If you can smell something burning in your Whirlpool or Kenmore top loader washing machine immediately unplug the unit. Put your hand against the plastic part of the electrical outlet. If heat is felt you may have located the source. A loose electrical connection in the wall plate can easily be fixed. If you're not comfortable working with electricity call a professional.
Rather than calling for appliance repair you can easily repair many problems yourself. IMPORTANT: Always unplug or cut the power to any appliance before working on it. Safety should always be your number one priority.
To investigate further: with no clothing (in the unit) pull the clothes washer away from the wall and tilt it back against the wall. You may want to drape a small rug or towel over the control panel so the wall or control panel does not get damaged. The bottom is easily accessible by lying on the floor and removing the sound insulation. Black powder may be present from the belt but if there are pieces or if the belt looks worn consider buying a new belt. A white plastic drive belt guard is removed by unscrewing two screws using a 5/16" drive tool. The easiest tool to use is a magnetic nut driver. The common sizes used in all appliance repair are 1/4" and 5/16" but they are available in sets. Many times the nut holding on the plastic gear is missing from defective manufacturing and the guard has a slot worn in it from rubbing against the belt. It is not necessary to loosen the motor to attach the belt. Laying on your back with the unit propped against the wall put the belt on the small pulley and with your hands pull the belt on using the larger pulley. If the nut is missing use a 5/16" flat washer, a lock washer and a nut. If you don't want to order a new nut use a 5/16" X 24 tpi nut from a hardware store. DO NOT over tighten. It is important to make sure the belt is riding between the flanges on the small pulley or it will come off again. Do not use tape to fix the guard because shavings can pile up on the tape to cause problems. A new guard may be needed if it's worn too much. After replacing the belt put the washer back on the floor and make sure it's level by adjusting the legs at the corners. After leveling the unit make sure the nut between the leveling leg and cabinet is tight so it does not vibrate out of level.
Tools needed: flashlight, 5/16" nut driver, small adjustable wrench, level