“My Washer Isn’t Spinning”
There’s no more often-used appliance than the clothes washer, but what do you do when your washer isn’t spinning? We’re all familiar with the spin cycle that helps remove water from washed loads of laundry to get them ready for the drying machine, but a broken spin cycle will leave you with a pile of soaking wet laundry that you can’t do anything with at all. If your washer isn’t spinning, this guide can help you understand why it might not be spinning, and how you can get things spinning through your laundry room again.
Before Getting Started
Remember a few safety tips before getting started: always unplug the appliance before servicing the inside cabinet, shut off all water supply to the appliance before disconnecting any hoses, wear protective eyewear and clothing when necessary, and don’t be afraid to call in a washer repair professional when needed.
Direct Drive Motor Coupling
If your washer isn’t spinning, and it’s a top load, you should first check the direct drive motor coupling. This part connects to the motor to the transmission and consists of two drive forks and a rubber coupling. Everyday wear and tear use will damage the connection at the coupling and eventually, the forks may not engage the transmission. A common sign of a failed motor coupling is a washing machine that fills but will not agitate or spin. Most models will require you to remove the cabinet to access the drive coupler. If it is damaged, it will need to be replaced.
Door Lock & Interlock
The door lock, or interlock, is a safety feature installed on front-loading washing machines, and some top load washers, which stops the door from opening while the machine is in operation. The system consists of the locking mechanism on the machine and a door strike on the door. The locking system also includes a switch that will indicate to the control board or timer that the door is locked and the spin cycle can engage. If the door lock fails, it may not lock the door, or the door lock switch might not engage. This will stop the washer from agitating or spinning. Visibly inspect the door lock mechanism, and if it looks okay, use a multimeter to test the switch. You should also check the door strike to ensure that it engages the door lock assembly properly. If anything is not working, the door lock/interlock will have to be replaced.
If your washer isn’t spinning, it could be the lid switch. This switch prevents the motor circuit from working when the lid is open. Check for the lid switch between the main top, where there will be a projection on the lid or a pin that will activate the switch when the lid is closed. Inspect the switch assembly for damage or wear, and check that it is operating properly. If needed, you can remove the wires from the switch (reminder: always unplug the appliance before servicing) and check the switch with a multimeter. If it’s not working, it needs to be replaced. Remember, the lid switch is an important safety feature and should be working properly during any use.
If your top load washer isn’t spinning, another component to check is the clutch assembly. Like any clutch assembly, time and use can wear down the components inside, resulting in a scraping sound. A worn out clutch might prevent your washing machine from spinning or cause other problems like slow drain speed. You might notice that your clothes are a little extra wet, even after the spin cycle. Inspect underneath the washing machine: a sign of a worn out clutch is dust or shavings, or a burning smell during the spin cycle. Check your clutch for signs of wear, and if it needs to be replaced, use the manual to make sure you purchase the right replacement part. The clutch is typically located below the outer tub and attached to the basket drive assembly.
Drive or Spin Belt
The washer’s drive belt connects the drive motor to the transmission in top load washers or the drive motor to the wash basket in front load washers. If your washer does not spin, you should examine the drive belt for signs of overheating or excessive wear. Before removing or replacing any damaged belt, you should inspect that any belt tensioning device (idler pulley, motor glide) is moving 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 stopping the movement of the agitator. Also check for signs of oil or water leakage onto the belt or pulley area. On front load washers, you can also check that the tub will turn easily by hand. Always use the correct replacement belt as the size and coverings are imperative to proper performance. Disconnect power from the appliance before attempting any repairs.