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So your washing machine won’t spin?

Sorry to hear that.

I know that washing machine problems can be a frustrating and even a messy situation.


To help you identify the potential problem with your washing machine, we’ve put together a few troubleshooting tips we’ve learned over the last few years.

Before you spend hundreds of dollars replacing your washing machine, try one of these suggestions below. If you still have no luck, consider calling a repairman or making a claim on your warranty.

washing machine troubleshooting guide

Master Reset

Before you start tearing your washing machine apart or get rid of it completely, you should perform a master reset. Almost every modern washing machine is designed with a built-in reset mechanism.

Even if you lost the owner’s manual, the good news is that most washing machine manufacturers use a similar reset procedure. Follow the directions below before you replace any parts:

  • Unplug the washing machine from the wall outlet, wait for 60 seconds
  • Plug the washing machine back into the outlet
  • Immediately open and close the lid 6 times within 12 seconds
  • Done!

Please note that there may be no visible signs that you’ve successfully reset the motor.

You will need to run a water only load to check if your washing machine will spin and drain properly. If the washing machine still does not spin, proceed to the next steps.

Drive Belt

The drive belt may be the first culprit you think of when your washing machine won’t spin. However, experience has shown us that this is rarely the case.

In fact, most drive belts outlast the washing machines themselves. It is usually the cheap plastic parts that break first or mysterious electrical problems that will get you into this situation.

That being said, it is very easy to check the drive belt before you replace any other parts.

  • Turn off or unplug washing machine and open the lid
  • Attempt to turn the water basin (not the agitator) with your hand
  • If there is resistance, the belt is likely intact
  • If the basin spins freely, the belt is broken

Lid Switch

A washing machine lid switch is a very simple, yet ingenious mechanism. It allows you to load the washing machine as the water basin is filling.

However, if you let your washing machine complete the filling process with the lid open, nothing else will happen.

The lid switch prevents the washing machine from operating with the lid open and will lock the lid during the spin cycle. That’s a good thing.

Unfortunately, if the lid switch is broken, your washing machine won’t complete the wash or spin cycle.

Luckily, the lid switch is a fairly easy and inexpensive part to replace. A replacement switch for most brands can be purchased online for about $20. The entire process can be completed in about 45 minutes with a screwdriver and a 1/4″ nut driver.

Motor Coupling

The motor coupler is a simple plastic part that connects the motor to the washing machine basin. If the coupler breaks or is damaged the motor will spin, but the basin will stay in place.

Since it can be a difficult process to replace the motor coupler, there is an easy way to verify that it is broken before you take apart your washing machine.

The first step is to start a water only load without clothes. After the washing machine fills with water listen for the agitating process to begin. If the basin does not agitate but you can hear the motor humming, it is likely that the motor coupler is broken.

To replace the motor coupler you will need to remove the metal cabinet that surrounds the washing machine. Then you will need to locate and remove the motor. Finally, you will need to remove the coupler and replace.

Clutch Assembly

Troubleshooting the clutch assembly is fairly easy, but replacement can be difficult. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a few minutes to check the clutch.

First, run a water only test load with no clothes. After the basin fills with water, listen to hear if the basin is agitating. You should hear water splashing and feel the washer slightly shaking. If you can hear normal agitation, the clutch assembly is working fine.

However, if the washing machine does not agitate or spin, the clutch may need to be replaced.

Conclusion

Washing machine repair can be an intimidating and confusing process. However, most problems can be fixed with a few simple tools and a little elbow grease for under $20.

We’ve learned over the last decade of appliance repair that when a washing machine won’t spin or drain, it is usually a very easy fix.

As we explained in this article, your first step should be to perform a master reset and run a small water only load. Then, manually check the drive belt before replacing any other parts.

Once we have ruled out the most common problems you should check and replace the lid switch, motor coupling or clutch assembly next.

We always enjoy hearing from our readers and would like to hear about your repair project. Let us know about how the repairs went.