How To Fix A Washing Machine That Is Not Agitating Or Washing




Trying to wash your clothes but your washing machine will not agitate or wash? If your washing machine fills with water but then stops, here is the best tip to fix it fast. If you have a top loading washer, the MOST likely part to have failed is the LID SWITCH. Before anything make sure that you have the lid shut. The machine will not run if the lid is open. This is a safety feature so the machine will not agitate with the lid in the open position. Many times we can get into a rush and forget to shut the lid. If you have the lid shut and the machine has only filled with water and stopped, read on below. (If your washer is NOT SPINNING DRAINING, click here.)

washer no agitate

Your top load washing machine has a safety feature built in that will not let it agitate or wash if the lid is open. If the lid switch in your washing machine goes bad, the washer will think the lid is in the open position. This will cause the machine to not do anything after it fills with water. If the lid switch is bad, having the lid either open or closed will make no difference. If the washing machine has power, has filled with water, then stops, makes no noise, then the lid switch is most likely the part that needs replaced.

The best thing to do at this point is to get the make and model number of your washing machine and type it into Google. Write the words “lid switch” after it and find the exact part for your machine online. Order it next day air and install it with the instructions included. If this did not fix your washer, there is another part that has failed. See below.








VIDEO: Troubleshooting why your washing machine is not agitating

The lid switch is the most likely part to fail in this circumstance. However, this is only the most likely and there may be another part at fault. Here is a short list of ALL the parts in your top load washer that may have failed (and caused your particular problem) in alphabetical order…

  • Cycle Selector Switch – The cycle selector switch controls the speed of the motor and if it goes bad it can stop the motor from operating.
  • Drive Belt – If the belt falls off or becomes worn the transmission will not turn and the machine will not agitate. The machine will make a humming noise as the motor will be running.
  • Drive Motor – This motor turns the agitator and drum to wash your clothing. If it goes bad the machine will not agitate.
  • Lid Switch – The lid switch makes it so if the lid is opened, the machine will not run. A bad lid switch will make it so power cannot get to the drive motor.
  • Timer – The timer supplies power to turn the motor. If the timer is defective, the motor will not turn therefore no washer agitation.
  • Water Level Switch – The water level switch (aka Pressure Switch) controls the water level. If defective the motor may not receive power.

These are the most likely parts that may have failed due to the issue we have explained above. Use safety precautions when doing any type of maintenance checks on your washer.

Not all top loading washing machines work in the same way. Some have different parts and operating functions. This guide shows the most basic and general method of fixing most top load washers.


More "Do It Yourself" Tips, Tricks, Ideas, Repair:













{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 V TANNER April 30, 2017 at 5:10 am

I have a top and bottom washer and dryer and the washer will fill with water then just sit full without agitating or moving the articles of clothing.
Once the timer reaches the rinse and spin cycle it will run normally draining the water and rinsing with fresh and draining again.
It will not actually wash my clothing.
Once the water has filled it will remain still until the timer reaches rinse and spin.
Which part needs to be replaced?

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2 Tina L Barksdale March 7, 2017 at 5:06 am

I have a top loader maytag centennial washer. It will not agitate. It fills and spins fine but isn’t agitating. The lid switch works and will start the water and stop it normally. Can you help?

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3 Richmael February 2, 2017 at 3:04 am

Whirlpool top loader the bolt that holds the agitators together keeps slackening on its own what could possibly cause such to happen

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DIY Project Help Tips 4 DIY Project Help Tips February 2, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Richmael,
Replace the part that is causing the slackening.
Find your model number and then the part in question.
You can also find the service manual online using your model number and see how it comes apart and check the part to see if it is worn, loose, or is damaged.
-RR

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5 Richmael February 2, 2017 at 9:08 pm

I change the bolt already it worked for a bit and then did the same so now im wondering if it could be the top of the transmission or the inside of the bottom agitator

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DIY Project Help Tips 6 DIY Project Help Tips February 2, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Richmael,
If you have already changed the “bolt”, then yes something else is causing the issue.
The transmission may be faulty or another part inside the washer.
Check to find out the issue.
-RR

7 Lyle r cundy January 28, 2017 at 6:32 am

I have a GE Washer model gtwn4250m1ws serial # zv192129g

I was experiencing a wet floor, so I pulled the front panel and noticed the leak was from the bottom of the tub. I elected to do the work with a friend and replaced all seals bearings along the spindle down to the transmission. We lubed all the replaced parts that came in contact with the spindle. everything back together and the tub will fill with water then no agitation timer runs the next course drains rinse no agitation again timer runs it’s course now no spin cycle. up to the point of the leak the machine ran well.

The only thing “Agitated and Spun” in the laundry room is ME!

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8 jacob joyner December 1, 2016 at 1:57 am

I have a whirlpool that fills up then drop the water and cuts off. (does that sound like a bad locking switch)

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9 Norman Rodriguez October 30, 2016 at 6:18 pm

My washer works but stops often during the cycle and sometimes for long periods before it continues. When it is time for it to drain or spin, it vibrates roughly so that I have to stop it. I cannot allow it to spin. My bigger issue though is the working then stopping then working then stopping so many times during the cycle. It’s not the switch; I troubleshot the lid switch and it is not the issue. Any suggestions as to how I can solve this issue? Thanks in advance.

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10 james August 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Bought a used set Whirlpool cabrio washer and dryer. I can`t get a wash or spin cycle going. The model is #wtw5640xw0. It tries to sense and start the motor then clicks lock lid switch and sometimes hums at motor. Then shuts off. I unplug reset the 2 codes I get in wash or spin f1 e2 and it repeats. I have pulled the motor and drive assembly out from tub and bench tested it and I must bump the motor and it agitates and spins. When I reinstall same thing no wash or spin. I have helped by hand and it will run briefly then gradually dies and stops resetting the error codes. Here`s what I replaced…
motor control board
lock lid switch
motor
actuator shifter
capacitor

I pulled the hub and wash tub and cleaned debris and rust . I recalibrated each time I replaced something. I went over all connections also.

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11 Whitney Abernathy August 4, 2016 at 6:04 am

I have a Whirlpool top load washer.
It will fill up with water and that’s just it.
If I move the dial to set it to the spin cycle it make a humming or ticking sound (the dial) also will not drain.
Will not rinse.
Model LBR4132PQ0
Ser CS0117665

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DIY Project Help Tips 12 DIY Project Help Tips August 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

Whitney Abernathy,
-Check lid switch.
-Check drain pump and hoses.
-Check timer assembly for bad spots.

Clean, reposition, or replace parts as needed.
-RR

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13 Jon May 11, 2016 at 11:03 pm

Have a KAWE760wal3 Kitchenaid 3-speed washer (made exactly like a Whirlpool of same vintage). Washer fills and spins out fine, but does not agitate. (Verified that the washer/motor does agitate under certain test wired conditions.) Have replaced the timer switch with a re-manufactured one but still has same symptoms – does not agitate in its naturally wired condition. The lid switch and water level switch appear to work fine. What else could be the matter? Can you at least please email or post the electrical schematic which might give me insight as to the problem.

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DIY Project Help Tips 14 DIY Project Help Tips May 13, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Jon,
Must be a wiring issue if you have replaced timer.
Here is an electrical schematic for a KitchenAid Washer.
Hope this helps.
Let us know what you find.
-RR

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15 Colleen May 10, 2016 at 6:16 pm

I have a Whirlpool LSR4100HQ0. The washer will fill with water and then does nothing. If i turn the dial it does nothing. When I removed some of the water and THEN manually turned the dial the washer started agitating and doing its thing and completed the cycle. But if restart all over it won’t work again. Not sure if its the timer switch or water level switch or both?

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DIY Project Help Tips 16 DIY Project Help Tips May 10, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Collen,
Your Whirlpool washer has either a Washer Control Timer Assembly or Washer Water Level Switch problem.

First check to be sure the Water Level Switch is not blocked or clogged.
If so, run a test cycle and see if the washer now works properly.
If not you will need to do some further troubleshooting to find which part is causing the issue.
-RR

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17 Jon April 25, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for the advice on the KAWE760wal3 Kitchen Aid washer. Took a leap of faith and ordered and installed a new timer switch and the same problem persists, namely – all the fill and rinse spin cycles work fine, but machine goes quiet (with the timer motor running) after a fill and does not agitate (even with the lid switch shorted although this model lets you add clothes during agitate). Stopped the machine when it was in a spin cycle and did an ohmmeter continuity test of the new timer switch. Discovered that the blue wire (connector pin P21) was connected to the red (P17) and to (P20) (which is also connected to water level switch [which tests good] and ultimately to the black through the grey wire (P4)) and the yellow (P14) to the white/black (P13) (which apparently goes to the white side through the motor thermal switch). Then also stopped the machine after a fill was completed while waiting for the agitate that never happens and ran a continuity test on the new switch. Discovered that the blue wire (P21) was now connected to the yellow wire (P14) but to nothing returning it to the black or gray side and now the red (P17) was connected to the white/black (P13). Noticed that the violet wire (P6) (from the fill switch was now connected to the black wire (P1)) and was connected to P23), but which was not closed by the timer switch to (P22) so no connection to the blue wire was made. Then I “back-of-the-mating-connector” jumped P23 to the blue (P21) and reconnected the timer switch to see if the machine would agitate and it did so very vigorously. This jumper does not let the machine fill with water before starting to agitate, but instead fills concurrently and is not desirable. I cannot understand why it appears that the switch does not supply power during agitate to the blue wire by closing the first switch or other possibly 2nd to (P20) to blue (P21).

I need to have the new timer provide power to the motor during agitate without having to provide any external jumpers. When I ohmed the motor it appeared to check good. Sorry this was so long winded, but I do not have a schematic of the washer.

I hear it is very good to try to keep these “old” machines running, because the new machines with all their electronics are much less reliable.

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18 Jon April 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Have a KAWE760wal3 Kitchenaid 3-speed washer (made exactly like a Whirlpool of same vintage). Washer fills and spins out fine, but does not agitate. I hot wired the red to the w-bk wires together at the unplugged timer mating connector and the blue and yellow wires together with the bk wire (for power return) and the motor agitates vigorously. Replaced the timer switch, but washer still does not agitate after a water fill. Shorted out the water level switch but this didn’t help. Of course, shorted out the lid switch and this doesn’t help either. Could there be some other problem I am overlooking like some burned out part of the motor or its mating connector or something else?

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DIY Project Help Tips 19 DIY Project Help Tips April 19, 2016 at 10:03 pm

Jon,
If you are jumping wires or hot wiring the electrical wiring in your KitchenAid washing machine, we really cannot assist as we do not know exactly what you have wired to what. We understand this is sometimes needed when troubleshooting but it can be unsafe. If you wire everything back to normal, what is the issue with the washer? We can assist from there.
-RR

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20 kelly April 10, 2016 at 1:20 pm

What are the 2 skinny green wires in the back of the washer suppose to hooked to? One is hooked up to a bolt one is not. It will fill up and drain but will not wash, it was washing the other day.

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DIY Project Help Tips 21 DIY Project Help Tips April 11, 2016 at 9:59 pm

Kelly,
Any green wire is usually a GROUND wire. If you have 2 and one is grounded by being connected to a bolt, the other green wire may have fallen off. Reconnect the green wire to ground it. This may or not be the solution to fix your washer… If your washing machine will fill with water, drain, but not wash or agitate, you may have a control board issue, wiring issue or other… Let us know what you find. If you give us the model number we can assist further.
-RR

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22 Brad April 8, 2016 at 6:04 pm

I have a Whirlpool Top load washer, 8 cycles, two speed. Weird thing is when I set the timer to begin fill, no matter what type of cycle (normal, heavy, light, perm press, gentle, etc) (15,12,9, minutes or less) it will fill but won’t agitate till timer gets down to 6 minutes. Had an extra timer, new, bought and saved, replaced and that makes No difference. Same thing. I can get 6 minute wash and agitate but not 9, 12, 15. What could it be?

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DIY Project Help Tips 23 DIY Project Help Tips April 8, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Brad,
Since there are many different model numbers for Top Load Whirlpool Washers, please supply us with your model number.
We need to know if there is a motor control board on your washer and if so that can cause your No agitate till 6 minutes on timer issue.
It is either a timing problem or electronic control issue most likely.
-RR

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24 Ken brasfield April 8, 2016 at 5:07 pm

I have a whirlpool duet washer that will not start washing and is making a buzzing sound coming from the motor. My display works door locks but it will not fill or spin.

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DIY Project Help Tips 25 DIY Project Help Tips April 8, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Ken Brasfield,
Give us the model number of your Whirlpool Duet washer and in the meantime check our page here on Washing machine is making a buzzing sound.
-RR

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26 Ike March 5, 2016 at 11:36 pm

Whirlpool washer fills but will not agitate,move dial to spin and washer spins and drains, I lift lid spin cycle stops, close lid and spin continues. Move dial to rinse washer fills then does nothing. What could the problem be?

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27 m February 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm

I have an older model GE top loading washing machine. The door switch works, the machine fills and drains, and the big tub will spin at the end. The problem is the agitator wont turn and agitate the clothes. It does move, a slight jerking motion, seems to move about an inch at a time. Any ideas what this might be, and is it something I can fix myself?

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DIY Project Help Tips 28 DIY Project Help Tips February 16, 2016 at 11:15 pm

m,
If your GE top load washer works fine in all aspects except the agitator does not turn, the agitator itself, the agitator cogs or dogs, agitator bolt or cap, or the motor coupler may be bad. You will have to remove the agitator and see what is causing the issue. Let us know what you find and we can assist from there.
-RR

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29 Chris Kaiser February 10, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Hi, I have a 1990’s era Amana washing machine. So there is no control board. It will cycle just fine in delicate cycle only. It will fill with water on the regular and p.press cycles but won’t agitate or spin. I thought it was the timer so I bought a used one…same problem. Is this a coincidence or did I misdiagnose it?

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DIY Project Help Tips 30 DIY Project Help Tips February 10, 2016 at 8:51 pm

Chris Kaiser,
Have you checked the lid switch? It may have an intermittent issue. Or… If the washer is working a complete cycle in delicate, then another issue could be your timer assembly is bad (has bad spots) or the wires that are going to it are not connected properly or damaged. Retrace all wires coming out of the timer assembly to be sure they are connected properly. Let us know what you find.
-RR

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31 lilisa October 11, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Looks like a clear fuse is broke

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32 Kim February 6, 2016 at 8:51 pm

We have a whirlpool top loader washer. The washer will fill with water but it will not agitate like it normally does. It moves very little and we know it is not the lid and there is no burning smell. Everything else works, rinse, spin as far as we can tell.

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DIY Project Help Tips 33 DIY Project Help Tips February 10, 2016 at 12:48 am

Kim,
If the lid switch is in working order, and the tub fills with water and the agitator moves very little, you may have a clutch, transmission, coupler, or belt issue depending on model number. You will need to unplug, turn off water, and slide machine out and have a look inside to find the issue. Can you give us the model number of your Whirlpool top load washer? Does the washer drain? If the washer can go through all the other cycles like rinse and spin, when it is agitating, can you describe what is happening? Is it agitating but just in small increments?
-RR

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34 Reggie January 31, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Roper Whirlpool top loader #RAS8244LQ0:
I have removed the bolt holding the agitator in and it is out and free, how do I remove the part that hold my worn “dogs” they are obviously shot, but cannot get them till I get the cylindrical flanged hold down that holds them in place. It is Sunday and everybody is closed… any advice will be super helpful.

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DIY Project Help Tips 35 DIY Project Help Tips February 1, 2016 at 9:58 pm

Reggie,
Here is a video that may assist you… Washer Agitator Dogs How To Replace.
-RR

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36 Floyd January 21, 2016 at 9:50 pm

My washer fills and starts washing about two minutes in the cycle it starts to slow then eventually stop only does it in the wash cycle spins and rinse just fine

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37 David January 9, 2016 at 12:38 am

I replaced my lid switch in my Whirlpool top loading washer. My machine will fill water, but it will not spin in the wash cycle. If I wait a few minutes and change the dial to spin, it will spin and drain the water. There’s also a burning smell coming from the washer. Please help. Thanks.

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DIY Project Help Tips 38 DIY Project Help Tips January 9, 2016 at 12:56 am

David,
Most likely the timer motor assembly needs replaced. The issue you describe is what happens if the timer and motor assembly have a bad spot in it. Do some further troubleshooting before you replace it.
-RR

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39 Jackie January 8, 2016 at 6:33 pm

Machine General Electric does not spin or agitate water pump is good what is it

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DIY Project Help Tips 40 DIY Project Help Tips January 8, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Jackie,
Check the LID SWITCH on your GE washer as that may cause your washer to have the issues you have explained.
-RR

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41 Tammy December 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm

I have a Whirlpool washer that will fill with water but won’t cycle to start washing. The agitator will not even move by hand. I know it will move by hand because I have turned it before while filling with water. Do you know what may be wrong? I hope no major repair is needed.
Thanks for your help.

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DIY Project Help Tips 42 DIY Project Help Tips December 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Tammy,
Sounds like you have a top load washer. If the washer fills with water and then DOES NOTHING, this means you have a bent, bad, or loose lid switch. When the washing machine lid comes down it makes contact with a small switch which lets the washer run. Check the lid switch.
-RR

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43 Gene December 21, 2015 at 8:53 pm

I have a whirlpool top loader that is not filling with water hot or cold. I have replaced the water inlet valve an still no water. I have good water pressure an good water lines. It just makes noise like it wants to fill up but nothing happens. The pressure like is not clogged. The fill light comes on an the lock door comes on. Then it goes to blinking an then it stops.

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DIY Project Help Tips 44 DIY Project Help Tips December 21, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Gene,
May be a possible issue with the control board or the power is not getting to the water inlet valve. Check all wire harnesses to be sure you have good connections.
-RR

Reply

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