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Why Did My Washing Machine Stop Working?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Having a washing machine is one of the luxuries of homeowners. It’s thanks to it that it’s so much easier to wash clothes whether it’s every day or once a week in just a couple of hours. Given how incredibly convenient this appliance is, it would be a big hassle if the washing machine stopped working so suddenly. It would be great to know why it happens and what you can do if it does.

On that note, this article explores the common issues of why washing machines stop working. This will help you become more educated about your appliance, which is helpful when you reach out to a professional. Read on and you will find out there are several possible reasons why your washer is not working. By troubleshooting your device, you may also be able to fix it on your own.

Your washing machine can suddenly stop working for a variety of reasons, including a power supply or electricity problem, an overload of clothes, a shorted control board, and more. Read on for tips to solve the problem.

What Causes a Washing Machine to Stop Working?

There are many possible reasons why your washing machine stopped working, mid or even before starting a cycle. Sometimes, you can fix it by simply conducting a Master Reset, properly closing the lid or doors, and not overloading the unit. But if the issue involves internal parts like the main control board or clutch, only a professional appliance repair contractor can help resolve the problem. Below are some of the possible culprits why your washing machine is not working.

Washing Machine Stopped Working Reasons

Power Source

The first thing to check if your washing machine stops working is the power source. Check to see if something is wrong with it, making sure that electricity flows into the outlet. Investigate as well if there are tripped circuit breakers that could be the cause. You can also have an electrical expert inspect your wiring, confirming whether or not there is something wrong with the power source in your home.

Open Lid or Door

Many washing machines from popular brands like Kenmore, LG, GE, Maytag, Samsung, and Whirlpool are designed to stop working if the lid or door is open. Washers today have a lid switch, which is a piece of plastic found under the lid. This switch is only activated when the lid is shut. Make sure that it is properly positioned, not worn out or damaged.

Problem With the Timer Knob

Modern washing machines today come with a timer knob, which may be one of the reasons your machine isn’t working. Ensure that this knob is doing what’s intended, checking to see if it is already aging. Most timer knobs are made of brittle plastic, so they are susceptible to damage. If you found your washer’s timer knob cracked, it probably no longer actuates the switch that turns on the washer.

Washing Machine Control Knob Troubleshooting

Overheated Motor

If the washer’s motor overheats, then it will not turn on until it has cooled off. If this happened a couple of times, the issue is probably only minor. But if you deal with frequent motor overheating, you should get your washer inspected by an appliance repair pro to be sure. A professional can find out exactly what is causing the problem and resolve it so that your washing machine works for a long time.

Shorted Main Control Board

One of the more serious causes of a washing machine that stops working in mid-cycle is a shorted main control board. This control board serves as the brain of the machine, so it makes sense that the washer stops working if this part is damaged. Older washers have simpler main control boards, but others have smaller but complicated ones.

Washing Machine Control Board Repair

If the main circuit board becomes shorted, the washing machine will often light up but doesn’t have any other response or will be completely dead. If the board is only faulty or slightly damaged, there is probably some response but the machine fails to run properly.  Either way, this is a problem that is best handled by a professional appliance repair technician.


It’s possible your washing machine stopped working or has reduced performance because it was overloaded. Overloading washing machines leads to overworking the power unit during spinning and even burning out the motor after prolonged heavy duty stress.

Another reason why overloading causes the washing machine to stop working is that uneven load affects the spin function. When the load is uneven, it disrupts the spin cycle, and the unit’s unable to maintain its working balance. Additionally, movement is blocked when loaded wet items get caught on one side of the machine, which can usually happen with heavy items like blankets.

Clutch Issues

This is a problem that is common with top-loading washers. When the clutch is worn out, the machine stops rotating. This assembly wears out in time due to the constant friction of the unit’s clutch pads. You will know about this when you hear a grinding noise while operating the washing machine.  This issue can be resolved by an appliance repair technician who can replace the worn-out parts.

Common Washer Stopped Working FAQs

Why Won’t Your Washing Machine Start?

If your washing machine doesn’t start, there are several possible reasons. It could be a problem with the fuse, lid switch, or timer. It could also be due to the power source. You will need to investigate to find out exactly what the cause is and check all the usual suspects. You may be able to solve the problem with a DIY approach, but if not, an appliance repair technician can assist you.

What Does the F20 Error Code Mean in a Whirlpool Washer?

The error code F20 in Whirlpool washers appears when no water is detected to enter the machine. It is also triggered when the machine does not detect the pressure switch trip, which is what monitors high water pressure. This often appears when the water supply is restricted due to a blockage or kink in the outlet or inlet hoses, there’s low water pressure, a disconnected water supply, or a defective drain pump.

Why Doesn’t My Fisher & Paykel Washer Turn On?

We can’t be sure why it’s not turning on without inspecting it, but you can try resetting it. Switch it off at the socket then wait 60 seconds before switching it on again. You can also try plugging it into a different socket or plug a different appliance into the first socket. It could also be that its key lock is activated. Deactivate it by holding the POWER button for about two to three seconds.

How Do You Factory Reset a Washing Machine?

You can reset a washing machine if you disconnect it from power for several minutes. You can do this by turning off the circuit breaker or unplugging the appliance. You can also try to reset the washer by opening and closing the door six times within 12 seconds. After this, run a rinse and spin cycle without laundry to see if the problem persists.

What Causes a Washer to Break Down?

There are several possible reasons why a washer breaks down. It could be that it was overloaded, its mode switch broke, or the drain pump is clogged. Another possible cause is a damaged drive motor, which might have to be replaced. It could also be that the washer developed clutch problems, a common issue in top-loading washing machines. It’s best to get your washer checked by a pro to be sure.

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