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How to repair a washer that's not spinning

How to repair a washing machine that's not spinning

If you're dealing with soggy clothes and your washer's spin cycle keeps stopping, don't worry—we can help. Asurion Experts are experienced with every major appliance, including washing machines, and can help you get yours back up and running fast. Here's their guide on how to repair a washer that won't spin.

My washing machine won't spin; how can I fix it?

Here are a few common reasons a washer won't spin:

  • The washing machine is too full.
  • The load is improperly balanced.
  • The washer itself isn't balanced correctly.
  • The lid switch is broken.
  • The motor is burnt out.
  • The belt is broken.

We'll break each of these issues down in detail shortly. First, you should determine if your washing machine is not able to spin at all, or if it shuts off mid-spin-cycle. To find out, you can listen and feel the outside of the washer, or open the lid during the spin cycle (for top-load machines) to see if the drum is in motion. Make sure there's no laundry in the machine while performing this check.

When washers have spin cycle issues, they often won't go through the drain cycle either. So if your washing machine won't spin or drain, the same troubleshooting steps should work.

Causes for a washer that won't spin properly

The washing machine is too full

When your washing machine is overstuffed, it may fill but not spin. Some washer models have automatic detectors to tell you if you've overfilled your washing machine, but many don't. The machine generally won't recognize the issue until the washer has filled with water. If that's the case, unfortunately, your only solution is to remove some of the soggy clothes.

The load isn't balanced properly

If you're trying to wash only a couple of heavy items, your washing machine may not spin or may not spin effectively. This often occurs when you're washing things like a comforter or shoes. Open the machine and shift the items around to balance the washing machine load, and your washer can spin more effectively. Adding more items to help balance a load can be effective, too, as long it doesn't overfill the machine.

The washer isn't balanced correctly

You'll probably know if your washing machine isn't balanced, because it will make a lot of noise and vibration as it goes through its spin cycle. An uneven surface can cause issues for all sorts of washers, since it allows the machine to rock and move while agitating. Some front-loading washers can even sense if they're not balanced properly, and won't spin as a safety precaution—so if you have a front-loading washer that won't spin, this is one of the first things you should check for. If you find that your washing machine isn't well-balanced, you can generally adjust the washer legs to fix it. Use a level to make sure it's done correctly.

The lid switch isn't working properly

The lid switch determines whether the lid is closed properly and, as a safety feature, is designed to keep your washer from spinning if not. While on most models the washer won't spin at all if the lid switch isn't working, some models will allow the washer to fill but not spin.

If you're dealing with a top-loading washer not spinning, an impaired lid switch is one of the most common causes and should be one of the first things you check, especially if your issue is a top-loading washer that fills and agitates, but doesn't spin properly. You can find the lid switch underneath the lid, on the top of your machine. Check to see if it makes good contact, or if it's bent. You may be able to bend the switch back into shape, or you may need to have it replaced.

The drainage is poor

Normally, your washing machine won't go into a spin cycle until it's been drained. The drainage hose may become clogged with debris from your clothing, or it could be kinked. If the hose is kinked or crushed, it will likely need to be replaced. If it's clogged, you can take a few steps to clean it:

  • First, unplug the washing machine.
  • Then, pull the washer out from the wall to access the hose, typically located at the back.
  • Disconnect the drain hose from the back (it will be the largest hose in diameter, and connected to a drain pipe)—have a bucket nearby to catch any water draining out.
  • Remove the other end of the hose from the pipe it drains into.
  • Now, you can use a wire hanger to insert into the hose and remove whatever is potentially clogging it.
  • When done, reattach the hose to the washer.

The motor is burnt out

Your washing machine drive motor may have burnt out, preventing the spin cycle from functioning properly. If the drive motor isn't working, your washing machine may have issues mid-cycle when it tries to spin, even though the machine fills and agitates without trouble. Replacing the drive motor is an advanced repair, so if you suspect this is your issue, it's best to call a local washing machine repair technician for assistance.

Issues with the drive belt

If the washer drive belt is broken or falls off of its wheel, the washer may still be able to agitate and make noise, but the drum won't spin around. To check the drive belt, first unplug your washing machine. Then, remove the back of the washer to see if the belt is still on the pulley system. If the belt has slipped off, you may be able to put it back into place to resolve your issue. However, if the belt appears worn or broken, you'll need to purchase and install a new one.

Washing machines can be fairly complicated, so don't risk injury to yourself or your appliance by attempting an advanced fix yourself. If you've tried all our tips to figure out why your washer is not spinning and still can't find a solution, an appliance expert can help.

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