Washer: Slow or no agitation or spinning

Many components come into play when the spin basket or agitator moves, and a problem with any of them could prevent the washer from agitating or spinning.

For top-load, direct-drive washers (washers whose lid doesn't lock during the wash portion of the cycle), worn agitator dogs, a broken agitator or a failed gear case can prevent the washer from agitating. A bad clutch, worn clutch band or broken drive block could prevent the basket from spinning. A broken motor coupler, failed lid switch or bad timer can prevent this type of washer from spinning or agitating.

On top-load, vertical modular washers (washers whose lid is always locked during the entire wash cycle), a failed shifter assembly or worn drive belt can prevent the washer from agitating or spinning the wash load. Watch our video on how to troubleshoot a top-load washer that won't drain or spin for solutions for agitation and spin problems on both types of top-load washers.

Front-load washers spin or tumble the load at a slower speed to agitate the garments in the wash portion of the cycle. A broken door lock, bad motor control board or failed main electronic control board can prevent a front-load washer from tumbling. A front-load washer won't spin if it can't drain out the water so a failed drain pump can prevent this type of washer from spinning. A broken shock absorber can also prevent a front-load washer from spinning because the control will detect excessive tub vibration when a shock can't help stabilize the tub.

Electronically-controlled washers often display an error code when the washer agitate or spin the load. If your washer displays a code, look it up on our washer error code charts and follow the troubleshooting advice for that code to fix your washer.

washer

These repairs may help solve your washer problem

Replace the washer agitator dogs

Replace the washer agitator dogs

Agitator dogs are small cams, located within the top half of the agitator, that control the agitator's movements. The dogs ratchet across the gear teeth in one direction and dig into the gear teeth in the opposite direction to create agitation. If the top half of the agitator spins freely, instead of ratcheting, replace the the agitator dogs.

How to replace the agitator dogs in a top-load washer

When the top half of the agitator in a top-load washer doesn't agitate as it should, or if you can turn the agitator back and forth freely, it could mean the agitator dogs are worn out. This DIY repair guide and video show how to replace the agitator dogs in less than 15 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
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Repair or replace the direct-drive washer clutch

Repair or replace the direct-drive washer clutch

The direct-drive washer clutch assembly is mounted above the direct-drive transmission under the outer washer tub. The clutch releases the brake and allows the basket to spin. If the clutch is worn out or isn't releasing the brake properly, either repair the clutch using a clutch band kit or replace it using a clutch replacement kit. A common symptom of a worn-out clutch is wet clothes at the end of the spin cycle because the washer isn't spinning fast enough or at all.

How to replace the clutch assembly in a top-load washer

If the washer spins when the basket is empty but not when the basket is full, the problem could be the clutch assembly. These steps explain how to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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How to replace the clutch band in a top-load washer

When a top-load washer won't spin when clothes are in the basket but spins okay when it's empty, it could be that the clutch band is worn. This DIY washer repair guide and video explain how to replace the clutch band.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Replace the washer lid switch

Replace the washer lid switch

The lid switch on a top-load washer is a safety switch that detects whether the washer lid is closed. The lid must be closed when the basket spins; some top-load models require that the washer lid be closed before the washer drive motor runs. An open lid prevents some top-load washers from filling. If the lid switch isn't detecting whether the lid is closed, replace the switch.

How to replace the lid switch/lock assembly on a top-load washer

When a top-load washer won't start or won't spin, it could mean a broken lid switch/lock assembly. This DIY repair guide and video show how to easily replace the lid switch/lock assembly on a top-load washer.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
How to replace the lid switch in a direct-drive top-load washer

If your top-load washer won't spin, the lid switch might be broken. This repair guide and video explain how to replace the lid switch in less than 30 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
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Replace the washer motor coupler

Replace the washer motor coupler

The motor coupler is a flexible coupling on the motor shaft connection to the direct-drive gearbox. The motor coupler protects the drive motor from damage if the drive system seizes up. If the washer fills and drains but won't agitate or spin even though the drive motor runs (and typically buzzes), replace the motor coupler.

How to replace the motor coupler on a top-load washer

Does your top-load washer drain, but not agitator or spin? The motor coupler might be broken. This easy-to-follow repair guide and video show how to replace a motor coupler in a top-load washing machine.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Replace the washer gearcase

Replace the washer gearcase

In a direct-drive top-load washer, the gearcase drives the agitator and the spin basket.The washer gearcase has internal gears that create the agitation motion. For the spinning motion of the spin basket, it shifts the drive shaft and spins the drive tube. If the gearcase in a direct-drive washer locks up or it doesn't work properly in the agitation or spin mode, replace it. The gearcase typically makes a grinding noise and may leak oil when it's failed.

How to replace the gear case in a top-load washer

If your top-load washer won't agitate or spin, and it makes a grinding sound, the gear case might be the problem. This easy-to-follow repair guide and video show how to replace the gear case in a top-load washing machine.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Replace the washer motor control board

Replace the washer motor control board

The motor control board is a circuit-control board in a front-load washer that's usually in the bottom of the washer next to the drive motor. It monitors and controls the drive motor speed and direction for the tumble and spin actions during the cycle. If the motor doesn't run, the motor control board might need to be replaced.

How to replace a motor control board on a front-load washer

If your front-load washer doesn't spin or spins at the wrong speed, the problem could be the motor control board. This repair guide explains how to replace the motor control board in 30 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
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Replace the washer drive block

Replace the washer drive block

The drive block, which attaches to the top of the spin tube, rotates the spin basket when the washer is in spin mode. If the drive block wears out, the basket wobbles and rattles during the spin mode or won't spin at all. Before replacing the drive block, make sure the spanner nut under the agitator that holds the spin basket against the drive block isn't loose. If the spanner nut is tight and the basket still wobbles, replace the drive block.

How to replace the drive block on a top-load washer

If your top-load washer's spin basket rattles and wobbles when spinning, or if it won't spin at all, it could mean the drive block is worn. This repair guide and video explain how to easily replace the drive block.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
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Replace the washer water-level pressure switch

Replace the washer water-level pressure switch

The water-level pressure switch detects the water level in the wash tub. If the water-level pressure switch is defective, the washer won't fill properly. It could not fill at all or it could overfill even to the point of overflowing. If the pressure switch doesn't accurately detect and control the water level in the washer, replace it.

How to replace the water level pressure switch on a direct-drive top-load washer

When a top-load washer overfills with water, or when it won't fill at all, the water level pressure switch might have given out. This repair guide and video show how to replace the water level switch in 30 minutes or less.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
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Replace the washer timer

Replace the washer timer

The timer controls the component functions in the washer. Also called a cycle selector, the timer has a motor that advances the internal cams inside the timer body. The cams open and close electrical contacts to energize and de-energize components during the wash cycle. A control knob on the stem of the timer lets the user select cycles on the timer. If the timer motor does not advance or the contacts are defective in the timer, replace it.

How to replace the timer in a direct-drive top-load washer

If your top load washer doesn't advance through the cycles or gets stuck in one cycle, it's likely the timer has failed. This DIY repair guide and video show how to replace the timer in less than 30 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
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Replace the washer door lock assembly

Replace the washer door lock assembly

The door lock assembly on a front-load washer includes a safety switch that detects whether the washer door is closed, a latch and a locking mechanism. If any of these components fails when the door is open, the door won't lock; if a component fails with the door is closed, the door won't open. Replace the entire assembly if any component fails.

How to replace the door lock assembly on a front-load washer

Does the door on your front-load washer door refuse to lock? The problem could be the door lock. This repair guide and video show how to replace the door lock assembly on a front-load washing machine in 6 steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
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Repair or replace the washer drain pump

Repair or replace the washer drain pump

The drain pump removes water from the washer at the appropriate times during the wash cycle. The pump's bearing can seize, the seal can fail or the impeller blades can break. The belt on a belt-driven pumps can break, and the pulley can shear off. A humming noise when the washer is full of water is a common symptom of a failing pump. In some cases, you can repair the pump by clearing it of debris, fixing wiring failures or replacing a seal. If the pump can't be repaired or rebuilt, replace it.

How to replace the drain pump in a top-load washer

Is your top-load washer not draining? A faulty drain pump could be to blame. This repair guide and video show how to easily replace the drain pump in a top-load washing machine.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
How to replace the drain pump on a front-load washer

Is your front-load washer not draining? The drain pump might be the problem. This DIY repair guide and video explain how to easily replace the drain pump in a front-load washer.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
Repair or replace the washer spin basket

Repair or replace the washer spin basket

The spin basket is the perforated container that holds laundry during the wash cycle. The spin basket is inside the stationary outer tub. If the spanner nut becomes so loose that the spin basket doesn't rotate properly, tightening the spanner nut can often fix the problem. If the spin basket was damaged while the spanner nut was loose, replace the spin basket. Also replace the spin basket if it's scratched or damaged by an object left in a laundered garment.

How to replace the spin basket in a top-load washer

A rusted washer spin basket could leave marks on your garments. This DIY repair guide and video show how to easily replace a rusted or damaged spin basket.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the washer drive motor

Replace the washer drive motor

The washer's drive motor provides the force to rotate the spin basket. It also drives the shaft of the gearcase to move the agitator in a top-load washer. It's either attached to a drive pulley with a belt or is directly attached to the drive shaft. If the motor windings fail or the bearings on the motor lock up, the motor won't run. Replace the drive motor if it's defective.

How to replace the drive motor in a top-load washer

Top-load washer won't spin or agitate? Might be the drive motor. This washer repair guide and video explain how to replace the drive motor in top-load washing machine.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
How to replace the direct-drive motor on a front-load washer

When a direct-drive front-load washer won't spin and displays an error code, it could mean the drive motor has failed. This DIY repair guide shows how to replace the motor on a direct-drive front-load washing machine.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the washer main control board

Replace the washer main control board

The main electronic control board, also called the mother board, governs the timing and execution of the washer component functions. It controls the fill valves, the drive motor and the drain pump.

How to replace the electronic control board on a top-load washer

A failed top-load washer electronic control board can cause multiple problems, from no display lights to the washer not filling, spinning or draining. If you or a service technician determine that the electronic control is faulty, this repair guide and video show how to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
How to replace the machine control board in a front-load washer

A failed front-load washer machine control board has several symptoms, including the washer not starting, filling, spinning or draining. If you or a service technician determine that the machine control board has failed, this repair guide shows how to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the washer shifter assembly

Replace the washer shifter assembly

The shifter assembly-also called the actuator-in a top-load washer is mounted on the bottom of the gearcase. The shifter assembly's motor shifts the drive system between the agitation mode and the spin mode. A sensor on the shifter monitors the position of the drive system during the wash cycle. If the motor, sensor or mechanical parts of the shifter assembly fail, the washer stops and signal an error code. Replace the shifter assembly if it malfunctions.

How to replace the shifter assembly in a top-load washer

If your top-load washer won't agitate and displays an error code, it's possible the shifter assembly has failed. This DIY repair guide and video explain how to replace the shifter assembly on a top-load washer.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the washer basket drive

Replace the washer basket drive

The basket drive is on top of the transmission and clutch assembly in the washer drive system. The basket drive houses the brake mechanism for the spin basket and has the spin tube shaft that rotates the spin basket in the spin mode. The washer won't spin and you'll hear screeches and squeals when the basket drive fails. Replace the basket drive if it's worn or broken.

How to replace the basket drive in a top-load washer

Does your top-load washer screech or squeal when it spins? The basket drive could be worn or broken. This step-by-step repair guide and video explain how to replace the basket drive in a top-load washing machine.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the washer clutch band

Replace the washer clutch band

The clutch releases the brake in the drive system to allow the basket to spin when the washer is in spin mode. The clutch band creates friction between the clutch hub and the clutch lining, causing the entire clutch assembly to rotate and release the brake. A worn clutch band won't release the brake so the washer won't spin. Replace the clutch band if it's worn or broken.

How to replace the clutch band in a top-load washer

When a top-load washer won't spin when clothes are in the basket but spins okay when it's empty, it could be that the clutch band is worn. This DIY washer repair guide and video explain how to replace the clutch band.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 60 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the washer agitator

Replace the washer agitator

The agitator is mounted inside the spin basket of the washer. The agitator rotates back and forth and moves the clothes inside the spin basket to achieve effective cleaning during the agitation cycle. Replace the agitator if it's cracked or broken, or if the top part of the agitator is not ratcheting properly, which indicates damage to the teeth that engage the agitate dogs.

Replace the washer drive belt

Replace the washer drive belt

Some washes have a drive systems that uses a belt to transmit the rotation of the drive motor pulley to the gear case or the spin basket pulley. If the motor runs but the spin basket or agitator does not move, then the belt may be broken. If the belt is damaged or broken, replace it.

Replace a washer shock absorber

Replace a washer shock absorber

Shock absorbers absorb the vibrations and movements of the outer washer tub on a front-load washer. The shock absorbers also hold the outer tub in place to prevent damage, while allowing reasonable movement during spin and agitation modes. A common symptom of a failing shock absorber is knocking and tub instability at high spin speeds. If the shock absorbers don't maintain the stability of the tub, replace them.

Symptoms common to all washers

Choose a symptom to see related washer repairs.

Main causes: leaky water inlet valve, faulty water-level pressure switch, bad electronic control board
Main causes: broken lid switch or lid lock, bad pressure switch, broken shifter assembly, faulty control system
Main causes: worn agitator dogs, bad clutch, broken motor coupler, shifter assembly failure, broken door lock, suspension component failure
Main causes: no water supply, bad water valves, water-level pressure switch failure, control system failure, bad door lock or lid switch
Main causes: clogged drain hose, house drain clogged, bad drain pump, water-level pressure switch failure, bad control board or timer
Main causes: water heater failure, bad water temperature switch, faulty control board, bad water valve, faulty water temperature sensor
Main causes: unbalanced load, loose spanner nut, worn drive block, broken shock absorber or suspension spring, debris in drain pump
Main causes: bad lid switch or door lock, bad timer or electronic control board, wiring failure, bad water inlet valve assembly
Main causes: lack of electrical power, wiring failure, bad power cord, electronic control board failure, bad user interface board
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