Food Processor Not Working? All Known Causes & Fixes
Is your food processor not working? It might need some intensive cleaning. Here’s all 9 known causes & fixes.
It’s Friday night, you’re cooking for a get together with friends and all is going great, then all of a sudden, your food processor stops working.
How are you going to chop the onions and the rest of the vegetables?
Sounds familiar? I sympathize, I do.
Having such an essential part of your kitchen rhythm fail can be disastrous. Food processors make our lives easier and do, in seconds, what would take our hands hours. How did we ever live without them? You won’t have to wonder for long.
There are many reasons why your food processor could be failing. From something seemingly negligible like improper blade placement, to preoccupying internal motor failures and overheating. The possibilities are nearly endless.
In order to properly the issues and go about fixing yours in the best possible way, it’s important to go through every detail and consider every factor.
Below, I’ve put together a list of the most commonly known culprits for a failing food processor, and the solutions you can implement so that you can get back to enjoying the cooking process in no time.
Are you ready? Let’s get to work!
Depending on the severity of the damage, your processor might not work altogether, or simply refuse to spin its blades. Whatever the case may be, rest assured that, by the end of this article, you will have found the culprit, and most likely, solved the issue.
If you have a multimeter and a screwdriver handy, it would be a good idea to bring them out, as we’ll need them to access the appliance internally and test some of its components for viability.
The most common reasons why your food processor might not be working are:
- A faulty outlet
- A damaged power cord
- A bad switch
- A blown fuse
- Overheating in your motor
- A burned out motor
Faulty outlets could be a symptom of something bigger
There could be a faulty wall outlet behind your food processor’s malfunction.
Believe it or not, thousands of people spend copious amounts of money every year trying to find the reason why their appliances fail and their breakers trip, only to realize too late that the problem lied with their wall outlets.
Solution: Carefully unplug your appliance from the wall outlet you normally use and plug it back into a different one. The further from the suspected culprit, the better.
Did that fix the issue? Great, you have nothing more to worry about regarding your food processor.
That being said, you should address the faulty outlet as soon as possible, as this could be the first symptom of a greater electrical failure in your house. If you’re feeling confident and are up for a challenge, you can try to test the outlet for continuity with your multimeter.
Untangle your power cord whenever possible
If your wall outlet is not to blame, we can move on to the next most likely culprit, the power cord.
You would not think it so, but it turns out most kitchen appliances’ power cords are much more frail than they seem. In fact, small, negligible habits like keeping them tangled continuously or strongly pressed against a wall in weird angles are enough to do them in.
This would not only explain your food processor conundrum, but also put you at risk of doing further damage to your appliance’s internal components and the electrical layout of your home.
If the power cord is broken altogether, your food processor won’t turn on, whereas, if it’s only partially damaged, it might short circuit before breaking down entirely. It’s an unfortunate situation, but there’s also good news, as fixing this is very simple and quick.
Solution: Follow the steps from the previous point to remove the faulty outlet from the equation.
I know not everyone has a spare cable lying around, but if you do, use it to test and determine if this is the issue. If your food processor operates normally, you have your answer.
In case you don’t have another cable readily available, you can do a quick Google search on your appliance’s make and model to find the corresponding power cord for sale at any online marketplace for less than $20.
Check your power switch for continuity
If you found neither the wall outlet, nor the power cord at fault, it’s time to move on to the activation switch, which is responsible for turning your food processor on and off.
Depending on your appliance’s age, this component could be failing or broken due to normal wear and tear or other technical factors.
Whatever the case, the end result is that your food processor no longer turns on, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having a working appliance that cannot be activated because of a faulty little button.
Luckily, if you suspect to be the issue, fixing it is very simple.
Solution: For this, you’ll need to bring out your multimeter and your screwdriver and follow these steps:
- Unplug your food processor
- Turn the appliance upside down to expose the screws at the bottom
- Undo them with your screwdriver to expose the food processor’s guts
- Locate your switch behind the external knob or lever
- Get comfortable access to it and use your multimeter to test it for continuity
If there is none, you’ll have to replace the switch. This can be a bit challenging because you’ll need the specific part that fits and works on your appliance’s model. If you’re still under warranty coverage, you can reach out to your manufacturer for a replacement.
A blown fuse can’t save you twice
Fuses are our appliance’s guardian angels. They make sure to keep them safe in the face of adversity and harmful power spikes.
In case you’re not familiar with how a fuse works, it’s quite simple. These components are designed to destroy the filament inside them to interrupt all electrical conduction inside your appliance when they sense a big power surge.
If your food processor is not working right after a big blackout, chances are your fuse blew to protect its internal components. This can be a bit of a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, the component saved your appliance, but on the other, it’s no longer working, and vulnerable to future power surges.
Solution: Replace the fuse by following the steps from the previous point to access your appliance’s guts. Once you’re in there, look for the fuse and carefully remove it.
As opposed to other components, a blown fuse does not require a multimeter to determine its viability, all you have to do is look for blackening inside the glass body, and a broken filament. If you identify these signs, it’s time to make a trip to the hardware store.
This is one of the few inconveniences of owning a food processor.
If you’re in the habit of using your appliance for extended periods, there’s a very good chance that it overheats often. This is especially true when you process large chunks of solid, hard ingredients.
While most food processor manufacturers have implemented countermeasures and designed improvements to prevent this from happening too often, there’s no way to completely eliminate the occurrence. If your appliance stops working after an extended period of use, it’s likely overheating.
This is completely normal and prevents further damage to your food processor’s internal components.
Solution: Take it easy! Your food processor does a lot for you, it just needs to cool down now and then. When it overheats, try letting it rest for a couple of minutes until it is cool or warm to the touch. It’s advised to split your food processing sessions into several shorter periods, rather than a few longer ones.
This will extend your appliance’s lifespan.
Evaluate your options when your motor burns out
In case you were wondering what could happen if you overwork your food processor’s motor, here’s the answer.
The blades and motors of these appliances are extremely resilient, fast, and effective, but they’re neither perfect nor indestructible. If pushed to the extreme, they will overheat, and over time, break and stop working altogether.
As you can imagine, having your food processor’s motor burn out is terrible news. Not only will your appliance no longer function, but you’ll also likely have to get a new one.
Identifying this as the issue is simple. If your appliance was working perfectly and then suddenly stopped, released a burning smell and some smoke shortly afterwards, it’s almost 100% certain that your motor blew. Now what?
Solution: The answer depends on the status of your warranty.
If you’re still under coverage, you can send it in to your manufacturer for repairs. These are normally free of charge. That being said, there are some conditions under which they will not validate your warranty.
For example, if the user manual said “do not exceed x amount of minutes of continuous use” and you used your appliance for longer than that, they will not cover the repairs, so read carefully.
On the other hand, if you’re no longer under coverage or used your appliance against the manufacturer’s indications, it’s best to replace it altogether.
Sure, you can try and get it repaired, but between the cost of the parts required, and the cost of labor, you’ll probably end up paying almost the same as the price of a new model.
Ok, so at this point, your food processor should work, but what if it doesn’t spin? No problem! There are also some known causes behind this occurrence, the most common are:
- Jammed blades (food residue)
- Improper part coupling
Keep your food processor clean at all times
Cleaning your food processor is essential to guaranteeing its adequate functioning. It might seem like washing it in one piece does the job, but it does not.
In fact, if you rarely (or never) disassemble your appliance for thorough cleaning, your blades could be jamming due to food residue. This is not only detrimental to your food processor’s lifespan, but also to your health, as you’re likely consuming old food leftovers and mold inadvertently.
Solution: Clean your food processor at least once per day. To do this, you can either put some water and dish soap inside it and activate it to let the mixture reach all crevices inside the bowl, or disassemble it and clean every part individually.
I personally recommend the latter, as it will guarantee the most hygienic conditions over time. That being said, there are some things you must bear in mind:
- It’s best to wash your food processor right after using it, as it will prevent any food from hardening, which will make the process require more effort later on
- You can use running water to wash the blades and the bowl, but never the motor. It’s best to use a damp cloth for that.
- Unless your food processor is dishwasher safe, do not put it in there. If it is, make sure to place it in the top shelve to protect it from the heat at the bottom.
#2 Improper Part Coupling
If you do disassemble your food processor every day for cleaning, good for you! You’re doing everything you can to extend its lifespan and keep it operating hygienically.
That being said, there can also be downsides to this, as failing to put the appliance back together adequately could result in malfunction.
If your food processor’s blades are not spinning, they may be loose or improperly coupled. This could result in a number of consequences, including damage to your bowl, your motor, and even you.
It’s very important that you triple-check everything’s in order and properly coupled before operating your appliance after cleaning.
Solution: I usually keep a list of all my food processor’s parts and a checklist for reassembling, this way I never forget to put anything back, and I always know for sure that everything’s tightly in place. Might work for you!
Do not exceed your appliance’s maximum recommended capacity
Last, but definitely not least, is overfilling.
Depending on your food processor’s make and model, its maximum capacity may vary, but what won’t change is the effect exceeding this limit will have on your appliance’s lifespan and functioning. This is especially true when it comes to hard, solid foods like nuts or chocolate.
Moreover, operating your appliance under these conditions can void your warranty and leave you in a very uncomfortable position when trying to get your manufacturer to repair it.
Solution: Read your user manual again to find the maximum recommended capacity for your food processor. Some models have a “Max” marking engraved on the bowl.
Using your senses also works. If at any point during operation you hear unusually loud noises or a burning smell coming from the motor, stop immediately, remove at least half of the bowl’s content, and let the appliance cool for a couple of minutes.
If you entertain guests often or cook for your family on the daily using your food processor, it might be a good idea to look for one with a larger bowl, so you can prepare the amount you need in a single batch without straining the motor.
Having your food processor fail is a nightmare. It’s such an essential part of our everyday kitchen activities, that any malfunction can put an end to our plans for entertaining guests or having a nice dine-in.
These appliances are designed to chop up food in the blink of an eye and withstand extreme conditions, but they’re not indestructible. Sometimes, all a food processor needs to go back to normal is to be operated according to the user manual.
It’s always a good idea to check your warranty before tampering with your appliance, as doing so could void it and create a problem where there wasn’t one to begin with.
That being said, warranty coverage is not always the answer, as some repairs might cost you, and it’ll be your job to assess whether it’s worth it, or if it’s just better to buy a new food processor.
While I always commend you for doing your own repairs, these appliances are no joke, they’re basically small mechanical swords, so it’s essential that you keep safety in mind at all times. No repair is worth your wellbeing.
Thank you for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you learned something new and your issue was resolved, why not keep expanding your knowledge with our other wonderful resources below?
I wish you nothing but the best!