Is your washer staging a protest and refusing to spin?
Let me tell you, the washer not spinning is a common issue that plagues many homeowners, and I’m here to guide you through fixing it. We’ll start by checking out the most likely culprits: the lid switch, drive belt, and motor coupling.
Then we’ll move on to other potential problem areas, like the motor and the timer. And by the end of this article, you’ll have a game plan to get your washer back in action.
In a nutshell, here’s how we’ll tackle this spinning debacle:
- Inspect the lid switch
- Examine the drive belt
- Check the motor coupling
- Test the motor
- Assess the timer
Keep reading, and we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of each step, ensuring you have all the know-how to get your washer spinning like a champ again.
What you will need:
- A multimeter
- A screwdriver
- A socket wrench
- A flashlight
- A pair of needle-nose pliers
- Replacement parts (as required)
Let’s start with our first step: inspecting the lid switch. This little safety feature ensures that your washer doesn’t spin with the lid open, but if it’s malfunctioning, it could be why your washer is staging a spin strike.
Washer Refusing To Spin? Get It Spinning In 10 Easy Steps
#1: Ensure Proper Water Drainage
- Locate the drain hose: This is a flexible tube connected to the rear of the washer, typically leading to a drain pipe or a standpipe. It carries wastewater out of the machine during the draining process.
- Check for blockages: Inspect the drain hose for any kinks or visible obstructions. Straighten the hose and remove any debris that may be restricting water flow.
- Access the drain pump: Unplug the washer and consult your appliance’s user manual or tech service manual for specific instructions on removing the front or back panel to access the drain pump.
Remember that the user manual typically doesn’t contain component information or repair instructions. Instead, a service manual, written for appliance technicians, is needed for such information. To find a service manual, check out our free guide on finding manuals online. Alternatively, consider purchasing access to a tech manual library, such as appliancetechmanuals.com.
- Check the pump and filter: The drain pump is usually a small, motorized component with an attached filter or screen. Inspect the pump and filter for any debris or damage, and clear any obstructions as necessary.
#2: Inspect the Cold Water Valve:
- Locate the water valves: Unplug the washer and look at the back of the machine. You should see two hoses connected to water supply valves, typically marked with blue (cold) and red (hot) colors.
- Turn off the water supply: Turn off the cold water supply valve by turning the handle clockwise.
- Disconnect the cold water hose: Carefully unscrew the cold water hose from the back of the washer, using a wrench if necessary.
- Inspect the valve: Check the cold water valve for debris, mineral deposits, or damage. Clean the valve with a small brush or toothpick to remove any buildup.
#3: Check Suspension Rods, Shocks, or Dampers:
- Locate the suspension components: Unplug the washer and consult your appliance’s user or tech service manual for specific instructions on accessing the suspension rods, shocks, or dampers.
- For top-loading washers: Suspension rods are typically found in each corner of the washer, connecting the drum to the washer’s frame. They look like long, thin metal rods with plastic caps.
- For front-loading washers: Shocks or dampers are typically found near the bottom of the machine, connecting the drum to the washer’s frame. They look like cylindrical components with a piston-like appearance.
- Inspect for wear or damage: Check the suspension rods, shocks, or dampers for any visible signs of wear, damage, or leakage. Replace any faulty components as needed.
#4: Inspect the Lid Switch
Unplug the washer from the power outlet for safety. The lid switch is usually under the washer’s top panel or near the door hinge on top-loading washers. To access it, consult your tech service manual for specific instructions on removing the top panel or accessing the lid switch.
Once you’ve found the switch, it should look like a small plastic or metal component with a prong or lever sticking out, which gets pressed down when the lid is closed.
Listen for its sound when trying to lock to test the lid switch. A faulty lid switch will either make no sound or constantly click. If you hear no sound or the switch keeps clicking, it’s time to replace it.
Note that common lid switches cannot be tested with continuity in washers, as they use voltage and have position and close indicators.
#5: Check the Suspension and Redistribute Laundry in the Drum
If your washing machine doesn’t spin, you should check the suspension and rearrange the clothes in the drum.
For top-loading washers, when the washer is empty, give the basket a quick shove down; it should go down, then up, and stop. If it keeps bouncing like a ball, the suspension rods or dampers are bad and must be replaced. The suspension in a washer is like that in a car; it needs to be stiff to work correctly.
An unbalanced load is another common cause of an inadequate spin cycle. When washing large and heavy items, like comforters or coats, the load can become unbalanced and affect the machine’s motion.
Sometimes, newer machines only reach high speeds with off-balanced loads, leaving clothes wet. If the load distribution is the issue, try rearranging your laundry and rerunning the spin cycle.
#6: Ensure the Washing Machine Is Getting Power
You should double-check that the washer is plugged in. A mid-cycle bump could have caused the plug to come loose from the outlet.
#7: Inspect the Spin Switch/Lid Lock
In top-loading washing machines, a small protrusion on the underside of the lid depresses a switch when the lid is closed, acting as a safety precaution. However, if this protrusion is bent out of shape, it may not activate the switch correctly.
To test this, open the lid, select the spin cycle, and manually depress the switch with your finger. If the machine starts spinning, properly adjust the protrusion to trigger the spin switch.
If the washer still doesn’t spin when you press the switch manually, the switch itself could be faulty. Replacing a broken spin switch is usually a DIY-friendly project, depending on your washing machine’s brand and model. But, again, consult your owner’s manual for instructions.
#8: Examine the Drive Belt
Unplug the washer before you start. To inspect the drive belt, you’ll need to access the back or bottom of the washer, depending on your model. Generally, a removable panel will be held in place by screws or clips.
Once you remove the panel, you should see a rubber belt connecting the motor pulley to the drum pulley. The belt should be snug but not overly tight. You’ll need to replace it if it appears loose, damaged, or broken.
#9: Test the Motor
If the previous steps haven’t solved the issue, it’s time to test the motor. Start by unplugging the washer and removing the cabinet or front panel.
Next, locate the motor, a cylindrical metal component with wires. Using a multimeter to test the motor for continuity, placing the probes on the motor terminals.
Do a resistance check for ohm’s value, check the service manual what the normal range is, if it reads open, it’s bad. If the motor fails the test, consider replacing it.
#10: Inspect the Shifter or Coupling Assembly
The motor coupling is a critical component that connects the motor to the transmission in older, timer-style washers.
A shifter and coupling assembly replaces the traditional motor coupling in newer washers. To access and inspect the motor coupling or shifter and coupling assembly:
- Unplug the washer
- Remove the cabinet or front panel of your washer (check your tech service manual for guidance)
- Locate the motor, and connect to the transmission via the motor coupling or shifter and coupling assembly
For older washers with a motor coupling, the coupling should look like two plastic pieces connected by a rubber grommet. Check for signs of wear, cracks, or damage. If the motor coupling is compromised, it’s time to replace it.
Inspect newer washers with a shifter and coupling assembly for signs of wear or damage. If the assembly is faulty, it must be replaced to restore proper spinning function.
#11: Examine the Transmission
The transmission is responsible for converting the motor’s power into the spinning motion of the washer drum. If it’s malfunctioning, your washer won’t spin.
Inspecting the transmission can be more involved, consider calling a professional if you’re uncomfortable with this step. If you decide to proceed:
- Unplug the washer
- Remove the cabinet or front panel
- Locate the transmission, a cylindrical component typically connected to the motor and the drum
- Check for signs of oil leakage, rust, or other damage
If the transmission is damaged, it may need to be repaired or replaced.
If the transmission is bad, it will sound like a plane taking off in newer washers that are not timer washers.
A washing machine that refuses to spin can be frustrating, especially for homeowners looking for a simple solution. However, following these 11 easy steps, you can pinpoint the cause and fix the issue without needing a professional technician.
From ensuring the machine is getting power to redistributing the laundry and inspecting essential components like the drain hose, dampers, shocks, lid switch, drive belt, and motor coupling, these steps provide a comprehensive guide to troubleshooting a washer that won’t spin.
Sometimes, a service manual may be necessary for more detailed information, but with patience and persistence, you can tackle these steps and get their washers spinning again.
No matter your experience level, these guidelines aim to make the process approachable and straightforward, ensuring you can confidently address the issue and return to enjoying clean, dry laundry in no time.