January 5, 2015

10 must-have tools for appliance repair

By Sears PartsDirect staff
These 10 tools are a must-have for appliance repair.

If you’re considering repairing your broken appliance on your own, be sure you have the proper tools for the job. 

While some repairs demand specific tools, many just require basic tools you might already own. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 tools every do-it-yourselfer should have.

  1. Screwdriver set. Make sure you at least have a slot and a Phillips screwdriver. Many appliances use Torx screws. Consider buying a cordless drill/driver and a screwdriver bit set with various sizes of Torx, slot and Phiilips driver bits so you can remove any type of screw.

  2. Nut driver set. It's a good idea to have both metric and English sizes because some appliances use metric fasteners.

  3. Wrench set. You'll need combination wrench sets in English and metric sizes. A socket wrench set also comes in handy for many repairs.

  4. Adjustable open-end wrench. Just as its name suggests, the jaw on the wrench is adjustable to accommodate various sizes of nuts and bolts.

  5. Multimeter. A multimeter measures electrical properties and is essential for diagnosing electrical problems. Our How to Use a Multimeter to Test Electrical Parts Video help you understand safe testing procedures when using a multimeter.

  6. Pliers. Needle-nose pliers are perfect for gripping small pieces; they also can bend or cut wires. Use channel-lock pliers to loosen water hose fittings on washers and dishwashers. Standard pliers can help you easily release hose clamps.

  7. Putty knife. Not just for spreading putty, this tool is very useful for scraping or prying..

  8. Work gloves. Even the simplest repairs can expose you to sharp edges or hot surfaces, so wear work gloves to protect your hands.

  9. Safety goggles or glasses. Safety eyewear is a necessity for protecting your eyes from particles or chemicals during repairs.

  10. Thread-sealing tape. Use this thin, white tape on some threaded pipe fittings in appliances to prevent leaks.

Symptoms common to all trash compactors

Choose a symptom to see related trash compactor repairs.

Main causes: bent drawer support rollers, damaged trash container
Main causes: stripped or broken power nuts, broken or disconnected drive gear and sprocket chain, damaged drive parts
Main cause: faulty drawer tilt switch
Main causes: lack of power, faulty drawer safety switch, bad power switch, momentary start switch failure, bad drive motor, wiring failure
Main causes: stuck foot pedal, bad momentary start switch, power switch failure
Main cause: broken top limit and directional switch
Main causes: broken drive gear and sprocket chain, stripped power nuts, faulty top limit and directional switch
Repair guides common to all trash compactors

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your trash compactor.

How to replace a trash compactor motor centrifugal switch

If the trash compactor ram won’t return to the top position, replace the motor centrifugal switch by following the instructions in this repair guide.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
How to replace a trash compactor momentary start switch

The momentary start switch starts the motor when you lift the foot pedal. This repair guide shows how to replace the switch if it stops working

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
June 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a trash compactor power switch

If the trash compactor won’t power up, use the steps in this repair guide to replace the power switch.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all trash compactors

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your trash compactor.

January 6, 2015
Troubleshooting a stuck trash compactor drawer
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn what to check if you are having problems with the drawer sticking on your trash compactor.

December 26, 2014
Preventing trash compactor odors
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Here are helpful tips for keeping your trash compactor clean and fresh.

July 1, 2014
Trash compactor common questions
By Sears PartsDirect staff

See what questions our experts most often get about trash compactors.