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Washer Not Spinning

Updated on September 12, 2012

Whirlpool Washer

Is your Washer not spinning?

Is your washer not spinning? If your machine is a major brand top load washer perhaps this info will help. The problem could either be: a broken Lid Switch, a broken Belt, a broken Motor Coupling, something binding the inner tub, or a broken wire somewhere. In more extreme cases the problem could involve the Transmission or the Timer but we will focus on the basic things that you might be able to fix yourself. I will tell you what to look for and where to find it so that by the end of reading this you will feel confident in tackling the problem yourself.

The first possible cause of a washer not spinning can be found right under the lid. It is the Lid Switch. A Lid Switch is an important component of a washing machine primarily for safety reasons. Most washers will continue to wash when you open the lid but never when the washer is spinning. A top load washer can spin upwards of 1800 RPMs therefore it is very dangerous to careless people and young children.

The best way to tell if the Lid Switch on your washer is broken is to shut down the machine and eliminate any other noises disturbances close by. With the washer lid closed, lean your Ear close to the machine and open the lid slowly then close it again. You should hear a clicking sound. If you do not hear a clicking sound then the Lid Switch is defective. Lid Switches are positioned at different places under the washer's top panel depending on the age and make of the machine.

The second possible cause of a washer not spinning might be a broken belt. Some washers do not have belts but I will explain that later. A washer belt breaks due to two main reasons; normal wear or overloading. Belts are not meant to last forever so at some point in the life of your washer the belt will brake due to normal usage.

If you regularly overload your machine however, the belt will burn and break prematurely. If a belt breaks due to overloading you can tell because there will be a burning rubber smell. In both instances you will have to confirm that the belt is indeed broken by removing the front panel of the washer and visually inspecting the belt.

The third possible cause of a washer not spinning could be a broken Motor Coupling. As stated previously, not all washers have belts. Whirlpool and its affiliate brands, not including Maytag, do not use belts any longer in their top load washers. They employ a Motor Coupling made of hard plastic and reinforced rubber that sits between the Motor and the Transmission.

The Motor Coupling transfers the tork of the Motor to drive the Transmission’s gears to agitate and spin the washer. It is not hard to imagine therefore that the Motor Coupling handles a high level of stress. When a Motor Coupling breaks you can tell audibly and visually. Besides not washing or spinning the washer will make a low level rattling noise. Also if you move the machine you will see rubber dust on the floor.

Whirlpool Washer Coupling

The fourth possible cause of a washer not spinning is due to something binding the Inner Tub/Basket. This occurs when small articles of clothing, such as socks and underwear get swept over the top of the Inner Basket and gets lodged between the Inner Basket and the Outer Tub. Sometimes the article of clothes passes through and gets lodged in the water pump.Sometimes the article of clothes does not make it over the top of the Basket and gets lodged under the Tub Cover where it still binds the Basket.

If you pass your hand under the Tub Cover you might be able to feel it and pull it out. If it has gone further down the Inner Basket assembly will have to be removed In order to dislodge it. To determine if something is binding the Inner Basket you can try to manually turn the Basket by hand. Under normal conditions it should turn with a little effort. If you cannot turn it then something is binding it. At this point you should leave it to an expert unless you are extremely adventurous and mechanically inclined.

The fifth possible cause of a washer not spinning involves a variety of worst case scenarios. They include; a major mechanical failure in the washers Transmission, a broken Clutch and Brake assembly, a defective Timer, or a broken wire somewhere in the washer’s circuitry. These types of washer failures are harder to diagnose and should be left to a qualified Service Technician. One main reason is if you make a mistake and replace the wrong part you will not be able to return it to the store as most parts retailers will not risk re-stocking a part that might be damaged by a customer.

Once you have diagnosed and found the problem that is keeping your washer from not spinning you will need the parts to fix it. Before you head out to the store or go searching online you will need the model number and the company name of the machine. When changing a broken or defective part take care to observe how you removed the part so that you will not get stuck or incorrectly install the new one. Good luck in your efforts.


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