How to Replace a Freezer Compressor Start Relay



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.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 15 min.

Parts Required

  • Compressor start relay

For manuals, repair guides, and specific part recommendations, enter your model number.

Tools Required

  • Phillip screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Work gloves to protect hands

Before you begin

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.


 Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the 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 should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Step 1: Disconnect the electrical power

Unplug the freezer or shut off the circuit breaker for the freezer.

Step 2: Remove the grill cover

Pull the control knob straight off of the cold control thermostat.

Remove the screws securing the compressor grill cover to the freezer cabinet.

Hinge the grill 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 grill cover and release the cold control thermostat from the grill.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: 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.

Step 6: 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.

Step 7: Reinstall the grill cover

Position the cold control thermostat on the compressor grill cover and push it into the grill cover. Make sure that the locking tabs on the cold control thermostat snap into place on the grill 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 grill cover properly on the freezer cabinet and secure it using the mounting screws.

Step 8: Restore electrical power

Plug in the freezer or turn on the house circuit breaker to restore power.

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