A washing machine is often taken for granted. We realize just how much when we are staring at a tub full of dirty water and clothing when it goes on the fritz. If the washing machine stops working, most households would be in bad shape. Learn how to troubleshoot common problems with this appliance so you can quickly address one if it arises.
You will need:
Step 1: Unless otherwise noted, turn off the power to the appliance by unplugging it from the electrical outlet or turning off the appropriate circuit breaker. Also, have a pencil and notebook handy to record where each wire is connected prior to removing it.
Step 2: If the washing machine will not run, use the volt-ohm meter (VOM) to test the outlet where the appliance was plugged in and inspect the power cord to identify damage. If everything seems ok, the timer might have gone bad. Remove the leads from the timer, adjust the VOM to RX100, and probe the leads. If the reading is not between 1,100 and 3,000 ohms, replace the timer.
If the timer is fine, open the washer control panel and locate the harness plug feeding the lid switch. Disconnect this plug, set the VOM to RX1, and probe the two non-green terminals on the wires that lead to this switch. The reading should be zero when the lid is closed and infinity when the lid is open. If it is not, replace this switch.
Step 3: If the washing machine tub will not fill with water, inspect the inlet hoses for kinks and follow Step 2 to verify that the timer and lid switch are not bad. If all seem ok, move on to inspect the water level switch. This is located within the control panel and has a clear tube attached. Set the VOM to RX1 and probe all three terminals in all pairings possible. One pair should have a zero reading and all others should have an infinity reading. If not, replace the water level switch.
Step 4: If the tub fills with water but the water will not drain, verify that the drainage hose is not clogged or kinked. If it seems fine, inspect the pump for a clog. The pump is located on the side of the motor and has a drainage tube attached. Put a towel under this area to catch excess water. Use the screwdriver to pry off the retaining clips that hold the pump to the motor shaft. Check the pump to identify obstructions.
If the pump is not clogged, the drive belt might be loose or could have gone bad. If it appears loose, loosen the motor mount bolt with the wrench and tighten the belt tension by pulling back the motor. Once tension is restored, have a helper tighten the motor mount bolt.
If the belt has broken, loosen the motor mount bolt. Turn the appliance onto its side and remove the bolts that hold the braces and pump. Remove the holding post bolt and spacer from the front of the appliance and remove the clutch spring. Install a new belt over the pulleys and replace the spacer, bolts, and spring. Turn the appliance upright and follow the process to tighten the new drive belt.
Step 5: If the washer will not agitate, verify that clothing is not wrapped around it and check the drive belt, timer, and lid switch. If all seem to be operating properly, the transmission or agitate/spin solenoid may be bad. Contact a professional repair service.
Step 6: If the washer will not spin, the clothing load may be too heavy or unbalanced. Remove some clothing, balance the load in the tub, and try the spin cycle. If it still will not spin, check the drive belt, timer, lid switch, transmission, and agitate/spin solenoid.