What to Do When Your Washer Doesn’t Spin

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Whether you have a top-load or a front-load washer, it works to wash your clothing by spinning them in the tub. During the wash process, the spinning or agitation ensures proper exposure to soapy water so your clothing gets clean. After the water is drained away, the spinning helps wring excess water out of your clothing. This means if your washing machine isn’t spinning at all, your clothes won’t get cleaned as well and they will come out of your washer sopping wet. It is a problem that needs to be fixed sooner rather than later so your washer can get back to doing an important job.

Make Sure Clothes Aren’t Jammed

If your washing machine suddenly stops spinning, the first thing you want to do is to make sure that it isn’t a bunch of clothes jammed in the machine. If the load is unbalanced, it can wedge clothing under the agitator and jam your washer. Obviously, this is most common in top-load washers, but it can happen in front load washers as well if the clothing gets jammed between the tub and the door or gasket. It is rarer, but it is still something that needs to be checked.

Unfortunately, the act of dislodging the clothing may ruin the clothes, but it means your washer doesn’t need any repair. You may want to reposition the agitator so it sits more tightly against the tub or, if you have a front-load machine, make sure the gasket isn’t damaged and sits smoothly.

Drive Belt or Motor

In order to spin the tub of your washer, it uses a belt and motor assembly to do so. On front-load washers, you can often spot a belt problem early by trying to spin the tub. If it spins easily, the belt is fine, but if it is difficult to spin, then it is likely there is a belt or motor problem. To access the belt, in top-load washers it is done by removing the front panel. In front-load washers, you will need to remove the back panel.

Once you have access to the belt and motor, you will want to make sure the belt is on the track and sits without any slack. If you notice any wear, stretching, or other damage, you will want to replace the belt. For the motor, however, unfortunately, you can only find out if it is faulty by testing it with a multimeter. Typically, if it is a belt issue, you will still hear the motor attempting to spin the washer, but if the motor is faulty, your washer may be very quiet.

Lid Switch

If you notice that your washer also doesn’t fill or stops filling randomly, you may have a lid switch issue. The lid switch is a safety device that is installed in most washers. It prevents the motor from operating when tripped so that you aren’t exposed to a spinning washer with the lid open. However, if the lid switch is faulty, it may actually be tripped even when the lid of your washer is closed.

The lid switch can be tested conclusively with a multimeter to discover if it is working or not. It is also possible to bypass the lid switch on a washer. However, you will really want to avoid doing this for anything more than testing. This safety feature is installed for a reason – to keep you safe while using your appliance. As such, the lid switch needs to be repaired rather than just bypassed before it creates a painful accident when you open your washer lid accidentally when it is still running.


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