Whether you use a top-loading or front-loading washing machine, having the appliance out of commission for a few days or weeks can create a serious backlog of dirty clothes if you have a busy family. As soon as you notice your machine is filling and draining but not spinning to wash or wring out the clothes, it's time to check the unit for the most obvious causes. Try these five troubleshooting tricks first to see if you can figure out what's causing the problem before calling a repair technician.
Perform a Master Reset
Even basic washing machines feature a programmable control board that is surprisingly complex in how it controls the operation of the drum motor. A simple problem like a power outage or an imbalanced load can lead to a control module that gets stuck in error mode. You don't need to call a professional to reset the control unit. Handle the master reset yourself by
- Disconnecting the power cord and letting the unit sit off for one full minute
- Plugging the unit back in
- Opening and shutting the door of the washer six times, counting each opening and shutting as one action, within 12 seconds
- Running a few pieces of clothing through the wash cycle to test the reset.
If that solves the problem, there's no need for further repairs.
Wiggle the Drum
When the washing machine is off, the drum should turn freely by hand in both directions. Even if it takes a little force to move it, there should be no grinding or clanking noises as you rotate the drum. If the drum won't turn at all, it's likely due to a broken belt. The belts in washing machines rarely cause problems, but when they do fail, it stops the drum from moving at all.
Examine the Door Tab
Has the small tab that extends from the washing machine door become bent or broken? This tab is essential because it pushes into the switch plate on the door and lets the unit know that it's safe to start spinning without splashing water around. If the tab itself looks normal, examine the switch where it slides in as well. Sometimes a simple piece of lint or chewing gum ends up in the spot and blocks the switch from being engaged. Your washing machine won't start spinning if it thinks the door is still open, so if you can't see an obvious blockage, you'll need a professional to electrically test the switch and possibly replace it.
Check the Motor Coupling
The motor in your washing machine doesn't connect directly to the spin tub, but rather to a transmission that scales the power up and down as needed. The motor and transmission are often connected by a set of plastic parts known as the motor coupling. You will hear the motor running as the washing machine enters the spin cycle, but the tub won't move at all. This means the motor is in good shape but simply isn't connected to the transmission and tub anymore due to a broken coupling. You can open the back of the cabinet to check if the parts connecting the transmission and motor are damaged or broken, or you can leave it to a professional since it's a quick and inexpensive fix.
Look for Sparks
Finally, consider the fact that the motor in your washing machine may be reaching the end of its lifespan. If the tub spins a little but doesn't ever reach full speed or won't move at all, it's possible the motor itself is burning out as it attempts to complete the job. Try removing some of the exterior body panels and turning off all the lights in your laundry room. If you see any sparking near the bottom of the machine as the unit goes into a spin cycle, you need to have the motor replaced before the washing machine will run normally again.
For more assistance troubleshooting and repairing your washing machine, contact a company like Goldman Appliances Inc.