Sewing Machine Making Clicking Noises? (and What You Can Do About It)

why sewing machine makes clicking noise

When you’ve spent so much time creating things with your sewing machine, you really get to know the sound it should make when it’s operating properly. So when you hear your sewing machine making clicking noises, you know something’s wrong.

There are different things that can cause clicking noises when you are using a sewing machine, and you should check out the noise rather than ignore it and risk damage or operating problems.

Proper care and maintenance will keep your sewing machine running well. With regular attention to cleaning and troubleshooting, you can stay on top of the things that keep your machine from running properly. 

Adjustments, replacement parts, and cleaning, oiling, and lubricating are all part of keeping your machine out of the repair shop. 

Why Is Your Sewing Machine Making Clicking Noises?

Dust and Lint Accumulation

lint accumulation can cause clicking noise

If you hear clicking noises from your sewing machine, it may mean that lint or oil have accumulated on the needle bar or hook. Follow cleaning instructions from your machine manual to clean the hook and feed dog, and check to see if the machine needs to be oiled.

This is a good practice to follow with any problems you encounter with your sewing machine. Check to see if there are accumulations of dust, lint, or thread ends on any moving parts.

You can avoid a lot of operational problems with sewing machines by making it a habit to brush away lint and dust after each use.

Dust the bobbin case, around the feed dog, and under the needle plate. You can keep the cleaning brush that came with your model or a small soft paint brush, a pair of tweezers to remove thread or dust clots that don’t brush away easily. A can of pressurized air comes in handy as well.

If you don’t keep up with regular cleaning this way to remove thread and cloth particles, they may get soaked with lubricant and/or oil and become gummy.

This is a more serious accumulation of debris that will require more in-depth maintenance than simple dusting. It’s well worth it to get into good cleaning and maintenance habits rather than let things go.

Needle Damage

bent sewing machine needle

A noisy sewing machine can be a sign of needle damage. If you’ve dusted away cloth and thread remnants regularly but are hearing clicking, it’s time to check the needle for damage. If the needle is bent, blunt, or has any other damage, you need to replace it with a new needle for proper operation.

Don’t try to run your machine with a damaged needle, risking further damage and inferior sewing results. Inspect the needle and make sure it is straight and has a sharp point without burrs. You also want to ensure you’re using the right needle.

Use the needle length recommended for your machine, and use a needle with the right diameter for the fabric and thread you are working with. You should use thread size charts to determine the right needle size to use for the best looking stitches. Use the right needles for special fabrics like knits and leather.

Additionally, ensure the needle is properly inserted in the needle bar clamp. It should be inserted into the clamp until it hits the stop pin, or as instructed in the machine’s manual. If not inserted and positioned properly and securely, the needle can make noise or cause damage.

Another problem with needles that can cause clicking noises Is heavy handedness, or not feeding the material properly. Often beginner sewers push and pull the material instead of gently guiding/feeding it during operations, flexing the needle. This causes the needle to bash the metal hook and blunts the needle point or creates at tiny burr that causes the abnormal sounds.

Dirty or Damaged Needle Plate

If you have an older machine with substantial use, especially if you haven’t been regularly cleaning lint and dust after every use, clicking noise may indicate accumulation in the needle plate.

Dust and oil that accumulates under the feed dogs can cause the needle plate to flex as the accumulation gets compressed. Left unchecked for too long, this can bend the needle plate and cause clicking noises.

Look under the needle plate and between the feed dogs. If there’s any accumulation there, remove it and clean the areas thoroughly. Replace the needle plate if it is badly bent.

Other Causes of Clicking Noises

Tangled thread from an incorrectly positioned spool cap can cause clicking noises, and also break your needle. If not seated properly, it contacts the outer rotary hook and makes noise. Check your spool cap and make sure it’s the right size for your thread spool and that there’s no thread caught in it.

Be careful of dropping pins into the bobbin area. This can make clicking noises while operating. Check the bobbin area if you have checked other areas and found nothing out of place.

Check your machine for loose parts, such as the needle clamp screw, and tighten them slightly. Do not over-tighten machine parts, as this can cause problems too. Make sure parts are not damaged, are positioned properly, and make slight adjustments if necessary.

Regular Care and Cleaning

Be sure to pay attention to regular care and cleaning of your sewing machine for proper operations. Take a few minutes before and after using your machine to check the needle, bobbin, thread spool, needle plate, presser foot, and feed dogs. Look for any accumulations, bent parts, broken parts, and loose parts, and clean and adjust as needed.

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