This DIY repair guide explains how to replace the compressor start relay on a freezer. The compressor start relay helps start the freezer compressor. A broken relay—which may rattle when you shake it or have burn marks—can keep the compressor from running. Replace the compressor start relay with the manufacturer-approved replacement part.
Follow these steps to replace the compressor start relay on common Kenmore, Frigidaire, Crosley, Gibson, White-Westinghouse and Kelvinator chest freezers.
Disconnect the electrical power
Unplug the freezer or shut off the circuit breaker for the freezer.
Remove the grille cover
Pull the control knob straight off of the cold control thermostat.
Remove the screws securing the compressor grille cover to the freezer cabinet.
Hinge the grille cover down to access the back of the cold control thermostat.
Squeeze together the 2 locking tabs that secure the cold control thermostat to the compressor grille cover and release the cold control thermostat from the grille.
Pull off the control knob.
Remove the screws.
Release the thermostat from the grill cover.
Disconnect the wires from the compressor start relay
Squeeze the wire harness plug to release the locking tabs and remove the wire harness from the compressor start relay.
Disconnect the start relay wires.
Remove the compressor start relay
Release the wire retainer from the compressor start relay.
Grasp the compressor start relay firmly and pull it out of the connection terminals on the compressor.
Release the wire retainer.
Remove the start relay.
Install the new compressor start relay
Position the new compressor start relay next to the compressor and line up the terminal prong connections.
Push the compressor start relay onto the compressor terminal prongs.
Reinstall the wire retainer on the start relay.
Install the new relay.
Reinstall the wire retainer.
Reconnect the wires to the compressor start relay
Push the wire harness plug into the start relay. Make sure that the locking tabs snap into place.
Plug in the wire harness.
Reinstall the grille cover
Position the cold control thermostat on the compressor grille cover and push it into the grille cover. Make sure that the locking tabs on the cold control thermostat snap into place on the grille cover.
Position the control knob on the front of the cold control thermostat and push the control knob down on the stem of the cold control thermostat.
Position the compressor grille cover properly on the freezer cabinet and secure it using the mounting screws.
Attach the cold control to the grill.
Reinstall the grill.
Reinstall the grill cover screws.
Reinstall the control knob.
Restore electrical power
Plug in the freezer or turn on the house circuit breaker to restore power.
The compressor start relay starts the compressor. If the compressor won’t start, follow these steps to replace a defective compressor start relay.
The cold control thermostat regulates the freezer temperature. A defective cold control thermostat can prevent the compressor from cycling on or off. Follow these steps to replace a defective cold control thermostat.
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