Can You Lay a Washer on Its Side When Moving?

Washing machines are heavy, and the best way to move one is on a dolly. Manufacturers don't recommend laying one on its side when moving it, and professional movers try to avoid this, but sometimes there is no other way to get it through a door or down the stairs. If you must lay a top- or front-loading machine on its side, you should reinstall the shipping bolts or shipping rod that came with it when it was new. If you don't have these, you can order them from an appliance outlet or from the manufacturer.

Undesirable Consequences

Laying your washer on its side isn't an absolute proscription -- you may have to do just that when you prepare one for mounting on a pedestal. Even during this simple procedure, though, manufacturers recommend installing the shipping bolts or shipping rod. The bolts -- which come with front-loading units -- secure the inner tub, which is suspended inside the outer one by springs. The rod, which comes with some top-loading models -- wedges the agitator tub against the top of the chassis so it can't move. Without the bolts or rod:

  • Tubs can strike each other or against the chassis, and something may get bent.
  • Springs may distend or fall off.

The result is noise and vibrations -- or worse -- when using the appliance.

Even when you install the bolts or rod, it may be a bad idea to lay your front-loading washing machine on its side if it has direct-drive gears that are filled with transmission fluid. The fluid can leak, and replacing it isn't always easy -- you may have to rebuild the transmission. If this is a possibility, you should be able to find a relevant warning in the owner's manual or on the manufacturer's website.

The Bottom Line

Reinstall the shipping bolts or rod before moving your washing machine up or down stairs or to another house. That way, if you have to lay it on its side to get it through a door, you won't risk damaging it.