What are shipping bolts on a washing machine?

What are shipping bolts on a washing machine
Shipping bolts
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Shipping bolts are a set of 4 bolts attached from the rear of a front load washing machine to hold the tub or drum in place during shipping.

During washing your drum rotates and performs other circular movements that causes the clothes to spin.

To perform this motion, the drum is set on a spring and a set of four levers that acts like shock absorber, and prevents the entire machine from moving along.

However when a drum is moved from one location to another, or during shipping, the motion of vehicles unleveld roads, portholes, or even when shipping across the ocean, can cause the drum to role and spin.

This has the potential of damaging the drum during shipping.

To prevent damage of washing machine drums during shipping, manufacturers attached a set of four holes at the rear of washing machines.

Bolt are inserted through these holes to hold the drum to the washer’s outer bold, and prevent it from moving during transportation.

When are shipping bolts not needed?

What are shipping bolts on a washing machine
Goods transportation

Washing machines do not need shipping bolts to function. As mentioned earlier, they are only needed during transportation or shipping, hence the name: shipping bolts.

They are not needed when after washing machine is installed.

In fact, leaving it attached can cause problem to the washer.

A point of note is this: it is the duty of a user to remove the bolts before installation, not the manufacturer.

However many users are either not aware of it, does not know that it should be removed or does not know how to install it.

This results in many home owners installing a washing with it’s shipping bolts attached.

What happens if you don’t remove the shipping bolts

What are shipping bolts on a washing machine

Washing machine drums are built to rotate or spin very fast. Some models can go as far as 1800rpm (rotations per minute).

That is a crazy amount of speed there. If you put that on an open road, you can compare it to the speed of a motor bike.

The drum is design to perform this tasks with moving the entire machine along.

This is the very work that bolts are built to prevent.

If you don’t remove the bolts before operation, it causes the entire washing machine to vibrate violently and bounce, as the drum’s motion is transfered to the entire washing machine.

This is the biggest cause of excessive washing machine vibrations.

Also many washing machines with vibration caused by shipping bolts also have issue with leakages.

The vibrations causes gaps in the door seal which, in turn, can causes leakage. 

Usually removing the bolts fix the water leakage issue.

How to remove shipping bolts

What are shipping bolts on a washing machine

To remove shippping bolts, you need;

  1. Space
  2. Bolts spanner


After installation, there is usually very little space at the rear of a washing machine.

This is because most washers are installed against a wall.

Therefore to remove a shipping bolt, you need to do so, before installation.

This gives you ample space to access all 4 bolts at all four corner of the back of a washing machine.

It also makes removing it easy.

Bolt spanner

To remove a bolt, you need a bolt spanner or a pincher.

Many washing machines comes with 12 – 13mm bolts or 9/16 or 7/16 bolts.

So you need a spanner of the rating to remove them.

Some manufacturers attach this spanner to the washing machine packaging during shipping.

If yours doesn’t, you will need to get one yourself.

This is a task that require some strength, but with less technical know-how.

So if you have the instrument needed, just go ahead and remove them yourself.

If not, you can call a technician, or a male neighbour.

Do all new washers have shipping bolts attached?

What are shipping bolts on a washing machine

All washing machines leave the factory with the shipping bolts attached.

So except you’re buying a used washing machines, you should check for and remove the attached bolts.

These bolts should be kept in a safe place and you’ll need them should you have a need to move your washer to another location, or you’re resourcing it to a new buyer.

What if I forgot to remove the shipping bolts

What are shipping bolts on a washing machine

Removing shipping bolts is not optional. It is a must, if you want the washer to do what it’s made for.

But if you forget to remove it, and it causes the washer to bounce around during operation, all you need to do is 

  1. Turn off the washer from the wall electric socket.
  2. Locate it’s bolt spanner. Or get one from other sources.
  3. Pull the washer away from the wall, to get enough space at the rear.
  4. Remove all bolts by attaching the spanner to the bolt head and turning it counterclockwise.

One this is done, your washer should be fine. Assuming no damage has been done already.


Never use a spanner different from the bolt size, even if it is only a little bigger in size.

This can cause bolt cap to wear-out.  And make it more difficult to unscrew when the right size spanner is eventually used.


It is your duty as a washing machine user to ensure that the shipping bolts are removed before usage.

Faults resulting from failing to do so, is not always covered by waranty.

So act smart, always ensure the remolts are removed before your first use.

If the installation, is done in your absence, you can verify from the technician that it has been removed before.

Another option is to point a light touch at the rear and see whether you can see the spanner or the hold it was removed from. It is usually conspicious and can be easily seen if still intact.

Always keep the detached bolts in a safe place, as it will be useful when next there is a need to move the washing machine.

As with many things in life, shipping bolts are a major part of our appliance.

We don’t need it to operate the machine. But without it, a washer might not function when we eventually need to use it.

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