How to Replace the Drive Motor in a Top-Load Washer



This washer repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the drive motor in a common type of top-load washer. During the agitate and spin cycles, the drive motor rotates a belt attached to the drive system pulley. The pulley transfers the rotation to the spin basket and agitator. If the motor doesn’t rotate, replace it with a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

This repair procedure covers belt-drive, top-load washers made by Kenmore, Whirlpool, Maytag and Amana.

We also have instructions for replacing the drive motor in a direct-drive front-load washer. If you're not sure if your washer has a direct-drive motor, check out the explanation in our washer FAQs.

Repair difficulty:
Time required:

Less than 45 min.

Parts Required

  • Replacement drive motor

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

Tools Required

  • Channel lock pliers
  • Socket wrench set
  • Towels
  • Work gloves

Before you begin

Wear work gloves to protect your hands. Have someone help you move the washer away from the wall.


 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: Shut off the electricity and water

Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet. Turn off the water supply valves for the washer.

Step 2: Disconnect the hoses

Move the washer away from the wall so you can reach the fill hoses and drain hose. Mark which fill hose goes to the hot connector and which goes to the cold. Using channel lock pliers, carefully loosen and remove both hoses. Expect some water to pour out.

Pull the drain hose out of the standpipe behind the washer. Expect some water to pour out. 

 Tip: Wipe up water spills with a towel to prevent slipping.

Step 3: Carefully lay the washer on its front panel

Move the washer to an area where you can work on it. Lay cardboard or towels in front of the washer to prevent scratching the front of the washer. Carefully tilt the washer forward and lay it on the front panel so that you can access the drive motor from the bottom of the washer.

Step 4: Remove the plastic motor cover

Remove the bolts that secure the plastic cover over the motor and drive components. Pull the plastic cover off the washer and set it aside.

Step 5: Release the drive belt from the motor

Pull the drive belt outward and rotate the large drive pulley to work the belt off the motor. Remove the drive belt and set it aside.

Step 6: Disconnect the wire harness from the motor

Pull the wire harness out of the connection plug on the motor.

Step 7: Remove the motor

Remove the bolts that secure the drive motor to the bottom of the washer. Remove the motor

Step 8: Install the new motor

Position the new drive motor in place and install the mounting bolts. Tighten the mounting bolts firmly.

Step 9: Plug in the wire harness

Plug the wire harness into the connection on the new drive motor. Make sure that the wire harness plug is firmly seated in the connection on the motor.

Step 10: Reinstall the belt

Position the drive belt properly on the smaller motor pulley and stretch the belt across the top of the larger drive pulley. Start on one side of the pulley and roll the belt onto the drive pulley by rotating the drive pulley as you push the belt down onto the side of the drive pulley. 

Step 11: Reinstall the plastic motor cover

Position the plastic cover on top of the motor and drive components. Line up the mounting holes and insert the mounting bolts. Tighten the bolts firmly.

Step 12: Set the washer upright

Carefully set the washer upright position and move it close enough to the fill hoses that you can reconnect them.

Step 13: Reinstall the fill hoses

Thread the fill hoses onto the connections on the back of the washer. Tighten the connections firmly using a pair of channel lock pliers.

Step 14: Restore the water and power

Turn on the water supply valves. Tighten the connection if you find a slight leak.

Plug the washer into the electrical outlet. Return the washer to its original location.


Step 15: Calibrate the washer

With the washer shut off, the basket empty (no water or clothes) and the lid closed, enter the diagnostic mode:

Turn the control dial 1 complete rotation (360 degrees) counterclockwise.

Quickly (within about 6 seconds) turn the control dial 3 clicks clockwise, one click back, and one more click clockwise.

All the green status lights blink when you successfully activate the diagnostic mode. 

If the status lights don’t blink, turn the control dial one complete rotation counter-clockwise to reset the control and then try again, this time turning the knob faster.

In the diagnostic mode, select the Calibration Cycle by turning the control dial 4 clicks clockwise. When the Rinse light turns on, press Start to begin the Calibration Cycle, which runs for 2 to 3 minutes.

When the Calibration Cycle ends, the lid unlocks, and the washer shuts off.