How to Fix a Washing Machine: 10 Common Problems

Image of a washing machine

Are you experiencing some issues with your washing machine? If so, getting down to the root of the problem may not be as difficult as it seems. Typically, the first instinct it to panic whenever washing machine issues arise. We understand this response because washers are a staple appliance in modern homes, and the idea of a broken washer when a pile of dirty laundry awaits you is enough to worry any homeowner.

Don’t let a broken washing machine ruin laundry day. You may be surprised at how easy it may be to solve your washer troubles. Sometimes the cause of the problem is not the washer itself, but the habits we form like adding too much detergent or not cleaning out the washer regularly. By taking a look at some of the most common washing machines problems homeowners experience, you can diagnose your washing machine issue and be well on your way to a perfectly functional washing machine again.

Some common washing machine problems are:

1. Shaking and Vibrating

Washer Shaking and Vibrating Repair - Washer Repair Toronto

Is your washing machine shaking and vibrating more vigorously than usually? This could be caused by a number of issues. Maybe your machine washing is sitting evenly. What’s interesting is that your machine may only be off by a few milliliters, but this may cause it to be unbalanced. It could also mean that a spring or some other part of the internal shock absorbing apparatus is loose.

2. Noisy During a Cycle

Washer Noisy During a Cycle Repair - Washer Repair Toronto

While many modern washing machines run a lot quieter than older versions, your washing machine will make some noise during a normal cycle. However, if you notice that it is making more noise than usual during the rinse or spin cycles, it could mean that the motor is faulty and may need to be replaced. It may also be an indication that something is lodged within the internal parts of the washing machine.

3. Machine Not Spinning

Washer Machine Not Spinning - Washer Repair Toronto

If you notice that the spin cycle is not engaging, it could mean that the motor has burnt out and needs to be replaced, or a load sensor may have malfunctioned and is sending incorrect readings to the machine, which will interfere with your machine’s normal cycle and disrupt the spinning cycle.

4. Machine Not Turning On

Washer Machine Not Turning on - Washer Repair Toronto

Washing machine not working? If your machine does not respond when it is switched on, it could mean that there is some loose wiring or a far worse problem, like the logic board not working. It’s important that you find out what the cause is quickly to eliminate the possibility of a dangerous hazard. It could very well mean that the circuit has tripped on the panel. But be sure that the washing machine is actually plugged in before trying to debug.

Another common reason why this may be happening is an issue with your washing machine not getting power. A sure way to tell if your washing machine is receiving power is to use a multimeter to check the outlet voltage. If this shows that electricity is being fed into your washer, check your electrical panel to see if any circuit breakers have tripped.

If none of the breakers have tripped, it could be that the problem is with the outlet itself. Turn the breaker off and place a service call to have an electrician replace the outlet and find out what the problem is.

In response to an overheated washer motor, the washer will shut down to allow time for the motor to cool. If this happens once or twice it may not be anything to worry about. However, if it is a repeated problem, then it’s important to dig a little deeper to find out what is causing the motor to overheat.

5. Water Not Draining Properly

A draining issue can create quite a mess. The cause of drainage problems can range from something as simple as a clog in the drain hose or something more complicated, like a broken pump.

  • Drain hose – this is often one of the problems that cause a draining issue. To fix this, remove the hose from the water supply and inspect it, looking for any signs of clogs. You can use a garden hose to try to flush out any debris lodged inside the hose.
Water Not Draining Properly - Washer Repair Toronto
  • Drain pump – if you think that your drain pump is at fault or jammed, you will need to drain the washer tub and then disconnect the hoses and inspect them to see if there are any foreign object lodged inside. Another thing you need to check out the pump inlet. There may be need to remove the pump from the washer to be able to inspect it thoroughly. Problems with your pump may cause it to jam. In this event, the motor will continue to run and try to turn the pump. If your pump is driven by a belt, the belts will either break or burn out. It may also cause the pulley to break. If the motor continues to run with tension on the belt, the problem can escalate and cause the motor to seize completely. Another possibility could be that the bearings on the pump could be jammed by a pen, coin or other loose item. Foreign objects and detergent can also cause your pump to malfunction. Too much detergent will result in too many studs and cause draining issues.

6. Machine Will Not Spin or Agitate

If your washer is not spinning correctly you may need to open the cabinet to inspect it and determine what the problem is. One of the issues may be a load that is too large. This will cause the washing machine to become unbalanced and overwhelm the machine. This disrupts the spin cycle and will require that the clothes be evenly distributed within the tub. This is a simple fix. All you need to do is reduce the load for each cycle so that your washer can balance the load correctly. Other causes could be:

  • Switches and settings – inside the cabinet near the door is the lid switch, which is a safety feature designed to keep hands from being placed inside a spinning tub. If the switch is not working, it may prevent the water from running. In this case, the switch will need to be replaced.
Machine Will Not Spin or Agitate- Washer Repair Toronto
  • Belts – there are several belts in a washing machine that can deteriorate over time and break. If you begin to see signs of wear and tear on your belts, replace them as soon as possible with new ones. If the problem you’re experiencing with your washer is due to a broken belt, make sure that the pulley is still working. If it is, it could very well mean that it is not responsible for the issue because a seized pulley often causes the belt to break.
  • Motor – the motor is what causes the spin and aggregation of the washing machine. It uses a clutch to do so. If there is very little aggregation, or none at all, the splines connecting the aggregator to the drive shaft may be damaged and in need of replacement. If you think the problem may be the transmission or the clutch, contact a technician and have them look into the problem.

7. Leaking Washer

If you’ve had a leaking washer before then you know just how messy this problem can be, and worse, how expensive the repairs that follows can be. Quite often the fix is fairly simple but you need to go through the process of elimination.

  • Drain hose – should the root of the problem be an issue with the drain hose, you may find that your drain hose may begin to leak. If your washer only leaks during the spin cycle, the problem is most likely the drain holes. To fix this, inspect the connections on the hose to make sure that they are secured correctly. Then inspect the drain hose to make sure it is in good condition and doesn’t have any cracks or other signs of damage. Then, you want to check the drain hose for clogs. Check the place where the hose attaches to the washer to make sure that there aren’t any cracks that could cause leakage.
Leaking Washer Repair - Washer Repair Toronto
  • Fill hose – these can sometimes be the problem. You want to check your fill hoses to make sure that they are in good condition and steadily in place. While you want them to be secure, make sure that they are not too tight.
  • Water inlet valve – check this for leaks. You may find that there is a buildup of rust or mineral deposits inside the valve that make it not function optimally. The valve could also have reached the end of its life and need to be replaced.
  • Too much detergent – if you have hard water and use a water softener, the problem you may be facing could be due to over sudsing. Too many suds can cause a leak. Simply reduce the amount of detergent you’re using and this will solve the problem.

8. Detergent Not Being Dispensed

If your washing machine has an automatic detergent dispenser and it is not dispensing any detergent into the tub during a cycle, there are a couple reasons that could be causing this:

Detergent Not Being Dispensed - washer repair toronto
  • the dispenser needs to be cleaned – there’s often a buildup of detergent in the dispenser that requires frequent cleaning. By cleaning out the dispenser on a monthly basis with some warm distilled white vinegar, you can clear out the dispenser quite easily. Simply pour the vinegar into the dispenser and then run your washer through a regular cycle. This will flush out any buildup or clogs.
  • using the wrong type of detergent – this will also cause an issue with the dispenser. Your washer is designed to run on a particular type of detergent. If your washer is designed to take liquid bleach, a powder bleach will cause an issue and clog up the dispenser. Be sure to read through your machine’s manual in order to use the products best suited for your washing machine.

9. Washer Smells

This happens more often than many people realize and is one of the prominent front load washing machine problems. Your washer can develop a musty or mildew smell around it that indicates that there is mould or bacteria growing somewhere. Inside the tub is dark and moist, which attracts mould and bacteria. What this simply means is that your washer needs to be cleaned out periodically. There are some washers that are more susceptible to this kind of buildup than others. Over time the smell will get stronger and if it is not treated, the mould and bacteria will spread to your laundry. A good practice is to clean your washing machine on a monthly basis and be proactive about any unusual smells. Check for any visible signs of mould or mildew around your washer.

Washer Smells - Washer Repair Toronto

Using too much detergent can create a source of food for mould and bacteria to feast on. Remember that hot water is a good way to dissolve any biofilm in your washer. So using a hot wash or soak during your last load can be an effective preventative measure.

10. Washer Not Finishing a Cycle

This is common but also an easy problem to fix. If you find that your washer is running and continues to run a cycle but does not end it, you most likely have a problem with the timer. To fix this, remove the control panel and inspect the timer to ensure that its contacts are intact. If they are, you will need to remove the defective timer and replace it with a new one.

Washer Not Finishing a Cycle - Washer Repair Toronto

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve received calls from customers panicking because their washing machine stopped working. Fortunately, washers are built to last and maintenance is minimal.

As you can see, there are solutions you can try on your own. However, if you have trouble getting your washer back up and running, simply call a qualified appliance technician with experience in washing machine troubleshooting.

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