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. Most models will require you to remove the cabinet to access the drive coupler. Disconnect power from the appliance before attempting any repairs.

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. Also check the door strike to ensure that it engages the door lock assembly properly. Remove power from the appliance before attempting this repair.

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. It can be difficult to visually determine whether a wax motor has failed but it can be tested for continuity with a multi-meter. It should have a resistance of approximately 1500 to 1900 ohms. If the wax motor is showing open circuit it is defective.

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. Disconnect power from the appliance and remove the wires from the switch. You can then check the switch for continuity with a multi-meter. We strongly recommend that you DO NOT bypass a lid switch as it is an important safety feature and serious injury could result.

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. If your machine displays any of these symptoms or the clutch appears visually worn or damaged it should be replaced. The clutch is typically located below the outer tub and attached to the basket drive assembly. You will need to remove the cabinet and the drive motor and transmission assembly to gain access to the clutch.

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. 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. Always use the correct replacement belt as the size and coverings are critical to proper performance. Disconnect power from the appliance before attempting any repairs.

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