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Troubleshooting Your Washing Machine

Updated on March 24, 2020

Nobody Can Avoid This Problem

Sooner or later, even with very new machines, something will go wrong with your washer, regardless of brand. Of course, certain brands will have less service calls than others, its called the reliability factor. Consumer Reports did a study that showed LG and Bosch were the most reliable (less service calls), while all of the American brands were generally good, with Whirlpool being the best. The worst was Samsung, almost poor, as to reliability. That said, any brand will have bad ones, some right of the box. Others, just after their one year warranty. Call it planned obsolescence by the manufactures that know how long major parts will last. That is why most only offer a one year warranty on them!

What is your problem?

Calling a repairman will automatically cost $80-100 for the house call, then the time to diagnose and repair (labor) with parts (cost of parts). It can easily surpass the cost of the machine new. It will help reduce the bill if you pay attention to what the machine does, its symptoms and convey this to the repairman when he arrives. He will then start testing there instead of of wasting time on other tests that are not needed.

Most Common Problems

1. Start cycle won't begin - Check the Lid Lock mechanism failed. The lock may be failing due to debris or the electronic part has failed. This part is not much more than $12. Another potential place is the UI board itself that has failed. Electronic testing is needed. If the board failed, the cost is usually $200+.

2. Won't Fill - Possible solutions include turn on the water, plugged filter screen, drain hose not installed correctly, a valve problem, or main control problem.

3. Overfill - If your tub is getting too much water, check pressure hose for water level, valve problem, washer may need calibration, pressure switch or onboard transducer failed.

4. Agitator does not agitate- If the center agitator is not turning in a wash, possible causes are lock lid LED on during cycle, bad or broken drive belt, bad harness connections, drive system shifter broke or failed, main motor is bad, tub speed is out of normal range.

5. No spin - is lock lid showing it is open (not locked?), bad drive belt, bad harness connections, and others listed in #4.

6. No drain - possible causes are bad drain hose installation (make sure it is not inserted more than 4" into drainage pipe, make sure there is an air gap between drain pipe and drain hose), make sure that the drainpipe height is 39" high and 8" above the floor, check that drain pipe is not clogged, check harness connections.

Poor Wash Performance

New washers use less water on purpose. The onboard computer will determine how much water to fill based upon the weight of the load. Many times, the water is minimal if the clothes are light weight, Normal wash usually fills the tub half full, while Deep Water Wash, will bypass settings and fill the tub to max for that model.

The machine uses HE soap, which is highly concentrated, so putting in too much will leave clothes in a bad way. There should be a minimum of suds, its not like the old days. Just follow the directions.

If you are unhappy with the wash, it could be your fault due to:

  • Too much detergent being used
  • Improper load distribution in the tub
  • Incorrect water level selected by you or the machine
  • Clothes are very damp after wash indicates overloaded washer tub, too much detergent, cold rinse water is greater than 105F, shifter is not shifting in motor
  • If load is not rinsed or clothes not clean, check proper water supply, failed to use HE detergent, washer not loaded correctly (that is, weight is evenly distributed)


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