Appliance Outlet Service - Maintenance, Care and Repair Help

Washer Troubleshooting Guide

Most washer repairs turn out to be simple repairs.  Anything from a broken lid switch to a worn out belt will stop the operation of your washing machine.  Use the guide below to help you solve you repair problem.  These are simple to follow repair instructions.  If you need further help visit our Free Help Forum or use our Live Technicians to get the specific help you need.

Washer Not Spinning

The spin cycle is used to extract the more washer from the clothes then draining the water alone.  If you have a Kenmore or Whirlpool style washer your machine has a drive coupler that attaches to the motor and connects to the transmission to spin the tub.  Most every other style washer has a belt that connects the motor to the gear box.

Lid Switch

The first thing to check when your machine is not spinning is the Lid Switch.  The washer will not engage the spin cycle if the machine thinks the lid is open.  This is a safety to protect you from loosing fingers or breaking your arm.  A common complaint for this is, "My washer will not spin or drain".

Top Load Washers - Kenmore and Whirlpool Style


  • ACTUATOR - On the lid of the washer there is going to be anLid Switch Actuator actuator (looks like a little finger) that hangs off.  This pin goes into a hole around the brim area where the lid shuts.  Check to make sure the Lid Switch Actuator has not broken off or is bent.
  • LID SWITCH - The pin on the lid pushes on the lever of the lid switch to tell the machine that the lid is closed. Sometimes the lever on the switch wears out and hangs too low for the pin to push.  This is a result of a cracked lid switch housing.  When you look into the hole the pin goes into, the lever of the lid switch should completely block you from seeing in the hole.  If you take a flat head screwdriver and push on the lever through the hole, you should be able to hear a tiny clicking sound every time you push it.  Sometimes the arms on the lid switch will break completely off.

Testing the Lid Switch - Whirlpool and Kenmore Style

  • To Test this style of switch is rather easy.  First you must accessWhirlpool and Kenmore Lid Switch the plug under the control panel that connects the switch to the wiring harness.  Watch this video on getting under the control area.  Once you locate the plug for the lid switch you will see 3 wires going to it.  Unplug the switch from the wiring harness.  Test the two grey wires for continuity when the lid is closed.  You are testing the plug on the cabinet of the washer.  If the switch shows an open circuit when the lid is shut then the switch is bad.

Motor Coupler

The coupler is the piece that connects the motor to the transmission. Direct Drive Motor Coupling This is what's known as the Direct Drive system.  When the coupler breaks, the motor is unable to spin the transmission.  The washer will still drain because the water pump is connected directly to the motor on the opposite end as the coupler.  When this is broken, a common complaint is, "My washer drains, but it won't spin".  Checking the coupler on this type of machine is simple.  You can see it from under the machine.  Tilt the washer back and rest it against the wall.  Look up under the bottom and locate the motor. Now look between the motor and the transmission.  That is the location of your coupler.

Washer Not Filling

Water Valves - Every washer has what's called water inlet valve.  These are where theWater Valve or Water Inlet Valve water supply from the house attach to the washing machine.  You connect the hoses to the valve with fill hoses.  The inlet or water valves are usually on the back of the washer.  The fill hoses should have screens installed in them to prevent debris from entering the valve and causing it to stick open or closed. Sometimes these valves are called mixing valves, because they essentially mix the cold and hot water together to create "warm" water.  Another common term is water solenoid.

To Test the Water Valves - When you select the  hot water option on your wash cycle only one side opens and lets water through.  If you select the cold water option, the other side would open.  So it is possible that only your cold or hot water may not work if there is a malfunction in the mixing valves.  To test this when your washer is not filling, first make sure the water supply is turned on.  Next you want to check and make sure the screens are not plugged with dirt and mineral build up.  This requires removing the fill hoses from the water supply and the washer to check the screens.  If that all checks ok, then you need to make sure you are getting voltage to the valves when you turn the washer on to start a wash cycle.  If you select cold, the corresponding valve should be getting 120Testing Resistance of the Water Valve volts AC.  Likewise with the hot water side.  If you are getting voltage and not water then replace the valve.  If you want to check the resistance and not the voltage.  Just unplug the wires to the valve and check the terminals on each solenoid like the picture to the right.  You should have around 500 to 1000 ohms between the terminals.

Pressure Switch - It is possible that the hose going to the pressure switch may have become plugged.  This will prevent the water valves from getting voltage.  How the pressure switch works is pretty simple.  There is a small hose attached to the outer tub.  This tube runs up to your water level switch(pressure switch).  As water fills the tube when the tub is filling it pushes air against a diaphragm inside the switch.  The more water that fills the tub, the more pressure is pushed against the switch.  That's how the machine knows if there is a little bit of water or a lot of water in the tub. Little water equals little pressure and a lot of water means more pressure inside the switch.  Make sense?  Read it a couple times it will.

Washer Over Filling

Okay, back to the pressure switch.  Depending on when the hose got plugged, if the tub was full or empty will affect the symptoms of a plugged pressure switch hose.  When a washer overfills most of the time it's a plugged hose.  To check this and make sure the pressure switch hose is not plugged you just simply need to blow through it.  Blow through the hose from the switch side so you are blowing air into the wash tub.  Gain access to under the control panel and remove the hose from the back of the load size switch and there you go.  At first it may be hard to force air through but it will go.  Once the you can move air through the hose connect it back to the switch and test the washer on a small load.  If this doesn't work, check the hose for any holes and make sure it's connected at both ends.  If that doesn't work, replace the pressure switch.

If the washer keeps filling even when you shut the timer off, you need to replace you water valve.  One of the solenoids have become stuck open and even without voltage will allow water to flow through.  This is for the complaint of, "the only way I could stop the water was by shutting off the water going to the washer".

Washer is Leaking

Image shows some common leak areasLeak Locations

A washer can leak from a number of places.  Some common places are the tub seal and the water pump.  Most common out of those two is the water pump.  To check this, all you need to do is find the water pump on your machine.  On Kenmore and Whirlpool style washers the pump is attached directly to the drive motor.  The best way to see if the pump is leaking is to either remove the front panel or the whole cabinet depending on which style you have.  Once you have a clear view of the pump, turn on the water and pinpoint where the leak is coming from.  Once you have identified the leak that will tell you what you need to do to repair the problem.  Maybe your pump is leaking or you have a hose that's loose.  You will never know until you get under there and look.

Washer is Not Draining

Water Pump - The water pump is what your washer uses to remove the water from the wash tub.  Some washers have an electric one and some washers have a pump that is connected to one side of the motor.  The most common reason a washer will not drain is because something has become lodged in the pump and will not allow water to go through.

Electric Pump - To test an electric water pump is not a complicated task.  It only has two wires running to it from the control timer or control board.  When you put the washer in spin cycle you should  have 120 volts AC to the pump.  To test this you will need to use a Multimeter.  If youfrigidaire washer water pump are getting voltage to the pump and the water is not draining you need to check the pump for any restrictions.  This will require you to remove the hoses from both ends of the pump.  Anything could be stuck in the pump from coins to the underwire of a bra.  That would be the most common reason for the no drain complaint.  If there is nothing blocking the impeller from spinning then you will have to replace the pump.  So if you have voltage and no drain and no restrictions, replace the pump.

Direct Drive Pump - This type of pump is connected directly to the drive motor for the spin cycle.  This means it has no wires going to it.  So if this washer is not draining then it might not be spinning either and the main motor could be bad or you could have a bad lid switch.  If howeverDirect Drive Pump the washer is spinning and not draining then there is something blocking the water from getting into or out of the pump.  To check this you will have to remove the pump from the motor and make sure nothing is inside creating a restriction or preventing the water from flowing.

Washer Not Spinning
Washer is Not Draining
Washer is Not Filling
Washer is Over Filling
Leaking Washer
Direct Drive Repair Manual (Download)
Direct Drive Repair Manual
Frigidaire Washer Repair Manuals
Water Pump
Direct Drive Coupler
How Pressure Switches Work
How Water Valves Work
Getting Inside and Parts Locations
  • Kenmore Style (See Whirlpool)
  • Whirlpool Style
  • Maytag Style
  • GE Style
  • Frigidaire Style