January 6, 2015

Troubleshooting a stuck trash compactor drawer

By Sears PartsDirect staff
What to check if a trash compactor drawer is stuck.
What to check if a trash compactor drawer is stuck.

Trash compactor is hard to open

Food spills inside the trash compactor drawer can build up on the slide and rollers. Remove the drawer from the cabinet and clean the tracks and rollers with a mild detergent or degreaser. Completely dry the components, then apply a household lubricant to the tracks and rollers to keep them moving freely. Replace any broken pieces.

Trash compactor drawer doesn’t open at all

The drawer won’t open if the ram is not completely raised. If you have a key-knob model, turn it to Start and then release. If you have push-button controls, press Off and then On. If the ram doesn’t go up, check for broken or stripped gears. Also check for a broken drive belt or drive chain and replace any broken parts. 

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: lack of power, faulty drawer safety switch, bad power switch, momentary start switch failure, bad drive motor, wiring failure
Main causes: broken drive gear and sprocket chain, stripped power nuts, faulty top limit and directional switch
Main causes: stripped or broken power nuts, broken or disconnected drive gear and sprocket chain, damaged drive parts
Main cause: broken top limit and directional switch
Main cause: faulty drawer tilt switch
Main causes: stuck foot pedal, bad momentary start switch, power switch failure

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
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
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

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.

December 16, 2015

Using a wiring schematic to trace a current video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Find out what’s wrong with your appliance by following a circuit.

December 9, 2015

How to read a wiring schematic video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to decipher symbols so you can buy the right part for your problem.

December 26, 2014

How to load a trash compactor

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn the proper way to place your trash in your trash compactor.