Washing Machine Repair Guide
What to do if your washing machine starts to act up? You can either call the service company and wait a few days for an expensive repair job, or, if you are handy with tools, you can use our Washing Machine Repair Guide to fix the machine yourself.
This repair guide is offered for informational purposes only. We can give you ideas about how to fix your washing machine, but because of the differences from manufacturer to manufacturer we cannot guarantee your problem will be covered here.
Still, this guide is educational and will give you a better understanding of how your washing machine works. And with that understanding you are better equipped to attempt your own repairs, or to talk intelligently with the service company if someone comes to fix your washing machine.
Washing machines use electricity and water! This can be a deadly combination, so be sure to read our safety guide before attempting any of your own repairs.
Problem #1 – Leaks
Washing machine leaks can be either internal or external. External leaks are commonly caused by loose hose connections, so that is the first thing you should look for when you washing machine appears to be leaking.
Another external problem is a backed-up drain which is forcing water backwards to the washing machine.
Internal Leaks are more difficult to repair and involve removing the external panels of the washing machine. Disconnect the power connection before doing this.
Start with a visual inspection for obvious signs of water leaking or collecting. If there is nothing obvious, touch the various components (with the electricity off!) feeling for dampness.
The most common sources of leaks are the pump, the water injector, or the tub. If you can’t feel or see any leaks you should try to run a short cycle with the panels off to locate the source. Remember, this has to be strictly visual. No hands or any other objects must touch the inside of the washing machine while it is running.
Another source of leaks that will be revealed with this visual inspection is a water sloshing problem, where the water escapes over the side of the tub and falls onto the floor. If this is the case you need to replace the gasket around the top of the tub.
Problem #2 – Spinner doesn’t work or is slow
The spin cycle will stop when the washing machine lid is opened, so if your washer does not spin at all then the first thing you should check is the switch that is operated by the lid. When you close the lid is the switch closed? There may be a tab to activate the switch or it may be activated by the hinge motion of the lid.
Access the switch by taking off the top panel of the washing machine. You will be able to see the type of mechanism and whether or not it is being switched by the action of the lid. If the mechanical action seems correct, use a voltage meter to see if it actually functions. If not, replace it.
Other possible causes include worn belts. These are usually found on older machines, as the new machines usually use a direct drive mechanism for the spin function. If yours is a fairly new machine, you may be looking at the direct drive coupler. If none of these is the source of the problem the spin cycle solenoid or timer may need to be replaced.
Problem #3 – No agitation but spins OK
If the washing machine fills with water but does not agitate the first thing to check is the drive mechanism on the agitator. Depending on the brand of washing machine you may be looking for a worn drive belt or dog cam set. If the agitator wobbles when it is turned by hand the dog cam set needs to be replace.
Other possible mechanical causes behind agitator failure include worn transmission mode levers or an obstructed or disconnected air tube which connects to the pressure switch.
Electrical problems such caused by bad contacts are also possible. Test the pressure switches and timer contacts. Certain machines will switch off when the lid is lifted, so you can also check the lid switch if you have this type of machine.
Problem #4 – No agitation or spin
This is an indication of a worn or broken drive belt or in the case of direct drive washing machines a worn direct drive coupler. If the belts look solid they may still be slipping due to glaze. Another possibility is that the motor needs to be replaced.
Problem #5 – Water will not empty
This is caused by a malfunctioning pump. Check the drive belts on the pump and if they seem to be OK try to move the belt by hand (with the machine disconnected!) If it seems to be stiff the pump needs to be replaced.
If the pump and belts seem to be OK check the drain hose for obstructions.
Problem #6 – Washer shakes during the spin cycle
Washing machines need to be leveled carefully to avoid this problem. There are usually adjustable feet on each corner of the machine for adjust the level. Make sure the machine is installed on a sturdy floor or reinforce the underfloor if necessary.
If the machine is perfectly leveled and still vibrates during the spin cycle check to see if the damper pads are worn.
Note that some amount of vibration is normal and that front loading machines are more prone to this problem than top-loaders.
Problem #7 – Washing machine damages clothing
This can happen if there is not enough water during the wash cycle. Be sure to use the recommended water level for the load of laundry. Open the lid during the wash cycle to make sure the clothes are circulating freely and if not, stop the cycle and add more water.
This could also be caused by clothes getting trapped under the agitator. Check for rough spots around the bottom of the agitator which could be catching the clothing.
Problem #8 – There is still detergent in the clothes after the wash cycle
This can be because of using too much detergent, but mechanical problems can also be the cause. First check to make sure the cold water hose is unobstructed and if it’s OK watch to see if the rinse cycle is normal. If not there may be a problem with the timer assembly in which case the easiest solution is to replace the whole timer unit.
Excess detergent residue can also be caused by hard water.
Problem #9 – No cold water
This is related to problem number 8 since the rinse cycle is done with cold water. If the hose is unobstructed check to see whether water is flowing through the valve properly. Excess sediment could cause the valve to get plugged up in which case the valve needs to be replaced.
Problem #10 – The washing machine is dead
Check the electrical connection to see if the machine is still plugged in. Under certain conditions the fuse could blow or the junction box could trip so make sure there is still power at the outlet. If the power is OK the washing machine timer could be broken. This can be checked with a meter.
If the power went off mid-cycle the load could be unbalanced. Most machines have a signal light for this situation. Simply redistribute the laundry load and restart the cycle.