Washer Not Spinning? 7 Things to Check

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If your washer will not spin, there is no need to panic, as this guide will take you through the most common causes of the issue. If a defective part is responsible, it is usually the motor coupling, drive belt, or door switch/lock. However, before testing or replacing specific parts, it pays to consider the easy-to-fix causes first.

This a generalized guide and steps can vary by brand and model.

1. Make Sure the Load Is Balanced

On a top-loader washer, the washer may not spin if the clothes are not evenly placed around the agitator. When there is an imbalance, perhaps because clothes have gotten caught up on one side of the tub, the motion of the washer is disrupted, which affects the spin cycle. For the same reason, the washer itself also needs to be level.

2. Reset the Washer

If your washer is not spinning, resetting the washer motor may get the spin function working again. Reset instructions will vary from washer to washer. Some top-loader washers can be reset by disconnecting the power for one minute, reconnecting the power, and then lifting the lid six times. On other washers, there may be a reset switch or instructions for how to reset the washer in the washer’s manual.

3. Check for a Blockage

A blockage, such as a build-up of lint in the drain hose, will often cause the washer to stop spinning. Before continuing down this list, check your drain hose and make sure it is not a water drainage issue that is stopping the washer from spinning.

4. Check the Motor Coupling (Top-Loader Washers)

The motor coupling attaches the motor to the transmission. It is made up of two white plastic coupler parts and a rubber isolator piece that fits between them. Normal wear and tear or an overloaded washer can cause the motor coupling to break. If the motor coupling breaks, the washer will not spin. When repairing the motor coupling, it is recommended that you do not remove the clutch, as this can be difficult to put back after the brake disengages.

Follow these steps to check and replace the motor coupling:

  1. Disconnect the washer from the power source.
  2. Turn off the water, and if necessary, disconnect the external hoses to gain access to the rear of the washer.
  3. On most top-loader washers, you will need to remove the control panel to gain access to the retaining clips that secure the washer frame; then remove the washer frame.
  4. To access the motor, the pump will need to be removed. Unclip the retainer clips, and pull the pump off the motor shaft.
  5. Disconnect the motor wiring harness.
  6. Remove the two screws that hold the motor retainer clips in place.
  7. Inspect the motor coupler for damage.
  8. If the motor coupler is damaged, remove and replace it.

5. Check the Drive Belt

The drive belt is responsible for rotating the tub. If the drive belt becomes too loose or it breaks, the washer will not be able to spin. A loose drive belt can be tightened, but if worn or broken, it should be replaced.

Follow these steps to inspect and replace the drive belt:

  1. Unplug the washer from the power source.
  2. Turn off the water supply to the washer. You also may want to disconnect the hoses to provide easier access for the repair.
  3. Depending on the washer, remove either the back access panel, top access panel, or both to access the drive belt.
  4. Check that the drive belt is secure and not damaged. You can check if the belt is too loose by pressing down on the belt with your thumb. If you can easily get more than a 1/2 inch, it is not tight enough. Depending on the condition of the belt, you should replace it or tighten it by tightening the mounting nut.
  5. If you decide to replace the drive belt, turn the tub drive pulley, and the belt should fall off.
  6. To install a new drive belt, put one end of the new belt around the motor pulley and place the other end on the tub drive pulley. Rotate the tub drive pulley to secure the new drive belt. Purchase a drive belt install tool and/or use a wire-tie to help install a new drive belt.

6. Check the Lid Switch (Top-Loader Washers)

The lid switch is a safety measure that prevents the washer from spinning while the lid is open. On most top-loader washers, you can usually hear the lid switch click when you close the lid. Not being able to hear it click indicates that it needs to be replaced. If the switch is activated mechanically, it can be tested with a multimeter to determine if it needs to be replaced.

Follow these steps to check and replace the lid switch:

  1. Unplug the washer from the power source.
  2. Locate the two screws holding the lid switch in place (usually in the top right corner where the lid would close).
  3. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver (most models) to remove the two screws that hold the lid switch in place. On other models, the top control panel may have to be removed to access the lid switch. If you are still unable to access the lid switch, the washer’s entire cabinet may need to be taken off.
  4. Remove the lid switch from the washer.
  5. Test the lid switch for continuity with a multimeter. If there is no continuity, it will need to be replaced.

7. Check the Door Lock (Front-Loader Washers)

Like the lid switch on top-loader washers, front-loader washers have a door lock that will not allow the washer to spin if defective. The door lock can be checked for a mechanical fault by listening to the clicking sound when closing the door. The door lock can also be checked with a multimeter to determine if it needs to be replaced.

Follow these steps to check and replace the door lock:

  1. Unplug the washer from the power source.
  2. To access the door lock, the boot needs to be pulled back. The boot is held in place by a metal ring clamp with a spring. Use a flathead screwdriver to reach underneath the door seal to remove the tension and lift it off.
  3. Once the ring clamp is removed, pull back the boot so that you can access the door lock.
  4. Remove the screws holding the door lock assembly in place.
  5. The door lock assembly sits on a mounting bracket. Reach inside the washer and carefully lift the door lock assembly off the mounting bracket.
  6. Disconnect the wires attached to the door lock assembly, and remove it from the washer. Some models may have a shield over the connectors that can be removed by popping it out with a flathead screwdriver.
  7. Test the door lock with a multimeter. If it is defective, replace the door lock.

On some models, removing the top panel of the washer may provide easier access to replace the door lock.

Other Less Common Causes

  • Clutch Assembly: Some washers have a clutch, which, when worn, can stop your washer from spinning.
  • Stator/Rotor: Damaged stator windings or rotor magnets can stop the tub from spinning.
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