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Is your washer stuck on a wash cycle, and you’re unsure why?
You’re not alone! Washers are great helpers when it comes to doing large loads of laundry, but when they seem to be stuck on a cycle, laundry days can take forever.
I know how annoying it can be to have your washer remain stuck on a wash cycle for what seems like a lifetime. But don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place for answers. Below, you’ll find a list including 3 things you can check to diagnose your washer and get everything back to normal.
Read on to end your washer’s eternal cycle!
Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.
James is one of our resident appliance experts with over 16 years of experience. He currently works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair business.
Why Your Washer Is Stuck on a Cycle
When your washer is stuck on a wash cycle, doing laundry can be very complicated – especially if you have a large pile of clothes waiting in line. There are many possible reasons why your washer is stuck on a wash cycle; however, from what I’ve seen over the years, some culprits are more likely to be the source of the issue than others.
Washers aren’t great at indicating what phase of a cycle they’re in. Typical washer cycles range between fill, agitate, drain, and spin, so your washer is likely stuck in one of those. Here are some things I recommend you consider to get to the bottom of the problem quicker and without wasting effort.
#1 A Water Valve Issue
Before diving into more complex potential issues, let’s consider a water valve issue as the reason why your washer is stuck on a wash cycle. The water valve is mainly responsible for regulating the water entering the washer, depending on the cycle you’ve selected.
Normally, when there’s an issue with the water valve, you’ll notice the washer fills very slowly, almost to the point where it looks like there’s no water entering the appliance.
A good way to diagnose whether the poor flow of water is due to a bad water valve or something else is to disconnect the water hoses from the washer and place them into a bucket. Once the hoses are in the bucket, open the water valve on your wall and see how well water flows into the bucket. If everything looks normal, something related to the water valve in your washer is likely to blame.
Solution: In my experience, when a washer is stuck on a wash cycle or seems to have a poor flow of water, the water valve itself is not to blame, but rather the filter screens before it.
The filters in your washer’s inlets prevent debris and unwanted objects from entering your washer and the valve, where they can cause damage. However, over time, sediment can form on the filters (especially in areas with hard water) and obstruct the proper flow of water.
Luckily, I’ve found that cleaning the filter screens is very easy; here’s what you have to do:
- Carefully remove the water hoses from your washer’s water inlets.
- Locate the filter screens inside the hoses’ end or the washer’s water inlet sockets.
- Use a soft brush to remove any limescale and other gunk that’s collected on the filter screens. Please be careful not to break the filters.
- Once the filter screens are clean, place them back where you found them and reconnect the hoses to your washer.
Test the flow of cold water into your washer first, and then test the hot water if you were successful and everything looks normal. Provided you still have a poor flow of water, the water valve itself is likely failing, and you’ll need to replace it ($30-$100+, depending on the washer model).
Note: Washer filter screens are not typically expensive. You can find sets of 4 for as low as $8 on online marketplaces. However, the price can vary depending on your washer’s brand and model, so if you find yourself in the need to replace your washer’s inlet filter screens, check your User Manual to find the part model number and buy the right replacements.
#2 Worn Out Suspension Balance Dampers
The next possible reason why your washer is stuck on a wash cycle is that the suspension balance dampers are worn out. As their name suggests, the balance dampers help the washer stay stable and move in a controlled manner during the final drain and spin cycles. When the dampers are worn out, the washer will be stuck on an eternal wash cycle, as it will detect erratic motion.
In my experience, washer suspension balance dampers can wear out over time due to age, overloading, poor floor leveling, and other less common factors. The issue can affect both top and front load washers.
Solution: Unfortunately, if your washer’s suspension balance dampers are worn out, the only solution will be to replace them. The replacement process is not overly complicated, so you can try to DIY; however, if you’re not confident about it, the job is best left to a professional.
When the suspension balance dampers need replacement, all 4 rods must be changed. Although the price varies between different washer brands and models, you can typically find a 4-rod kit for about $40-$50.
#3 A Faulty Speed Sensor/Actuator
Lastly, let’s consider a faulty speed sensor/actuator as another reason why your washer is stuck on a wash cycle. As its name suggests, a washer’s speed sensor is responsible for measuring the speed at which the appliance’s drum is spinning.
Knowing the drum’s speed helps the washer understand whether it’s in a spin or agitating wash cycle, so when it fails, the appliance has no clue where it stands and remains stuck. It should be noted that not all front-load washers have a speed sensor, so this won’t be an issue for everyone. Please refer to your User Manual to determine whether your washer has a speed sensor.
Solution: I find that when the speed sensor is faulty, your only option is to replace it. The process is usually very simple; here’s what you have to do:
- Carefully unplug your washer from the wall outlet and turn off the water supply valves at the wall to prevent leaking.
- Go behind the appliance and undo the screws holding the back panel in place.
- Once you’ve removed the back panel, you’ll see the rotor held in place with some bolts. Undo them to remove the rotor.
- You’ll notice the rotor is attached to the stator.
- Depending on your washer’s model, you might have to remove the stator to gain access to the speed sensor, but that’s not always the case.
- When you have a clear view and access to the speed sensor, carefully disconnect it and replace it with a new sensor.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $50-$180 for a new washer speed sensor if you replace it yourself or around $225-$400 if you want to call a professional to take care of the job.
General Washer Repair Recommendations
Now that you know all that’s possibly wrong with your washer and why it’s stuck on a wash cycle, let’s cover some simple recommendations that can save you a lot of time and money and keep you safe.
- Check First, Buy Second: Always diagnose potentially faulty washer parts before purchasing replacements, as sometimes the fault does not require a new part. For example, poor water flow can often be due to dirty water inlet valve filters and not a bad valve. Ensuring to check the filters first can save you a lot of money.
- Leave the Complex Stuff to Professionals: I’m all for helping people DIY most home appliance repairs, but when something requires technical knowledge or involves electricity, it’s best to leave the job to someone trained to do it.
Fixing a Washer Stuck in a Cycle
That about covers it!
When your washer is stuck on a wash cycle, laundry can quickly go from an annoying chore to the challenge of the weekend.
Luckily, as I hope this piece has helped you better understand, addressing the most common causes behind a washer stuck on a wash cycle is often easy and quick. More often than not, something as simple as cleaning the washer’s water inlet valve filter screens and replacing the suspension balance dampers will do the trick.
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Have a wonderful day!