Unexpected flashing lights on your appliances are never a good sign! They often indicate an error, and it can be difficult to know exactly what they mean. So if you’ve noticed the lock light flashing on your Whirlpool washer, you might be worried it indicates a serious problem. Don’t panic just yet, however! Our easy-to-follow guide will walk you through the most common causes of a Whirlpool washer with a flashing light, as well as some easy fixes for the issues.
This guide applies to all major models of Whirlpool washers, including:
What Does a Flashing Lock Light Mean?
So, what does a flashing lock light indicate? In most cases, it means that there is an issue with the way your Whirlpool washer is sensing the door lock mechanism. It could be sensing it as open even though it’s firmly closed, or it could be having electrical issues. Let’s look a little closer at what can cause this.
For Top Loaders—A Lid Switch Issue
In top-loading machines, the lid has a lid switch which detects whether or not the washer lid is closed. This stops the washer from spinning and agitating while the lid is open. This is important as it prevents accidents caused by touching the machine’s interior while it is operating. It also prevents water from splashing out while the machine is operating, which can make a mess and also cause damage to the flooring and surrounding drywall. When there’s an issue with the lid switch, your washer may interpret that the lid is open incorrectly, which triggers the lock light to flash.
To diagnose if this is the issue, first visually inspect the switch for any obvious damage. Also, listen for an audible click when you close the lid. The absence of a click indicates an issue. Lastly, use a multimeter to test the lid switch for continuity—a lack of continuity means the switch needs replacing.
To solve the issue:
- Thoroughly clean the switch—grime and debris can prevent it from closing properly.
- If the switch appears loose or incorrectly aligned, try tightening any connections or bending it back into place.
- If the switch appears completely nonfunctional, replace it with a new one. You can order a replacement part from an online appliance parts retailer. Make sure you disconnect the power and consult your Whirlpool manual before beginning any repairs.
For Front Loaders—A Door Latch Issue
In a front loader, the door latch prevents leaks and stops the door from opening while the washer is operating. The washer won’t begin a cycle when the door is not locked. If the lock light is flashing but the door appears to be closed, it indicates an issue with the door latch.
To diagnose this issue, check the latch for any grime or debris that might be stopping the latch from fully engaging. Also, listen for an audible click when you close the door.
To fix the issue:
- Thoroughly clean the door latch. Front loaders are more prone to mold and mildew buildup in the latch area, so sometimes a thorough cleaning with a cloth will be enough to solve the issue.
- If the latch appears faulty or damaged, it may need replacing. You can disconnect the old latch and install a new one in its place. When ordering a replacement part online, make sure it’s compatible with the make and model of your Whirlpool washer.
The Child Lock/Control Lock is Activated
The child lock feature on a Whirlpool washer is designed to prevent children from using the washer unsupervised. When the washer is activated, the child lock means that it can’t be opened and the cycle can’t be changed. If the lock light is flashing, it could mean that the child lock is activated accidentally, and you’ll need to remove the lock before continuing.
To fix this:
- First, check to see if the child lock is activated. There will usually be a small lock symbol displayed on the display.
- Press the Control lock button and hold for 5 seconds. This will usually be enough to unlock the control panel.
- If this doesn’t work, try a hard reset. Unplug the washer from the outlet or flip the circuit breaker corresponding to the washer. Leave the washer unplugged for at least 5 minutes to reset the machine.
If your home experiences a power surge or other type of power fluctuation, then it can cause your Whirlpool washer to malfunction. This can include a flashing lock light. If you’ve been out of your house, it’s possible that your home experienced a power surge or power outage without you knowing about it, so it’s worthwhile investigating whether this is the issue.
Fixing this issue is as simple as resetting your washer. To do this:
- Unplug your washer from the power or flip the circuit breaker in your home that corresponds with the washer’s power outlet.
- Leave it unplugged/disconnected from the power for at least 1 minute.
- Reconnect the machine and see if this has cleared the error message.
Control Board Issues
If nothing else works to fix the issue, there may be a problem with the control board. It can be costly and difficult to replace the control board of a washing machine, so only do this if your washer is in otherwise good condition. If it is getting old or has other issues, you should think about replacing the machine instead.
- Purchase a replacement control board from an appliance retailer.
- Follow the instructions in your manual to remove the old control board and replace it with the new one.
- Ensure you only attempt this if you are confident with electrical DIY. If you’re at all unsure, you should hire a professional instead.