Why is my Roomba squeaking?

Does your Roomba sound as if a mouse is stuck inside? ¹

Roomba making squeaking noise is not something you’d expect from an expensive next-generation vacuum cleaner.

If anything, you’d expect it to glide noiselessly across the floor like a ghost. But such is not the case. It whirrs, chimes, beeps, and makes a range of noises that let you know it’s working hard. However, there are sounds you don’t want to hear while the Roomba is on its cleaning cycle. 

If your Roomba makes a squeaking noise, it’s telling you something needs cleaning, repair, or replacement. But before you take your precious Roomba apart, ask yourself: Why is my Roomba squeaking all of a sudden? 

This article discusses the possible reasons why the Roomba is making a squeaking noise and how to fix it.

How loud is the Roomba?

The sound that a Roomba makes registers anywhere from 60 to 70 dB (decibels), depending on the robot vacuum model. To better understand this noise level, let’s compare it to everyday sounds and noises. 

A whisper has an average noise level of 30 dB, while a normal conversation is at 60 dB. The Roomba’s noise level is at an acceptable 70 dB, which is comparable to home appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. Anything over 80 dB can potentially cause hearing damage after prolonged exposure.

We can say that the sounds that the Roomba makes are more annoying than dangerous. If you know the baseline noise level of your Roomba, you can tell straight away if it gives out a strange sound like squeaking or screeching—and it’s usually a sign there’s a problem.

Why is my iRobot squeaking?

1. Dust and Dirt Buildup
iRobot Roomba squeaking can be caused by a variety of factors, but in most cases, the high-pitched squeaky sound usually comes from the wheels and roller brushes. This makes perfect sense because the Roomba is designed to clean up dirt and debris through suction and agitation; it then sends the dirt and dust into its dustbin for disposal. 

Noisy brushes or squeegees are often an indication of a dirty or clogged Roomba. If the rubber brushes have collected too much dirt and dust, they may start to make squeaking sounds. 

2. Clumps of Hair Stuck on the Roomba Brush

Aside from dirt and dust, pet hair and human hair stands are notorious for causing iRobot squeaking. Hair starts to fray and wrap around the Roomba brush, making it difficult for the hair to be pulled off and thus clogging up your Roomba. You can expect this to happen because all the hair trapped in the brushes don’t go right into the built-in dust bin.

3. Roomba Wheel Misalignment

If you keep hearing the iRobot making a squeaking noise, it’s possible that the wheel has become misaligned. This may be caused by improper installation, dust buildup, debris stuck in between the wheel and the wheel-housing, hair around the axle, or simply overuse. 

Just how many wheels does the Roomba have? Three. The Roomba has two side wheels that drive the device forwards and backwards as well as make maneuvers and turns. The side wheels also help navigate around tight corners, under furniture, and around other objects in Roomba’s way. The side wheel design makes it possible to use the Roomba on all floor types, including carpeting.

The Roomba also has a caster wheel, which helps to move the machine forward and in any direction. It is an additional sensor to help detect if the Roomba is stuck or beached.

The swivel caster is typically located at the front of the Roomba, except for the Roomba D-shaped S series, where it is located at the back.

If the front caster wheel is clogged with hair or debris, it will not spin freely. It could very well be the reason for the Roomba wheels squeaking. 

4. Picking up and Dragging Objects

In some cases, the iRobot Roomba squeaking may be because it is scratching itself against a hard surface and making noise. This can happen if the Roomba has found something like a toy, which the Roomba will then drag around causing it to make noises as it cleans.

Why is my Roomba squeaking on carpet?

Some Roomba owners complain about hearing squeaking noises when they use their Roomba on carpeted floors. It turns out, some types of carpets can cause your Roomba to make odd squeaking sounds while it is running. The rubber wheel of the Roomba may be rubbing against carpet fibers and causing a squeaky noise. 

Do Roomba roller brushes cause squeaking?

Possibly. Roombas have multi-surface brushes that are used to sweep up dust and debris from your floor. Early models of the Roomba have two cylindrical brushes. They’re usually known as the brush and squeegee combo. The first one is the typical bristled brush and the second one is the roller with rubber flaps. 

Newer models ditched the bristled brushes and replaced them with rubber extractors. No matter what model you have, there’s always the possibility of hearing squeaky sounds. 

Can the side brush cause the Roomba to squeak?

Possibly. Roomba’s edge-sweeping side brush is capable of sweeping dirt and debris from hard- to-reach corners of a room that the roller brushes can’t. The side brush can get underneath couches and other furniture, and helps the Roomba go from room to room without missing a spot. 

If need be, the side brush can be removed from the robot for manual cleaning. If the side brush has become clogged or worn—which can happen easily—can cause Roomba side brush squeaking as it moves across the floor next to walls. 

Another reason why the Roomba is squeaking is the stripped gears on the brush head. The side brush has a small screw that attaches to the gear where it’s connected. The screw can loosen over time, which renders the side brush useless as it will no longer spin. When this happens, it’s time for a replacement to get rid of Roomba squeaking side brush.

Which Roomba models have bristled brushes?

Roombas from the first generation to the fourth generation all have the bristled brush and rubber roller combo, making them more prone to hair tangles and dirt buildup.

If you own the following Roomba models with bristled brushes, you need to do maintenance checks more often to prevent squeaking sounds:

  • Roomba 400 Series
  • Roomba 500 Series
  • Roomba 600 Series
  • Roomba 700 Series

Which Roomba models have rubber extractors?

The Roomba 700 Series marks the end of the brush and squeegee roller combo. When iRobot released the Roomba E5, it introduced the treaded rubber extractors which are designed to pick up pet hair (so Roomba e5 squeaking is a potential problem).

Subsequent Roomba models are now equipped with these rubber rollers so there’s less hair that wraps around the brushes and clogs up the wheels and gears.

The following Roomba models have ditched the bristles in favor of the tangle-free rubber rollers, which are easier to clean and maintain.

  • Roomba e5 
  • Roomba 800 series 
  • Roomba 900 Series
  • Roomba i Series (Roomba i3, i3+, i7, i7+)
  • Roomba j Series (Roomba j7, j7+)
  • Roomba s Series (Roomba s9, s9+)

Even new-generation Roombas are not impervious to noise issues. So, it’s not uncommon to hear Roomba i3 squeaking or Roomba i7 squeaking.

How to fix Roomba squeaking noise problem

The first step is to follow the troubleshooting tips and the cleaning procedures for specific Roomba models. It covers the Roomba 600 series and 800 series models. The general guidelines also apply to newer models and next-gen Roombas.

Oftentimes, the problem of Roomba making a squeaking noise can be fixed by cleaning the brushes thoroughly and replacing the broken parts due to wear and tear. But these were not the only solutions, as it turned out.

An owner of a Roomba 960 was hearing a squeaking sound coming from one of the wheels while the Roomba was running. He suspected that the sound was coming from the axles.

This cleaning trick is clearly for the iRobot Roomba 960, but it’s likely to work with just about any Roomba. This is because the design of the Roomba wheels didn’t change much across Roomba models. 

Watch how he fixed Roomba squeaking noise without taking apart the chassis to get to the wheels. 

How to Get Rid of Squeaking Noise for Roomba 960 

Step 1: 

Check the squeaky side wheel and look for a hole on the outer side of the wheel where it allows you access to the axle.

Step 2:

Turn the wheel several times until you can see the axle spinning through the hole. This should be a good access point to put lubrication. 

Step 3: 

Use lubrication that’s going to dry out fast so it doesn’t drip down and get on the wheel and other parts of the Roomba. If the lube stays wet and doesn’t dry up quickly, the axle will attract even more dust and debris, which will just cause more clogging.

It’s recommended to use a dry lubricant with graphite or Teflon, which dries quickly and does not leave an oily residue.

Step 4:

How to lubricate Roomba wheel axles? Point the straw spray applicator to the tiny hole that connects to the axle. Apply just a small squirt at a time and rotate the wheel. Be careful not to apply it on the wheel, as it may become slippery.

In case you overspray, just wipe the excess lubricant quickly with a paper towel. Do the same on the other wheel.

At this point, the squeaking noise should be gone when you rotate the wheel. Don’t flip the Roomba over until the lubricant is dried out completely.

Can I use WD-40 for the Roomba?

It’s not advisable to use the regular WD-40 for Roomba because WD-40 is not really a true lubricant but a water displacing agent (WD stands for Water Displacement, after all). It’s mainly used to prevent corrosion by repelling water.

WD-40 has lubricant-like properties from its dissolving components. If anything, it’s just a very light lubricant and the effect does not last. WD-40 may be bad for Roomba because it could displace essential lubricants found in the robot’s motor, causing it to stop working correctly.

In the case of Roomba making a squeaking noise, WD-40 would not be of much help because it does not dry out fast and would just attract more dirt and dust and may even contribute to the squeaking sound.

How often should you clean your Roomba?

Once or twice a month, depending on the Roomba parts.  To keep your Roomba running in tip-top shape, you should perform some basic tasks to maintain it by cleaning the brushes, removing hairballs, emptying the bin, and replacing worn down Roomba parts.

According to iRobot, the recommended Roomba care procedure frequency is as follows:

Roomba PartCare FrequencyReplacement Frequency
BinClean after each use
Brushes (Bristled and Rubber)Once per weekTwice per week in homes with petsEvery 6 to 12 months
Charging ContactsOnce per month
Cliff SensorsOnce per month
ExtractorsOnce per weekTwice per week in homes with petsEvery 6 to 12 months
FilterOnce per week Twice per week in homes with petsEvery 2 months
Floor Tracking SensorOnce per month
Front Caster WheelOnce every 2 weeksEvery 12 months
Full Bin SensorsOnce every 2 weeks
Side BrushOnce per month
iAdapt Localization CameraOnce per month

Non-Roomba Robot Vacuum Squeaking

The Roomba has no monopoly on the squeaking noise that drives everyone batty. Apparently, the competition has its own share of woes relating to the annoying noise. 

Shark Robot and Roborock squeaking are common among owners of these robot vacuum brands. They also scratch their heads trying to figure out where the squeaking noise is coming from.

Why is my Shark ION Robot Squeaking?

Shark Robot’s squeaking noise problem is no different from the Roomba’s. Dirt and dust buildup and hair tangles are the main culprits for Shark robot vacuum squeaking.

Misalignment of wheels due to factory defects, wear and tear, or poor maintenance can also cause Shark robot vacuum wheel squeaking. Another explanation among Shark ION owners is that it’s likely that when the Shark robot gets tangled with cords on the floor, the motor works harder and gets damaged. The squeaking noise is indicative of a faulty or damaged motor.

Photo credits

¹ Photo of Roomba by Karlis Dambrans on Flickr