Why Is My Sewing Making A Clunking Noise: Reasons And Solutions!

Some of the prominent causes of clunking noise in the sewing machine include a full bobbin case, poor thread tension, and incorrect tension settings. Also,  worn-out gears, and improperly threaded needles can cause this issue. Regular maintenance, proper lubrication, and using the correct bobbin type are essential for preventing clunking noises. 

So, it is necessary to identify why is my sewing making a clunking noise. To have a clear knowledge about this clunking issue go through the whole article.

20 Reasons Why Is Your Sewing Machine Making a Clunking Noise!

There are a lot of issues, that could happen if your sewing machine is making a clunking noise. The most prominent 20 reasons and their solution to solve clunking noise is highlighted below.

The bobbin case could be full of lintLack of regular maintenance can cause bobbin tension to loosenClean the machine and remove lint from under the needle plate and bobbin area
Poor thread tensionThe tension is set incorrectlyDo a tension check and adjust the tension as needed
The tension is set incorrectlyMismatched tension, Improper threadingAdjust the tension dial, re-thread the machine.
Worn-out gearsFaulty componentsReplace the worn-out gears
Thread not properly threadedIncorrect threading of the machine or using incorrect needlesProperly thread the machine and check for any broken or improperly placed needles
The bobbin winder might be engagedN/ADisengage the bobbin winder
The needle is bentBent needleReplace the bent needle
Gears need additional oilLack of lubricationOil the machine regularly
Lack of lubricationPoor lubricationOil the machine regularly
Internal gear problem (new)Faulty componentsConsult the owner’s manual or a professional for repair
A dull, or damaged needleDull or damaged needleReplace the needle
The needle plate may be looseLoose needle plateTighten the needle plate screws
The hook timing might be offHook timing issueConsult the owner’s manual or a professional for repair
Using the incorrect bobbinIncorrect bobbinUse the correct bobbin for the machine
Incorrectly inserted needleNeedle inserted incorrectlyInsert the needle correctly
Tangled threadN/ARemove the tangled thread and re-thread the machine
Dirty or damaged feed dogsDirty or damaged feed dogsClean or replace the feed dogs
Loose screws and boltsLoose screws and boltsTighten the loose screws and bolts
Something is caught in the sewing machineSomething caught in the machineConsult the owner’s manual or a professional for repair
The sewing machine is not oiledLack of lubricationOil the machine regularly
The bobbin area is dirtyLint build-upClean the bobbin area and remove any lint build-up

The Bobbin Case Could Be Full Of Lint:

If your sewing machine is making a clunking noise, it could be because the bobbin case is full of lint. Lint can build up in the bobbin case and cause the machine to make strange noises.

You can clean out the bobbin case by removing the bobbin and using a small brush to remove the lint. Clean the area around the bobbin case to ensure no lint build-up.

Poor Thread Tension:

If the thread tension is too loose or uneven, the thread may tangle and get caught in the machine’s mechanisms. It will result in a clunking noise as the machine attempts to sew with the tangled thread. 

Additionally, improper threading through the take-up lever can cause the thread to be inadequately tensioned. It leads to erratic movement and a clunking sound. Furthermore, a loose needle plate can cause the needle to hit it while sewing.

To resolve these issues, it is essential to address poor thread tension promptly. As it can prevent further damage to the sewing machine and ensure smooth and quiet operation.

The Tension is Set Incorrectly:

The most likely cause of a clunking noise is that the tension setting on your sewing machine is set incorrectly. Tension is the amount of pressure that a sewing machine applies to fabric to keep it in place while being sewn. 

The tension needs to be set correctly for the type of fabric you are using (see below). You can adjust your machine’s tension manually or automatically, depending on its make and model.

If you are not sure how to set your machine’s tension, refer to its instruction manual or watch our video tutorial on How To Adjust the Sewing Machine Tension

Worn-Out Gears: 

A sewing machine making a clunking noise can be attributed to worn-out gears, which can occur due to various reasons. Firstly, poorly lubricated sewing machine parts can cause gears to rub together instead of moving smoothly. It leads to premature wear and knocking noise. 

Regular oiling and maintenance can help prevent this issue. Additionally, an internal gear problem, resulting from wear and tear over time, can also cause knocking noises. Moreover, misaligned gears can rub against each other and create a clunking noise. It can happen due to improper use or manufacturing defects. 

To prevent further damage and ensure smooth and quiet operation, it is crucial to address worn-out gears promptly. Regular maintenance and proper use of the sewing machine can help prevent this issue from occurring.

Thread Not Properly Threaded: 

Improper threading of the sewing machine can lead to a clunking noise. Firstly, if the thread is not correctly threaded through the take-up lever, it can result in erratic thread movement. It will cause a clunking sound. 

Secondly, a poorly inserted or lint-filled bobbin case can cause the thread to tangle and produce a clunking noise. Additionally, incorrect tension settings, such as a too-tight top tension or too-loose bottom tension, can lead to thread tangling and clunking noises. 

To prevent further damage and ensure smooth and quiet operation, it is essential to ensure proper threading of the sewing machine. Double-checking the threading and tension settings can help resolve this issue effectively.

The Bobbin Winder Might Be Engaged:

The bobbin winder is a small device on your sewing machine that helps to wind thread onto your bobbin. It will make a clicking noise when engaged as it winds the thread.

 If you’re unsure if your bobbin winder is engaged, you can usually tell by looking at the needle. If the needle is not moving, then chances are, the bobbin winder is engaged.

 To fix this, disengage the bobbin winder by turning the knob or lever labeled “bobbin winder.” Once you do this, the clicking noise should stop, and your needle should start moving again.

 If you still need help, consult your sewing machine’s manual. It should have instructions on how to disengage the bobbin winder.

The Needle Is Bent:

  • The needle is bent. If the needle is bent, it may not be able to pierce through the fabric.
  • The needle is in the wrong position on the machine. Make sure that your sewing machine’s presser foot has been lowered and that you have threaded your hem under its guide before you start stitching.
  • The needle isn’t in a size appropriate for what you’re trying to sew. Most clothing garments require a small gauge, or size 10/75 (which stands for 10×1) needle, while heavier materials like canvas or denim require larger gauges like 14/90 (14×1). Check your manual if you’re unsure of which kind of stitch settings are right for what material type!
  • Your machine doesn’t contain any suitable needles at all you could have forgotten to load one into an accessible compartment before starting up! To use one with your current settings, simply turn off the power first then reload it onto any available slot within reachable distance from either yourself or whoever else might be helping out today!

Gears Need Additional Oil:

If your sewing machine starts making a clunking noise, it could indicate that the gears need additional oil. This problem is fairly easy to fix and only requires a few drops of oil.

Locate the gear making the noise and add a few drops of oil to it. You may need to do this a few times to get the gear running smoothly again.

If your sewing machine makes noise after oiling the gears, there may be a more serious problem. In this case, it is best to take the machine to a professional for diagnosis and repair.

Lack of Lubrication: 

The lack of lubrication in a sewing machine can lead to a clunking noise, and it can happen due to several reasons. Firstly, when essential parts are not properly lubricated, they can rub against each other. It can cause friction and noise similar to a vehicle engine.

Secondly, insufficient lubrication can result in increased wear and tear on the machine’s components, such as gears and moving parts. It leads to a clunking noise as these parts become worn out. 

To avoid this issue, regular maintenance and lubrication following the manufacturer’s guidelines are important for proper sewing machine functioning.

Internal Gear Problem: 

One of the reasons a sewing machine makes a clunking noise is an internal gear problem. Poorly lubricated parts and worn or damaged gears can lead to this issue. In some cases, a manufacturing defect may also cause the gears to not mesh properly.

Regular maintenance, including proper lubrication, can help prevent internal gear problems and reduce clunking noises in the sewing machine. If experiencing such issues, it is essential to consult a professional for proper diagnosis and repair.

A Dull, Or Damaged needle:

A bent, dull, or damaged needle is one of the most common causes of sewing machine problems. If your needle is bent, dull, or damaged, it can cause your machine to make a clunking noise.

You may also notice that your stitches should be more straight. Sometimes, a bent needle can also cause your machine to skip stitches.

 If you think your needle may be the problem, you should check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if there is a recommended replacement schedule.

If not, replacing your needle every few months is generally a good idea to ensure it is in good condition.

When replacing your needle, select your machine’s correct size and type. If you need more clarification, consult your sewing machine manual or a sewing machine dealer.

Once you have a new needle, thread it correctly and tension it properly before seeding.

The Needle Plate May Be Loose:

The needle plate may be loose if your sewing machine makes a clunking noise. The needle plate is the flat piece of metal (or plastic on some models) that the needle penetrates when you’re sewing. 

 A loose needle plate can cause all sorts of problems with your sewing, including making a clunking noise. If the needle plate is loose, it can cause the needle to hit the plate and break, or it can cause the needle to skip stitches. 

Luckily, it’s relatively easy to fix a loose needle plate. First, you’ll need to locate the screws holding the needle plate. On most machines, there will be two screws on each side of the plate.

someone threading the sewing needle

Once you’ve located the screws, use a screwdriver to tighten them. Be careful not to over-tighten the screws, as this can strip the threads and make it difficult to remove the plate in the future. 

With the screws tightened, the needle plate should be secure, and the clunking noise should be gone. If you’re still having problems, the problem may be with the tension discs or the feed dogs.

The Hook Timing Might Be Off:

If your sewing machine is making a clunking noise, it’s possible that the hook timing is off. This can happen if the machine is jarred or bumped, causing the hook to become misaligned.

You must adjust the hook timing to get the machine running smoothly again.

Adjusting the hook timing is relatively simple but should be done carefully. First, you’ll need to locate the hook timing adjustment screw.

This is usually located near the hook assembly. Once you’ve found it, turn the screw clockwise or counterclockwise until the hook is properly aligned.

Consult your sewing machine’s manual if you need help adjusting the hook timing. If you don’t have the manual, you can usually find it online.

Once you’ve adjusted the hook timing, your sewing machine should run smoothly and without any noise.

Using The Incorrect Bobbin:

You’re likely using the incorrect bobbin if you hear a clunking noise from your sewing machine. Each type of sewing machine has its type of bobbin, so it’s important to use the right one for your machine.

If you need help determining what type of bobbin your machine uses, consult your manual or the manufacturer’s website.

someone sewing

Using the incorrect bobbin can cause problems, including jamming, poor stitch quality, and uneven tension. In some cases, it can even damage your sewing machine.

So, if you hear a clunking noise from your machine, check that you’re using the correct bobbin.

Incorrectly Inserted Needle:

One of the most common sewing machine problems is an incorrectly inserted needle. If your needle is not properly inserted, it can cause many problems, including a clunking noise.

There are two ways to insert a needle into your sewing machine properly. The first is to insert the needle, so the flat side faces the back.

The second is to insert the needle, so the flat side faces the front.

sharpening sewing needle

If you insert the needle incorrectly, it can cause the needle to hit the hook, resulting in a clunking noise. Additionally, an incorrectly inserted needle can also cause the needle to break.

 To avoid these problems, properly insert the needle into your sewing machine. Consult your sewing machine manual if you need help inserting the needle.

Tangled Thread:

If you’re sewing machine is making a clunking noise, it’s likely due to a tangled thread. When the thread becomes tangled, it can cause the needle to skip stitches or even break.

There are a few things you can do to prevent your thread from becoming tangled in the first place:

  • Ensure you’re using the correct type of thread for your sewing machine.
  • Always thread the needle before you start sewing.
  • Be sure to tension the thread correctly.

Dirty or Damaged Feed Dogs:

Feed dogs are the metal teeth that move the fabric through the machine as you sew. Over time, they can become clogged with lint or thread or bent or damaged. Which can cause clunking noise in the sewing machine

If your feed dogs are clogged, use a soft brush to remove the lint and thread. If they’re bent or damaged, you’ll need to take your machine to a sewing machine repair shop to have them fixed or replaced.

Loose Screws and Bolts:

Another possible reason for clunking noise could be because of loose screws and bolts. This is a very common problem and usually an easy fix.

woman sewing

First, check all of the screws and bolts on your sewing machine. If any of them are loose, tighten them up. If you can’t find the noise source, take your machine to a sewing machine repair shop.

They can help you figure out what’s wrong and fix it.

Something Is Caught in The Sewing Machine

When a sewing machine makes a clunking noise, it could be due to something getting caught in the machine. The potential reason for this issue includes a bent needle, and faulty components in the sewing machine. 

Also, lack of lubrication causes grinding between moving parts, or thread and needle-related problems can cause this noise issue. 

To address this problem, it is essential to refer to the owner’s manual for specific instructions on fixing the sewing machine. Regular maintenance, such as oiling the machine and replacing worn-out components, can help reduce noise and ensure smooth operation.

The Sewing Machine Needs to Be Oiled:

The first step to solving a clunking sound is to ensure that the needle is running smoothly along its track. The easiest way to do this is to apply some sewing machine oil and run it through your machine until you no longer hear any clunking noises.

If you’re not sure where to begin, your owner’s manual will have instructions for lubricating your machine, but here are a few more general tips:

  • Apply a small amount of sewing machine oil onto a paper towel or rag just enough so that it lightly coats the surface of the paper towel or rag.
  • Put down an old cloth on top of an old white tablecloth (or something similar). This will make cleaning up easier if any oil drips while you’re working with it.
  • Using cotton swabs or Q-Tips dipped in warm water gently wipe off excess dirt from around moving parts like gears, motors, and other mechanical parts inside the cabinet before applying oil.

The Bobbin Area Needs Cleaning:

If your sewing machine is making a clunking noise, you may need to clean the bobbin area of the machine. The first step in doing so is to remove the bobbin case cover plate by removing the two screws on either side of it, and then lifting up on it. 

Next, remove any lint or dust inside this area by using a lightly dampened cloth and wiping down any surfaces that have collected debris over time. Once this step has been completed, replace all components with new ones if necessary and reassemble before continuing with normal sewing tasks. 

Clunks can also come from other areas on your sewing machine like its motor or gears so if you don’t see anything wrong in these other areas when attempting to troubleshoot them then look elsewhere for answers!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why Is My Sewing Machine Rattling?

Your sewing machine may be rattling due to incorrect upper thread threading. When the upper thread is not threaded properly and cannot be firmly pulled up through the fabric. it can become tangled in the bobbin case, resulting in a rattling noise

How Tight Should Bobbin Tension Be?

The recommended bobbin tension range is 18 to 22 grams, and for embroidering caps, it can be set up to 25 grams. Keeping the bobbin tension within this range helps achieve optimal embroidery quality and prevents thread-related issues during the stitching process.

Why Is My Top Stitch Looping?

Looped stitches in your top stitch can be a result of improper tension settings. the loop can appear on the upper side of the fabric. At this moment you can try fixing it by either loosening the top tension or tightening the lower tension.

How Do You Fix A Tension Top Stitch?

To correct a tight top tension in your stitch, turn the tension knob so that the numbers decrease. Begin by trying a ½ to 1 number lower setting and then test the stitches on a piece of scrap fabric. Keep adjusting the tension lower until the stitches appear even on both sides, and the needle thread is no longer visible on the wrong side of the fabric. 


Now it will be easy to understand why is my sewing making a clunking noise.

From a misaligned bobbin case to a broken gear, it’s essential to troubleshoot the issue to prevent further damage to your machine.

By understanding the main causes outlined in this blog post, you can diagnose and resolve the problem quickly.

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