How to Fix Washer That Won't Spin | Washing Machine Repair
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How to Fix A Washer That Won't Spin

About this repair:

  • Rated as EASY
  • 1492 repair stories
  • 9 step by step videos

Direct Drive Motor Coupling

Some top load washers use a direct drive motor coupling to transfer power from the motor to the transmission. The drive coupling connects the motor to the transmission and consists of two plastic drive forks with a rubber coupling between them. One of the drive forks is attached to the drive motor shaft and the other is attached to the transmission input shaft. As the motor shaft rotates, the rubber coupling between the drive forks absorbs the torque to prevent the forks from breaking. Normal use will create wear on the coupling and eventually, the drive forks may slip and not engage the transmission and clutch. A common symptom of a failing motor coupling is that the washing machine fills and drains normally but will not agitate or spin.

How to inspect the direct drive motor coupling in a washing machine:

  1. You will be handling electrical components during these checks; ensure you have disconnected your appliance from the power source before beginning.
  2. Locate the motor coupling, you will need to open your washer’s cabinet, and depending on your model, you may also need to remove the motor and/or drain pump to access it.
  3. Remove the motor coupling and inspect it for any signs of cracking, wear, or damage.
  4. If you find any of the above, you will need a replacement direct drive motor coupling.

Door Lock & Interlock

The door lock, also known as the interlock, is a safety mechanism installed on front-loading washing machines, and some top load washers, which prevents the door from being opened while the machine is in operation. The system consists of the locking mechanism on the machine and the door strike on the door. The locking mechanism also contains a switch that will indicate to the control board or timer, when the door is locked and therefore allow a spin cycle to operate. When the door lock fails, it may not lock the door, or the door lock switch might not engage and therefore not recognize that the door is locked and not allow the washer to agitate or spin. Some modern washers with a digital display may show a fault code as well. If your washing machine is displaying any of these symptoms or a door lock fault code has been confirmed, the door lock may need to be replaced.

How to inspect the door lock on a washing machine:

  1. Unplug the appliance before beginning.
  2. The door lock is usually found along the frame of the washing machine, under the lid. Begin by cleaning the area to remove any films that may have developed.
  3. If this does not resolve the issue, remove the door lock to inspect it for any signs of wear, damage, or cracking.
  4. If you find any of the above, you will need a replacement door lock.

Wax Motor

Some front load washing machines use wax motors to engage the door lock assembly. When a cycle is started, an electrical current is supplied to the wax motor, pushing a pin outward and locking the door. When the wax motor fails, the door lock will not engage and will not allow the machine to spin.

How to test a washing machine wax motor with a multi-meter:

  1. Disconnect your washing machine from the power supply before beginning as you will be handling electrical components.
  2. Locate and remove your wax motor. You will need to remove all or part of the cabinet to access it, it will likely be found near the door lock mechanism.
  3. With a multi-meter on the Rx1 setting, touch the probes to the motor’s terminals to test it. You should receive a reading of 1500 to 1900 ohms.
  4. If you receive a reading outside this range, you will need a replacement wax motor.

Lid Switch

The lid switch on a top load washing machine is used as a safety device to prevent the motor circuit from operating when the lid is open. If the lid switch fails, the washer may not spin. The lid switch is normally located beneath the main top with a projection on the lid or a pin attached to the lid that will actuate the switch when the lid is closed. Verify that the switch is being activated mechanically and that any levers or actuators are not damaged or sticking. If the switch is being activated but there is no power being supplied to the motor, then the switch may be defective.

How to test the lid switch in a washing machine with a multi-meter:

  1. Because you will be handling electrical components, ensure that you have unplugged your appliance before beginning.
  2. Locate the lid switch on your appliance. Remove any parts of the cabinet you need to in order to have full access to the switch.
  3. Verify that the switch is being operated mechanically, you should also inspect the levers and actuators to ensure they are not damaged or sticking.
  4. If it is being operated mechanically and no issues were found with the levers or actuators, remove the switch from the appliance, set your multi-meter to Rx1, and touch the probes to the terminals. You are testing for continuity and should receive a reading of zero.
  5. If your test results do not match those above, you will need a replacement lid switch.

Clutch Assembly

Some top load washers use a clutch assembly to lock the transmission input shaft to the wash basket drive during the spin cycle. Over time, the repeated friction of the clutch pads rubbing against the housing can cause the clutch to wear and create a scraping sound. A worn clutch can prevent your washing machine from spinning or may cause a slower spin speed which will leave your clothes wet after a cycle. Additional symptoms that the clutch may be causing your problems are brake dust or shavings found underneath the washing machine, a slight burning smell or a loud noise during the spin cycle.

How to inspect the clutch assembly in a washing machine:

  1. Disconnect the washer from the power source.
  2. The clutch assembly is usually found attached to the basket drive assembly, below the outer tub. Remove the clutch assembly in order to inspect it. You may need to remove the cabinet, drive motor, and/or transmission to access the clutch, depending on your model.
  3. Looking for any signs of burning, damage, or wear, visually inspect your clutch assembly.
  4. If you find any issues while inspecting it, you will need a replacement clutch assembly.

Drive Belt or Spin Belt

The drive belt is used to connect the drive motor to the transmission in some top load washers, or the drive motor to the wash basket in most front load washers. If your washer does not spin you should inspect the drive belt for signs of overheating or excessive wear. Before replacing a damaged belt, you should verify that any belt tensioning device such as an idler pulley or motor glide is operating properly and moves freely. On top load washers, you should also verify that the transmission pulley turns freely in both the spin and agitate directions and that there is nothing impeding the movement of the agitator or the wash basket that may cause the belt to slip on the pulleys. You should also check for signs of oil or water leakage onto the belt or pulley area. On front load washers, make sure that the tub will turn easily by hand.

How to tell if the drive belt in a washing machine needs replacing:

  1. Before beginning, unplug your washing machine and then remove the cabinet/access panel.
  2. Find and remove the drive belt. To remove it, disconnect the clamps holding it in place, it will be connected to the drive motor.
  3. Looking for any signs of fraying, burning, wear, or damage, visually inspect your drive belt.
  4. If you find any of the symptoms above, you need a replacement drive belt.

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