DIY Washing Machine Repair: Essential Tips and Techniques for Common Problems

Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by Pro Handyman Editorial Team

Comprehensive Guide to DIY Washing Machine Repair

Even without prior experience, resolving common issues with your washing machine can be straightforward. This guide will equip you with the knowledge to troubleshoot and rectify 90 percent of common washer malfunctions.

Time, Tools, and Savings of Washer Repair

Your washing machine, while appearing complex, contains specific components. Possessing some essential tools and understanding the steps we’re about to present, you can solve most problems independently, bypassing the service call cost, which generally varies from $80 to $150.

While we don’t aim to cover every possible fix, the instructions will help you address most washer issues, like those familiar with Maytag or Kenmore washer units. You’ll require a socket set or nut drivers, screwdrivers, and a flashlight. Generally, repairs can take as little as an hour. However, it’s wise to dedicate a full morning to diagnosing the problem, securing the necessary parts, and completing the repair.

For parts sourcing, you can search online for “appliance parts,” especially if you are dealing with specific models like Maytag or Whirlpool.

Savings of Washer Repair

Washing Machine Styles and Accessibility

There are several styles of washing machines. We’ll focus on two of the most common washer styles: Whirlpool-Type and Maytag-Type units.

Whirlpool-Type Washer

For Whirlpool and similar brands, the outer cabinet lifts off completely, enabling you access to all the parts. First, remove the side trim pieces and retaining screws. Then flip the console up and release the spring clips with a screwdriver. Lastly, tilt the cabinet forward and lift it off.

Maytag-Type Washer

For Maytag and similar brands, the front and back panels are removable. To remove the front panel, yank the bottom of the panel outward. You may need first to remove the screws. Then, pull the panel down and out.

Essential Precautions Before Starting Repair

Before beginning any testing or repairs, ensure that your washer is unplugged. Remember that unplugged cords and tripped breakers are among the common causes of appliance “breakdowns.”

Common Washing Machine Problems and Solutions

Let’s explore some common issues and how to resolve them.

Resolving Grinding Noise

A grinding noise may indicate a problem with the pump. It’s a simple fix that requires removing the pump and replacing the broken coupler. Remember to disconnect the electrical connectors from the motor before proceeding.

Dealing with Draining Problems

Draining problems can be caused by clothing or jewelry getting stuck in the hose to the pump or in the pump itself. To resolve this, remove the hose from the tub to the pump and check for any obstructions. If there’s any damage to the pump or the belts, replace them.

Slow Fill or No Fill

Suppose your washing machine fills slowly or won’t, consider cleaning the inlet screens on the water valve. If cleaning doesn’t help, the entire water valve assembly may need to be replaced.

The washer Won’t Agitate or Spin

The lid switch may be broken if the washer doesn’t agitate or spin. You’ll need a continuity tester or multimeter to test the switch. If the switch is faulty, replace it accordingly.

Comprehensive Guide to Washing Machine Repair

In the daily hustle of modern life, a well-functioning washing machine is crucial in keeping our clothes clean and ready. However, like any appliance, washing machines occasionally encounter issues affecting their performance. Instead of immediately dialing up an expensive technician, we will guide you through identifying and resolving these problems with easy-to-follow steps.

Washing Machine Failures: No Start

The most fundamental problem occurs when your washing machine doesn’t start. It might be due to a simple disconnection of the power supply or something more complicated.

Washing Machine Failures

Ensuring Power Supply

Begin by checking if the machine is plugged in. The vigorous movement of the washing machine, especially during imbalanced loads, may cause the machine to move and inadvertently unplug the power cord. If the power cord is intact but tied up, untie it for more flexibility.

Resetting Circuit Breaker

In case the machine is still not starting, check your circuit breaker. If the circuit breaker to the washer has been flipped off, reset it by moving the switch to the “OFF” position, then back to the “ON” position.

Checking the Lid Switch

For front loader washers, inspect the lid switch strike, which communicates to the machine when the door is closed correctly, permitting it to fill with water. For top loader washers, test the lid switch by engaging it manually with the blunt end of a pen. If functioning correctly, the washer should begin filling, regardless of the lid position.

Cleaning Efficiency: No Removal of Debris

Occasionally, you might find that your supposedly clean clothes are still covered in lint, hair, and other light debris after a complete cycle. This could be due to a variety of reasons.

Avoid Overloading

Avoid overloading your washer. An overly full washer needs more space for clean rinse water to remove detergent and debris. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific load maximums.

Adjusting Detergent Quantity

Excessive detergent can redeposit lint and debris back onto your clothes instead of removing them. Experiment with less detergent to ensure a more effective clean.

Segregating Pet Products

Wash pet-related items such as blankets, cat and dog beds, and chew toys separately from the rest of your laundry. If the pet load is filthy, consider cleaning the washing machine tub manually afterward.

Functional Issues: Machine Not Spinning

The most common issue here is that the washing machine’s basin has been drained of water but refuses to spin, which is crucial for wringing water out of the clothing before drying.

Redistributing Clothing

If the machine halts due to imbalance, redistribute the clothes within the washing machine tub. Loads that include high-absorption materials like towels, sheets, and thick clothing must be more balanced.

Redistributing Clothing

Leveling the Machine

Next, check the machine’s level on the floor. An out-of-level machine will stop spinning as a safety precaution. Use a bubble level to assess and adjust the machine’s level if necessary.

Checking Drainage

Inspect the drainage system and the drain hose for any blockages. Small items may clog up the machine’s drainage system. If a clog is found in the drainage hose, remove it carefully to allow proper drainage.

Noise Issues: Loud Noises during Operation

If the washer makes thumping, grinding, or thunking noises during the agitation or spin cycles, there are a few possible reasons.

Lubricating or Replacing Tub Bearings

The tub bearings may need lubrication if the washing machine produces a squeaking sound. If the noise continues, the bearings, located directly below the tub, may contain 9,176 characters. Example Diagram

We’ll use a simple diagram to explain some of the parts involved in common washing machine issues. Here’s a basic diagram of a washing machine structure.

Keeping Your Washing Machine in Top Shape

Just as regular check-ups keep you healthy, routine maintenance can prevent many common washing machine issues. Here are some tips to keep your machine running smoothly:

  1. Regularly check your hoses: Inspect the hoses for cracks, leaks, or signs of wear at least once a year. Replace the hoses every five years or sooner if you notice any damage.
  2. Clean your washing machine: To remove detergent residue that can clog your machine and leave your clothes less than fresh, run a wash cycle with a washing machine cleaner or a mixture of hot water and vinegar once a month.
  3. Don’t overload your machine: Washing too many clothes at once can strain the motor and throw off the balance of the machine, causing it to vibrate or ‘walk.’ Always empty about 25% of the drum space so the clothes can move freely.
  4. Use the right amount of detergent: Too much can create excess suds that can damage your machine’s components and leave residue on your clothes. Check your machine’s manual to see how much detergent it recommends.
  5. Level your machine: If it is not level, it can vibrate, ‘walk,’ or tip over. Check the machine’s level periodically and adjust the legs as needed.
  6. Protect your machine during a move: If you need to move your washing machine, drain it, disconnect it, and secure the drum, following the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent damage.

Washing Machine in Top Shape

When to Call a Professional

While many washing machine problems can be resolved with some knowledge and elbow grease, sometimes it’s best to call a professional. Here’s when to seek help:

  1. When the machine doesn’t turn on: If you’ve checked the power supply and the machine still won’t start, the problem may be with the machine’s motor or electrical system.
  2. When the machine doesn’t drain or spin: If your machine fills with water but won’t drain or spin, the issue might be with the pump or drain hose.
  3. When the machine is leaking: A leaking machine can cause water damage and potentially create a dangerous situation. If you can’t locate the source of the leak, call a professional.
  4. When the machine makes unusual noises: If your machine is making loud noises during the spin cycle or at other times, there could be an issue with the motor or drum.
  5. When the repairs are complex: If your machine needs a new motor, drum, or other major part, it’s best to let a professional handle the installation.


Your washing machine is an essential home appliance, and understanding how it works can help you keep it in good condition and tackle shared problems. From simple issues like an imbalanced load to more complex problems like a malfunctioning motor, washing machine repair has many potential causes.