Sewing Machine: Won't turn on

A power supply failure, bad outlet cord or a failed On/Off switch can prevent the sewing machine from powering up.

Check the power supply first. Plug a lamp or other small appliance into the electrical outlet that you're using for the sewing machine to make sure the outlet works. If the electrical outlet is dead, reset the house circuit breaker for the outlet. If the outlet still doesn't work, try using a different outlet to power the sewing machine.

If the electrical outlet is okay, unplug the sewing machine and check the outlet cord for damage. Replace the cord if it's damaged.

If the outlet cord is okay, check the On/Off switch for continuity using a multimeter (with the sewing machine still unplugged). With the switch turned to the 'on' position, the meter should measure near 0 ohms of resistance through the On/Off switch. If the meter measures infinite resistance, replace the On/Off switch because it's preventing the sewing machine from getting power.

sewing machine

These repairs may help solve your sewing machine problem

Replace the sewing machine On/Off switch

Replace the sewing machine On/Off switch

The On/Off switch turns on the work light and sends power to the foot pedal. Unplug the sewing machine and check the On/Off switch wiring if the light switch doesn't work. Replace the on/off switch if it's defective.

April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine on/off switch

If your sewing machine light bulb won't come on even with a new bulb, the on/off switch could be to blame. This DIY repair guide and video explain how to replace a sewing machine on/off switch in about 30 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the sewing machine outlet cord

Replace the sewing machine outlet cord

The outlet cord attaches to the On/Off switch to provide power to the sewing machine. Examine the outlet cord regularly for damage. Broken wires in the outlet cord prevent the sewing machine from getting power. Replace the outlet cord if it's damaged or broken.

Symptoms common to all sewing machines

Choose a symptom to see related sewing machine repairs.

Main causes: machine needs lubrication, internal gear failure
Main causes: disengaged clutch, broken drive belt, internal drive gear failure
Main causes: problems with the feed dogs, setting stitch length to 0
Main causes: faulty foot pedal, locked drive gears, wiring failure, bad drive motor
Main causes: dirty shuttle race, wrong thread tension, bad needle timing, damaged needle, using the wrong type of needle
Main causes: power supply failure, bad power cord, faulty On/Off switch
Main causes: lack of lubrication, lint buildup, worn drive belt, faulty drive motor
Main causes: thread bunched up in the shuttle race, bad needle timing, internal drive gear failures
Main causes: dirty shuttle race, improper thread routing, incorrect thread tension
Repair guides common to all sewing machines

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

April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine drive motor

If the drive motor on your sewing machine runs roughly or doesn't run at all, you can replace it in about 30 minutes using these simple steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine on/off switch

If the sewing machine is completely dead, replace the On/Off switch using these 6 steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine drive belt

You can replace a broken sewing machine drive belt in about 15 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all sewing machines

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

January 18, 2016
How to use a multimeter to test electrical parts video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to use a multimeter to check for wiring problems in an appliance that's not working

April 20, 2015
How to clean and maintain a sewing machine video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Discover the basics of cleaning and oiling your sewing machine, and how to protect it when not in use.

April 15, 2015
How to stop sewing machine thread from bunching under fabric video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

See what to check if the thread is bunching under the fabric as you sew.