My washing machine won’t spin: quick fixes

A washing machine can stop spinning for a multitude of reasons. Some require simple fixes; for others, you'll need to get to know your machine a bit better.

My washing machine won’t spin: quick fixes

Top-loading issues

1. Uneven load distribution

  • For a top-loading machine the problem might be as simple as uneven load distribution, in which case all you need to do is redistribute the load evenly around the tub.

2. Lid problem

  • Another common top-loader problem is when the machine’s lid doesn’t shut properly and, therefore, doesn’t activate the switch.
  • If you can get the spin back by pushing the switch with your finger, the lid is the likely culprit; often you can fix this by adjusting the lid as you close it. (The switch itself might be defective, but you can’t always tell by pressing it, as there may be other reasons for the absence of spin.)

Drainage problems

Any type of washing machine can stop spinning because of a blocked drainage tube.

  • If the machine can’t drain properly, it won’t start the spin cycle.
  • If your machine is full of water and won’t spin, this is a definite possibility.
  • This problem is usually pretty easy to fix; just remove the drainage pipe and clear it of whatever is blocking it, then put it back in place.

In front-loading machines, a clogged pump may also prevent water drainage and spinning, in which case cleaning the pump filter and trap may be the solution.

Motor troubles

If these fixes don’t work, the problem may be associated with your machine's motor.

  • Basic appliance repair jobs are doable with some simple tools and the right replacement parts. Just remember that using non-brand parts can void your warranty, so it’s always preferable to source replacement parts from the manufacturer.

You can make the job easier by locating a diagram of your washing machine that shows and labels its various parts. Your user manual is a good bet; alternatively, try your machine manufacturer’s website.

Other parts that may be broken

Belt: Most washing machines have at least one belt somewhere in their machinery, and if a belt is broken or worn, the machine may stop spinning.

Carbon brushes: In washing machines that have carbon brushes on the motor (most models have two), the machine will stop spinning when the brushes get worn down.

Motor coupler: Another simple problem that affects the motor is called a motor coupler, a small plastic-and-rubber device that wears out over time and can eventually fail to work altogether.

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