Washing Machine Service

A washing machine is basically a big tub that repeatedly fills with water and then drains, spins to wring clothes dry, and has a device for stirring the contents up—either an agitator in the middle of a top-load machine or a rolling drum in a front-loading machine.

The four cycles that every washer performs are fill, wash, drain, and spin. Though these functions are pretty basic, a number of things can go wrong with them.

Cutaway diagram of a front-loading washing machine including internal and external parts.

Washing Machine Does Not Run

If the washer doesn’t do anything—in other words, it doesn’t operate or make any noise when set on any cycle, it may not be receiving electrical power.

If it stopped when it should have continued on to the next cycle, the machine’s overload protector may have tripped. In this case, take out some of the articles to reduce the load and let the protector reset itself. Then restart the machine. (In some cases, it may be necessary to unplug the washer and then plug it back in to reset it.)

washer lid is closed completely.

2 If the receptacle seems dead, check the circuit breaker or the fuse that serves it.

3 Check the power cord. Unplug the washer and check its cord for a break or frayed area. If necessary, replace the cord.


4 Open the lid and check the lid switch and the tab on the lid that it pushes against. Press and release the switch. If it doesn’t click when you do this, it’s probably broken. Unlplug the washer, remove the switch, test it, and replace it if needed.

Here is an excellent video on how to replace a lid switch on a top-loading washing machine:

5 If the washer still doesn’t work, the controls may be faulty. Call an appliance repair person.