July 20, 2015

How to replace the compressor start relay in a top-freezer refrigerator

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the compressor start relay in a top-freezer refrigerator

This refrigerator repair guide explains how to replace the start relay in a top-freezer refrigerator. The compressor won't run if the start relay fails. The relay sends current to the motor start windings to boost motor torque to start the motor, and to the motor run windings. Once the motor starts, the relay continues to send current to the run windings, but cuts off current to the start windings. A defective start relay won't send current to the start windings, run windings or both. The start relay includes an overload component that shuts off all current to the motor if the motor overheats. A defective overload trips when the motor isn't overheated, preventing the motor from starting. Replace the defective compressor start relay with the manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Use this repair procedure to replace the compressor start relay in Kenmore, Frigidaire, Electrolux, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Amana, GE, Samsung, LG, Gibson, Crosley, Bosch and Haier refrigerators.

Quick links
Tools required
Work gloves
Nut driver set
Slot screwdriver
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
15 minutes or less
How to replace a top-freezer refrigerator compressor start relay repair guide video.

Replacing a refrigerator compressor start relay video.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Shut off the power

    Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

  2. 02.

    Remove the rear compartment cover

    Pull the refrigerator away from the wall.

    Remove the screws from the rear compartment cover and then remove the cover.

    Remove the cover screws.

    Remove the cover screws.

    Remove the rear cover.

    Remove the rear cover.

  3. 03.

    Remove the compressor relay

    Pry off the wire retainer holding the start relay on the compressor.

    Disconnect the wire harness from the start relay.

    Pull the start relay and run capacitor off the compressor.

    Pry off the wire retainer.

    Pry off the wire retainer.

    Disconnect the wire harness.

    Disconnect the wire harness.

    Pull out the start relay.

    Pull out the start relay.

  4. 04.

    Install the new overload/ptc relay

    Transfer the run capacitor from the old start relay to the new start relay.

    Plug the new start relay with capacitor into the compressor terminals.

    Plug the wire harness into the new start relay.

    Reinstall the wire retainer to hold the start relay on the compressor.

    Pull the capacitor off the old start relay.

    Pull the capacitor off the old start relay.

    Install the capacitor on the new start relay.

    Install the capacitor on the new start relay.

    Plug in the start relay.

    Plug in the start relay.

    Connect the wire harness.

    Connect the wire harness.

    Reinstall the wire retainer.

    Reinstall the wire retainer.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the rear compartment cover

    Position the rear compartment cover on the back of the refrigerator and reinstall the mounting screws.

    Reinstall the rear compartment cover.

    Reinstall the rear compartment cover.

  6. 06.

    Restore electrical power

    Plug in the refrigerator and push the refrigerator back into place.

Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs or maintenance, however, should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all refrigerators

Choose a symptom to see related refrigerator repairs.

Main causes: leaky door gasket, defrost system failure, evaporator fan not running, dirty condenser coils, condenser fan not running
Main causes: blocked air vents, compressor problems, condenser or evaporator fan not working, control system failure, sensor problems
Main causes: water valve leaking, frozen or broken defrost drain tube, overflowing drain pan, cracked water system tubing, leaking door seal
Things to do: clean condenser coils, replace the water filter, clean the interior, adjust doors to prevent air leaks, clean the drain pan
Main causes: damaged door seal, faulty defrost sensor or bi-metal thermostat, broken defrost heater, bad defrost timer or control board
Main causes: blocked vents, defrost system problems, evaporator fan failure, dirty condenser coils, bad sensors, condenser fan not working
Main causes: jammed ice cubes, broken ice maker assembly, dirty water filter, kinked water line, bad water valve, freezer not cold enough
Main causes: control board or cold control failure, broken compressor start relay, compressor motor failure, defrost timer problems

Repair guides common to all refrigerators

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

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If the temperature in your refrigerator doesn't match the temperature you set, the problem could be the temperature control board—a service technician can give you a definite diagnosis. If the board is at fault, follow these steps to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
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Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your refrigerator.

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