Washer Common Parts Glossary

To understand the washing machine parts that comprise your top-load or front-load washer, browse Sears PartsDirect’s a list of common washer parts and their functions.


The agitator is mounted inside the spin basket of a top-load washer. The agitator rotates back and forth to moves the clothes inside the spin basket to clean the load. 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.


washer agitator PD_0026_417_3204401
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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 the agitation that moves the clothes through the wash tub.

Basket drive

In a direct-drive top-load washer, 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.

Clutch band

In a direct-drive top-load washer, 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.

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.

Door boot

The door boot is a bellow-shaped gasket between the door and the drum of a front-load washer that prevents leaks. The door boot—also called the door boot seal or door gasket—is flexible so it isn't damaged as the outer tub tumbles and spins.


washer door boot bellow PD_0026_110_W10111435
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Door lock assembly

The door lock assembly on a front-load washer mechanism locks the washer door to prevent the door from opening during the wash cycle or the high-speed spin cycle. The door lock assembly includes door latch that fits into the lock, which grabs the door latch, and a switch that signals to the control system whether the washer door is closed or open, locked or unlocked.

Door strike

The door strike, which is attached to the front load washer door, is part of the door lock system. The door strike pushes into the door latch when the door shuts. The locking mechanism in the door lock assembly clasps the door strike to prevent the door from opening during the cycle.

Drain pump

Drive belt

One end of the drive belt attaches to the pulley on the drive motor, and the other end attaches to the large drive pulley on the outer wash tub. The large drive pulley is attached to the drive shaft for the inner spin basket inside the tub. The drive motor rotates the belt, which in turn rotates the large drive pulley on the back of the outer tub. This motion causes the inner spin basket of the front load washer to rotate for tumbling wash action and the final spin portion of the cycle.


washer drive belt PD_0026_110_8181670
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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 on a direct drive top-load 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 coupled 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.

Drive pulley

The drive pulley mounted is at the bottom or back of the washer tub and is rotated by the drive belt and drive motor. The drive pulley rotates the spin basket when the washer is in spin mode. It drives the transmission shaft for the agitation mode in washers with a gearcase.

Electronic temperature control board

The electronic temperature control board has a thermistor (a temperature sensor) that detects the temperature of the water entering the tub. The electronic temperature control board opens and shuts the electrically operated water inlet valves to accurately fill the washer tub with the correct temperature of fill water.


In a direct-drive top-load washer, the gear case drives the agitator and the spin basket.The washer gear case 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. In a vertical modular top-load washer, the gear case drives the impeller and the spin basket in the washer. The shifter assembly shifts the gear case between the agitation and spin modes in a vertical modular top-load washer.


washer gearcase PD_0026_110_3360629
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Leveling feet

Leveling feet, also called height adjustment feet, are used to level the washing machine. The feet screws change the feet's height, ensuring that the washer can be properly leveled. It is important to level the washer to prevent vibration.

Lid switch

The lid switch is a safety mechanism on a top-load washer that detects whether the lid is open or closed. When the lid is open, either the spin basket won't spin or the drive motor won't run, depending on the model.

Main electronic 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. Replace the main electronic control board if it's getting 120 -volt power but doesn't operate or if it isn't properly controlling the functions it governs.

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.

Motor coupler

The motor coupler is a flexible coupling on the motor shaft connection to the direct-drive transmission.If the drive system seizes up, the coupling breaks to protect the drive motor from damage.

Outer wash tub

The outer wash tub houses the inner metal spin basket. This outer tub has a bearing in the rear to accommodate the shaft for the inner spin basket. Water seals in the rear bearing prevent water from leaking around the shaft and a rubber door boot seal on the front of the outer tub seals the opening at the front of 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 during the cycle. A sensor on the shifter monitors the position of the drive system and shuts the washer down if the shifter malfunctions.

Shock absorber

The shock absorbers in a washing machine 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.

Spin basket

The spin basket is the perforated container that holds laundry during the wash cycle. It's inside the stationary outer tub of the washer. The spin basket has a shaft that connects to the drive system. The drive system rotates the shaft and the basket to produce tumbling and spinning action during the cycle.

Temperature selector switch

The temperature selector switch lets you set the temperature of the water going into the washer. The temperature selector switch is usually a rotary switch mounted in the control panel.


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.


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User interface board

Water inlet valve assembly

The water inlet valve assembly, which is electrically operated, controls water flow into the washer. It has a solenoid coil that opens the valve to allow water flow when the main electronic control board applies voltage to the solenoid coil.

Water supply hose

The water supply hoses, also called a fill hose or inlet hose, carries water from the house plumbing to the washer. Each washer has a separate hose for hot and cold water. One end of the water supply hoses connects to the house's water supply valve and the other to the water inlet valve assembly on the back of the washer.

Water-level pressure switch

The water-level pressure switch, senses, controls and maintains the water level in the outer wash tub. The pressure switch senses the water level through an air tube attached to the bottom of the tub. As the tub fills with water, air pressure in the air tube pushes up on a diaphragm inside the water-level pressure switch. A post attached to the diaphragm opens and closes electrical contacts inside the body of the water level pressure switch to control the water fill and to shut off the water when the washer is full.