question - Pete said: [1/29/2014, originally posted at x]

My ejector pump went out and the basin was filled with oily water. Why? Where did that oil come from? The broken pump? which I replaced. Could my washing machine water which drains into the basin, have oil in it? Could that mean my washing machine is about to break down? Where did that oil come from?

Reply: common oil leak points at clothes washing machines

I'm guessing that the pump motor failed and you are seeing pump lubricants in the basin.

Certainly a washing machine motor and transmission also contain oil.

Photo at left: a floor stain behind a washing machine. Feel this stain: if it's greasy the washer has an oil leak that needs to be diagnosed and repaired.

[Click to enlarge any image]

[If your washer is leaking water, not oil, see WASHING MACHINE LEAKS]

We've seen oil inside the cabinet or even on the floor beneath a failed washing machine. But how oil from components that are below the washer tub (the tub bearing, pump or transmission) enters the washer tub and from there would be pumped to a drain is more interesting.

A bad seal on a top loading or front loading washing machine tub may allow bearing lubricant into the washing water. I've seen this show up as surprising new black or dark brown stains on clothes that have ploveed through a wash cycle.

A washing machine "hub and seal kit" can often repair this problem that may also show up as squeaks and squeals when the washer is running.

Conversely, I think that most transmission oil leaks (from a washing machine) drip to the space below the appliance. On some washer transmissions such as Whirlpool, there are two transmission seals, a top transmission cover seal and an input shaft seal - both of which can be replaced.

At below left we show a different washing machine leak problem: water leak stains on the under-side of subflooring beneath a washing machine that was leaking from a supply hose. At below right is an example of a sewage ejector pump where one might detect oil or grease from a leaky washing machine.

Typical home sewage grinder pump Typical home sewage grinder pump

Some washing machine transmissions have a fitting through which transmission oil can be added, but doing so without fixing the transmission oil leak would be pointless IMHO.

Replacing an entire washing machine transmission is possible (I've done it in the past) but the cost can be about half the cost of a new machine.

If you are not a do-it-yourself'er (or maybe even if you are) you may still be able to diagnose this problem far enough to decide whether or not to call an appliance repair person.

Look at the floor beneath your washing machine, look inside the washing machine body at the upper surface of its bottom floor (more trouble), and look in the washer as well as on clothes that went through the washer for signs of oil or grease stains.

Since we're talking about your sewage ejector pump basin (photo above), keep in mind that any oil source in the building would end up there. But the washing machine is a good start.

Keep us posted.

Clothes Dryer Fire Hazard Warning

Rooftop clothes dryer vent (C) Daniel Friedman

Watch out: as well while you are checking your clothes washing system, take a look at your CLOTHES DRYER VENTING instllation too: you want to be sure that system is safe as well.

A leaky washer transmission may stain clothes or leak onto the floor but an unsafe clothes dryer vent can set the building on fire.

Reader Question: oil leak at washing machine: how much does it cost to repair a washing machine transmission?

2 August 2015 Lucy said:
My washer is 19 yrs old. I just detected a brown ,greasy material under one side of washer .Is it worth repair or should I purchase new?

Reply: confirm that the washing machine transmission is shot, then consider replacing the washer: repair cost vs new washing machine cost

Washing machine direct drive transmission - InspectApedia.comLucy,

If the brown goop is from a leaking washing machine transmission the typical repair cost is a bit steep - typically around $500 USD for parts and labor, enough that I'd consider replacing an almost 20-year-old washer.

You'll see that the transmission part alone may be a bit under $200. but an expert repair will typically replace a few other parts to give a more reliable overall repair job. That plus labor is how we estimate around $500. for a new direct-drive washing machine transmission replacement job.

Shown at left, a Whirlpool® washing machine direct drive transmission replacement unit for sale at in 2015 at a price of about $130. USD.

You could buy a new Frigidaire washing machine for about $550. or a new Samsung washing machine at for under $650. making those choices appealing.

Before deciding to buy a new washer, take a closer look inside the machine you have. That will involve getting some help (as the machine may be a bit heavy) to disconnect the washer and move it to a spot where it can be opened from its back or bottom access panel. Take a look at the transmission that drives the machine to confirm that oil is leaking from the transmission.

You'll see a silver colored cast or casing that is typically below the center of the washing machine tub. If that component is oozing oil it should probably be replaced. Or it's time for a new washing machine, as we discussed above.


Continue reading at WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see WASHING MACHINE OIL LEAK FAQs - questions and answers about oil leaks from clothes washers, posted originally on this page.

Or see these

Washing Machine Diagnosis & Repair Articles

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