How to Fix a Washing Machine That Won’t Spin

August 2, 2021
Washer Repair

When working correctly, the washer’s spin cycle should remove water from the clothes so that they dry faster. If your washer will not spin, the load may not be balanced or a part may need to be replaced. The easiest fix is to check that the load in the washer is balanced. The washer should also sit level on the floor.

The most common parts to cause the issue are the lid switch and drive belt. If you need to replace a defective part, most washing machine parts can be purchased online using the washer’s make and model number. Purchasing and replacing the faulty part yourself will likely save quite a bit of money. However, if you are not confident with washing machine repairs, you may want to use this guide to diagnose the issue and then call a trained professional.

Check the Lid Switch (Top-Load Washers)

One of the most common reasons why top-load washers will not spin is that the lid switch is defective. The lid switch is a safety measure that prevents the washer from spinning while the lid is open. You should also be able to hear the lid switch click when you close the lid. If you cannot, it most likely needs to be replaced. The lid switch should be tested with a multimeter to see if it needs to be replaced. To access and remove the lid switch, the washer cabinet will first need to be taken off.

Follow these steps to check and replace the lid switch:

  1. Disconnect the washer from the power source.
  2. To be safe, turn off the water supply to the washer.
  3. Use a Phillips-head screwdriver (most models) to remove the two screws that secure the control console to the washer. The screws can be found at the back of the washer, one on each side.
  4. Once these screws have been removed, you should be able to lift the control console back to expose the two retaining clips that hold the cabinet and the top to the back panel. Use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the retaining clips.
  5. Disconnect the wiring harness.
  6. Slide the cabinet off the washer.
  7. Raise the lid, and then use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the two screws on the inside of the washer cabinet.
  8. Locate the ground wire (usually green), and remove the screw that holds it in place with a 5/16 nut driver.
  9. Use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the two clips that secure the wiring harness tubing to the cabinet.
  10. Depress the tabs on the wiring harness socket to remove it from the cabinet. You should now have removed the lid switch and its wiring harness.
  11. Use a multimeter to determine if the lid switch has failed and needs to be replaced.

Check the Motor Coupling (Top-Load Washers)

If you have a direct drive top-load washer instead of a drive belt to turn the tub, the washer may not spin because of a broken motor coupling. The motor coupling sits on the motor shaft, connecting the motor to the transmission. It is usually made up of two white plastic triangle coupler parts, with a black rubber isolator piece that fits between them. If the motor coupling is broken, the washer will not spin. A washer that fills and drains but does not spin indicates the motor coupling may be broken. If you smell burning rubber or plastic, this also suggests the motor coupling is defective.

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 hose to gain access to the rear of the washer.
  3. On a top-load washer, you will need to remove the screws on the control panel and lift it up to access the retaining clips that hold the washer frame on. Then remove the washer frame. On a front-load washer, you may need to remove the top panel to gain access to the back panel, which needs to be removed.
  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. Be careful, as the motor is heavy.
  7. Inspect the motor coupling for damage.
  8. If the motor coupling is damaged, remove it and install a new motor coupling.

Check the Drive Belt

For both top-load and front-load washers, another common reason why the washer will not spin is that the drive belt is broken or loose. The drive belt is responsible for rotating the tub.

Follow these steps to check and replace the drive belt:

  1. Unplug the washer from the power source.
  2. Turn off the water supply to the washer and disconnect the hoses to provide easier access to the rear washer panel.
  3. Remove the back panel of a front-load washer or the front panel of a top-load washer. On a top-load washer, the top panel will need to be removed by using a putty knife to depress the springs on each side of the front of the washer – between the top and front panel.
  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 half an 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.

Door Lock (Front-Load Washers)

Like the lid switch on a top-load washer, if the door lock on a front-load washer is defective, the washer will not spin. If you close the washer door and do not hear a click, it indicates the door lock needs to be replaced. The door lock can 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 or door seal needs to be pulled back. The boot is held in place by a metal ring clamp with a spring. Use a flat-head 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 flat-head 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

If the above causes are not responsible, check and replace the following parts.

  • Motor control board (check for signs of burning)
  • Clutch assembly (replace if worn out)
  • Wax motor (front-load washers, test with a multimeter)
  • Stator/rotor (check for damage)
  • Drive motor (a loud noise or hum and a failure to turn freely indicates it needs to be replaced)

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