Troubleshooting Common Washing Machine Problems - DIY Fixes
Learn how to diagnose and repair the most common washing machine issues on your own. Covers problems like not starting, not spinning, leaking, strange noises and more. Includes tips for maintenance and extending the life of your washer.
Washing machines have become an indispensable appliance in modern households. Since being introduced in the early 20th century, washing machines have evolved from manual, hand-cranked machines to the high-tech smart washers we know today. A well-functioning washing machine saves time and effort by automating the drudgery of washing clothes. However, like any appliance, washing machines can sometimes malfunction.
This blog post will explore some of the most common washing machine issues and provide troubleshooting tips to get your washer working again.
Washing machines can develop a variety of issues that prevent them from functioning properly. Here is a detailed look at some of the most common problems and how to troubleshoot them:
Issue 1: Washing Machine Not Starting
If your washing machine will not start at all when you press the start button, there could be several possible causes:
Power Supply - One of the first things to check is whether the washing machine is getting power. Make sure it is plugged in securely and the outlet is functioning properly by testing it with another appliance like a lamp. Also check your home's circuit breaker or fuse box and reset any tripped breakers related to the washing machine circuit.
Lid Switch - Most top loading washing machines have a lid switch that prevents the washer from running if the lid is open. This is a safety feature. If the lid switch is faulty, it will prevent the washer from starting. To troubleshoot, unplug the machine and access the lid switch, usually located right under the lid on the frame. Use a multimeter to test for continuity. If there is no continuity, the lid switch needs to be replaced.
Start Button - The start button on the control panel can also fail over time. To check, unplug the washer and access the back of the control panel. Locate the start button and detach the wiring. Test for continuity using a multimeter. If there is no continuity when the button is pressed, the start switch needs replacement.
Control Board - The control board is the computer brains of the washing machine. It could fail to send voltage to components necessary for starting the wash cycle. Carefully inspect the control board for any burnt out circuits or broken connections. If damage is present, the control board will likely need replacement.
If your washing machine goes through the cycles but leaves water in the drum at the end, there is a drainage problem:
Drain Hose - Check that the drain hose is not kinked, clogged, or positioned higher than the washer drum. Straighten or unclog the hose if needed. Make sure the hose is no more than 8 ft high.
Drain Pump - Most washers have a drain pump that pushes the water out during the spin cycle. If faulty, the pump may not fully drain the water. Access the pump, often under the washer, and inspect for debris blocking the impeller. Test the pump motor for operation. If defective, replace the entire drain pump assembly.
Drain Filter - Many modern washers have a small drain filter to trap lint and debris. Over time this filter can become clogged, preventing drainage. Locate the filter, usually along the front bottom panel of the washer. Remove and clean the filter thoroughly.
Unusual noises coming from your washer typically signify an underlying mechanical problem:
Drive Belt - The drive belt spins the washer drum. A loose, worn, or defective belt can produce loud squeaking or squealing noises. Unplug the washer, access the belt, and inspect it thoroughly for cracking or excessive wear. Replace the belt if defective.
Drum Bearings - Worn out drum bearings make rumbling, grinding noises from friction. To access the front drum bearing, remove the front panel. The rear bearing requires removal of the rear panel. Inspect bearings for wear and replace any defective ones.
Drain Pump - A bad drain pump often produces a constant loud humming sound. Unplug the washer and check the pump capacitor, valves, and mounting for issues. Replace the entire pump if necessary.
Tub Shock Absorbers - The tub shocks reduce banging and vibration in the spin cycle. Broken shocks cause a loud banging noise as the tub hits the cabinet. Inspect mounting brackets and replace any damaged shock absorbers.
Leaks can stem from a variety of sources on a washing machine:
Door Seal - The rubber door seal keeps water contained in the tub. With age, seals become cracked or torn, leading to leaks. Carefully inspect the seal for any gaps, cracks, or tears that allow water to escape. Replace the seal if worn.
Hoses - Either the hot or cold water supply hoses can leak from age and wear. Check along all hoses for moisture or dampness. Tighten hose connections if loose. Replace any hoses that are swollen, cracked, or burst. Turn hoses every few months to prevent kinking.
Drain Pipe - The drain pipe expels water from the washer during operation. If the pipe has become disconnected or developed cracks, water will leak out. Check that all drain pipe connections are tight and that the pipe itself has no cracks or punctures along its length. Replace if needed.
Tub - An actual hole or crack in the outer tub allows water to leak out of the cabinet. Unfortunately, this usually requires replacement of the entire tub, which is not typically a DIY repair. Contact a technician for tub replacement.
If the tub does not spin adequately to wring out clothes, the main culprits are:
Drive Belt - A broken or loose drive belt prevents the tub from spinning properly. As in the noise issues, inspect the belt and replace if stretched, damaged, or detached.
Motor Coupler - This small plastic device connects the drive motor to the transmission. If broken, the motor will spin but not the tub. Replace the coupler if defective.
Transmission - The transmission uses gears to transfer drive power to the tub for spinning. Issues inside the transmission prevent this transfer of power. Have the transmission replaced by an appliance repair technician.
Door Lock - For safety, the tub will not spin if the door has not properly locked. Check the door lock mechanism for any issues preventing the door from fully locking before the spin cycle initiates. Repair or replace parts as needed.
By methodically inspecting each potential issue, you can accurately diagnose and fix common washing machine problems. Proper maintenance and usage will help minimize these types of breakdowns. But with time and wear, repairs and replacements are inevitable.
Regular maintenance keeps your washer running smoothly:
● Clean the washing machine monthly by running an empty wash cycle with hot water and vinegar.
● Use a water softener if you have hard water, and use detergents made for high-efficiency washers.
● Inspect hoses and drainpipes periodically and replace them if worn.
● Avoid overloading the washer, which puts strain on components.
While washing machine breakdowns can be frustrating, many common problems like not starting, not spinning, leaking, and strange noises often have simple solutions. With basic troubleshooting and maintenance, you can get your washer running again and extend its life. But don't hesitate to call a professional appliance repair technician for complex repair issues.