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How to Repair a Washing Machine That Won’t Spin

A front-loading washer

Is there anything worse than a washing machine that won’t work when your entire wardrobe is in the hamper? Perhaps, but when you’re looking at that broken machine and the burden of having no clean clothes is weighing down on you, it sure doesn’t feel like it, so get your machine fixed in a hurry.

While there are many problems that can occur with a washing machine, perhaps the most common is a washing machine that won’t spin. Unfortunately, there are many potential causes for this, which means fixing it can be tricky. However, we are here to help.

Problems with Direct Drive Motor Coupling

If you have a top-load washer, this might be your problem. In some top-load models, direct-drive motor coupling is the method used to move power between the motor and the transmission.

The piece that connects the motor and the transmission is made of two plastic forks that have a rubber piece connecting them; one of the forks is placed on the motor and the other on the transmission.

Typical washing machine use causes wear on the coupling, causing it to slip or break.

The Fix

First, consult your manual to be sure that your machine uses direct drive motor coupling. If it does, remove the cabinet so that the drive coupler is visible. Using the manual as your guide, see if it is in the correct place and still in one piece. If all is well, move onto another option. If it is not, order a new drive coupler and then install it according to the user manual.

Malfunctioning Door Lock

Door locks are used on front-loading washing machines to ensure they are safe, and can also be found on some top-loading models. The goal behind the door lock is to prevent it from being opened while the washing machine is in use.

This keeps children and pets from climbing in and becoming hurt, and also ensures that you cannot open a front-loading washing machine and have all the water spill out. If the lock isn’t locking, or the machine doesn’t realize the door is locked, it will not spin.

The Fix

First, check to see that the door is in fact locking—but be very careful about this if you own a front-loading machine. If it’s actually locked, drain the machine and then inspect the lock to see if the switch that communicates with the machine is stuck. If it is, work it down and see if this eliminates the problem. If the door is not locking, you will need to order a new lock and replace the old one.

Faulty Lid Switch

This is essentially the top-loading version of the door problem above. The lid switch is designed to prevent the machine from opening while the machine is in operation. This is to ensure no one can fall inside of the machine and become hurt. If the lid switch is not engaged, the machine will not spin.

The Fix

Once again, ensure that the lid is locking. If it is not, replace the lock. If it is, examine the switch to ensure that it is not stuck. If it isn’t stuck, chances are the problem is in the wiring of the machine, which we recommend leaving to the professionals.

An Important Safety Note

With both lid and door locks, it can be tempting to bypass the safety features in order to get your machine working once more. It is vital that you do not do this. The safety features are in place for a reason and should never, ever be bypassed.

A Worn Clutch

Many top-load washers use a clutch assembly to facilitate the spin cycle. With regular use, the clutch pads wear down and eventually become ineffective. Chances are you will notice a scraping sound long before the spin cycle quits working due to the clutch, but it’s possible that you might not, depending on the location of the machine within your home.

The Fix

This is actually a pretty simple fix in most cases; simply order replacement clutch pads and install them. However, the complicated part is getting to the clutch. In most models, you will need to remove the cabinet, drive motor, and transmission assembly. Be sure to carefully label each part as you remove it, including the order you removed it in, to make it easier to reassemble your machine when done.

A Slipped or Snapped Drive Belt

The drive belt connects the motor and the transmission in top-loading machines; in front-loading machines, it connects the drive motor to the wash basket. To check to see if the belt is a problem, you will need to remove the cabinet and locate the belt. Use the owner’s manual to guide you in finding the belt.

The Fix

If the belt is intact but out of place, return it to where it belongs. Your owner’s manual should be able to guide you in this. If your belt is intact but shows signs of wear or overheating, it is best to go ahead and replace it. If the belt is broken, replacement is the only option. Consult your guide so you can get the correct size and type of belt for your machine.

Use Care When Going DIY

While you do not need to be a professional repairman to fix a washer that isn’t spinning, it’s important that you take great care in your work. The last thing you want to do is compound a problem, or cause harm to yourself. Be sure to disconnect the electricity before attempting any repairs, only reconnecting it to test if your repair has worked. And if you feel overwhelmed, do not hesitate to seek help.

West Coast Chief Repair: Always Here for You

If you feel best leaving the repairs in the hands of a professional, we are happy to help. Our technicians are on call and ready to head to your home and get your machine functional once more. We will carefully diagnose the problem at hand and go over our plan of action before making any repairs. Contact us for service you can trust!