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.

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:

  • Work gloves
  • Nut driver set
  • Slot screwdriver

Before you begin

Wear work gloves to protect your hands.


 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.

How to Replace the Compressor Start Relay in a Top-Freezer Refrigerator

Step 1: Shut off the power

Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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.

Step 5: Reinstall the rear compartment cover

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

Step 6: Restore electrical power

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