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Whirlpool Washer How to Repair Replace Lid Switch

Updated on July 9, 2011

Identify Your Washer

Whirlpool makes Kenmore, Kitchen Aid, Estate, and Kirkland brand of washers. These instructions are for these models made by Whirlpool. Click here to identify your Kenmore Appliance.

Please observe and follow are safety recommendations for working on washers..

These instructions are for direct drive washers manufactured by Whirlpool. There are a couple of lid configurations but the lid switch replacement depicted here should work on these models.

Belt drive washing machines are engineered completely differently and these instructions are not meant to be for belt drive machines. If you want information about belt drive machines, please ask the question.

Lid Switch, notice the hold down screws
Lid Switch, notice the hold down screws
Lid Switch Hole in Case and Actuator
Lid Switch Hole in Case and Actuator

Diagnose a Bad Lid Switch

It is fairly simple to diagnose a bad lid switch.  It is a safety device that does not allow the washer to spin or pump with the lid open.   Closing the lid actuates the switch and allows the motor to run in the drain and spin cycle.

There are several possible problems with the lid switch:

  1. The switch is loose or misaligned
  2. The actuator is broken
  3. The switch lever is broken
  4. The switch internal parts are broken
  5. The switch wiring harness has come unplugged

Symptoms of a bad or inoperable lid switch:

No Spin

The machine does everything else, but will not spin or drain.   On some models, the high agitation is also cut out with the lid switch.

LId Switch Wiring Plug
LId Switch Wiring Plug
Lid Switch View from Underneath
Lid Switch View from Underneath
Lid Switch Views from Underneath
Lid Switch Views from Underneath

Replace or Realign the lid switch

Your next step is determined by your diagnosis.   The good news is that the repair is fairly inexpensive and easy.   The bad news is that it takes some time and replacement requires removal of the case.

You need the instructions for gaining service access to direct drive machines.  Detailed instructions for that portion of the repair are located here.

If the actuator is broken, it can be replaced without the case removed.    All other problems require at least a minimum of gaining access to the control panel.  Remove the hold down screws and lift the control panel on its hinges.

Inspect the lid switch wiring harness.  If it is plugged in, then that is not the problem.

Test the Lid Switch

This test requires observation of safety rules and following them carefully.   Unplug the washer.  This test can result in electric shock.   Electric shock is not a good thing.

Double check, the machine must be unplugged.

You need to test the continuity of the lid switch.  Click here to see simple instructions for operating a VOM (Volt Ohm Meter) to check for continuity.

Locate the lid switch wiring harness plug in connector.  This is located under the control panel near the front and near the center on the top of the case.   There are three terminals.  The center terminal is a ground terminal.  The left and right terminals are the hot leads.  Test continuity on these two terminals.  With the lid open, there should be no continuity.  With the lid closed, there should be 100% continuity.  If the continuity changes with the lid open then closed, then the lid switch is working properly.  

The most likely scenario is that there is no continuity in either position.  Replace the Lid Switch. 

Caution:  A lid switch should never be defeated or by-passed.  A washing machine that does not stop when the lid is opened, is dangerous.  The centrifugal force of the movement can cause severe injury and result in catastrophic injury.

If you defeat a safety device such as a lid switch, you are creating severe risk to the users of the machines.

New Switch Properly installed
New Switch Properly installed

Install New Lid Switch

Remove the case.   The switch is held in place with two screws that go through the case just under the lid where the actuator goes through the case.  Remove the two screws.

The wiring harness includes a green wire that is attached to the case with a 5/16 nut.  Remove that nut.  The wiring harness runs along the edge of the case and it threaded through the case to a wiring connector.  Clips along the edge hold the harness in place and run inside of a protective sleeve.  Remove the wires along the edge by prying the clips enough to allow the wire to slip through the retaining clips.  The wiring plug can be removed from the case by depressing tabs on either side of the plug.

Install the new wiring harness and lid switch by reversing the process.  Replace the case, the job is done.


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    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      @whitton I really write these repair hubs with the hope that someone can really use the information and photos to repair their own machine. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great comment.

    • whitton profile image

      whitton 6 years ago

      This is a great Hub Steve. I love your step by step directions and the pictures to go along with it.

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      @electricians swansea Thanks for stopping by, glad you found it useful.

    • profile image

      electricians swansea 6 years ago

      Thanks for the information an excellent post!

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      @Lisa HW Thanks for reading it! If you have trouble in the future, I hope you find some answers in one of my hubs.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Steve, I read this one just out of curiosity because we had the Whirlpool switch "issue" with our washer. I guess I "related" to the title, even if I don't happen to have the problem right now. :) I called in a repair guy because neither of us had a clue that what was wrong with the machine could be something that simple and obvious. :/ I had visions of having to replace the whole machine.

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      PegCole17 Glad to have your comments and reading. Remember that this is a safety device, use great caution when opening the lid during the spin cycle, do not reach in while it is turning at any speed. Replace the part as soon as possible.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hey SteveoMc, Recently my washer lid switch stopped working so I took the Washer model number to a local repair shop and found out the correct replacement part. Ordered it on eBay and got it just fine. Still waiting to install it (hmmm) so in the interim I just use an orangewood stick poked in the opening. Fast term fix but it requires the lid to be open.

      Good article on washer repair. Now I don't need to write it if I ever install my replacement part. Hahaha

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Dana, just add a couple of safety pins, bobby pins, duct tape, and a hammer and you got yourself a universal repair kit.

    • danatheteacher profile image

      Dana Rock 7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Haha, first comment. Great hub Steve. I actually had to fix the washer this summer and could have used this hub!!! My solution involved several zip ties.