Faulty washing machine timer or programmer

Washing Machine Faulty Timer – or is it?

How do you proceed if your washing machine refuses to perform, especially if you have already worked through the normal processes of draining the machine down, checking the filter and removing any small obstructions, all to no avail. 

As consumers we have been demanding better and more efficient washing machines from manufacturers over the past few years. Manufacturers have duly obliged and, although these machines do perform really well and provide as many options as we could need, in order to achieve the improvements, the operating systems of modern washing machines are controlled by electronics. These parts, when they do go wrong, are generally expensive to replace and difficult to fit.

One thing to bear in mind is that guesswork over what might be the cause is not the best idea, especially rushing out to buy an expensive replacement – unless, of course, you are an expert. (In which case, you probably don’t need to read any further!)


Error codes and what they mean

It would seem the natural way to proceed, if your machine is displaying an error code, is to check through your Manufacturer’s manual. Unfortunately this is not generally the case and its very difficult to obtain this information. If you contact your manufacturer directly they will, on the whole, not explain the code to you, but will point you in the direction of their own Service Department/Engineers. Please be aware that, in many cases, this would be an expensive way to proceed.

This lack of assistance could well put you back to square 1, and you will have try to work out what might be causing the issue independently. Not all manufacturers are the same, of course, and may be able to help you by identifying what part is affected by a particular code. Also, some manufacturers may use independent service companies, who are usually more local to you and may not be as expensive

A faulty timer could well be the problem, but you may be interested to know that most timers outlast the life of the washing machine, and is probably not the best place to start from. The cost of a new timer would not be cheap, and is not straightforward to fit, unless you have technical know how.

Deciding to replace a timer

Please ensure you carry out any replacement in a safe manner, whatever you do, make sure you have turned off the power supply to the machine. It sounds very straightforward, but you would be surprised at the number of injuries caused by people missing out this very basic step.

A good tip is not to remove the old component before you have the new one in your hands. In order to ensure the wiring pattern is followed exactly, you have to go slowly and very carefully. In many cases, a wiring diagram will not be available. If you do make a mistake, there is always the chance that you will break a wire, or blow another component – a very costly mistake.

What action should you take?

As you can see, apart from the amount of work to be undertaken, you will need to work out whether it is worth replacing the part or look at replacing the washing machine altogether. Obviously the age of the machine, and whether you are covered by a Warranty or an Extended Warranty, will need to be taken into account.

If you need a Service Engineer to carry out the work for you, especially in light of the difficulty in replacing the part as a DIY project, you will soon see how quickly the costs will add up.

Faced with the costs, you may well think it makes more economic sense for you to purchase a new machine. Whichever way you decide, the manufacturers win. Either you pay a high price for the new part, with the risk of causing more problems if you decide to fit it yourself; plus engineer’s costs if you get someone to fit if for you, versus washing your hands of the old machine and starting again with a replacement appliance - probably from a different manufacturer if you did not get the best Customer Service from your current manufacturer.

Unfortunately, there is an environmental consideration to take into account. Most old washing machines are taken to landfill sites! No alternate solutions are available at the moment, but you could try contacting a Charity to see if they are prepared to take machines that are not in full working order, its worth a phone call.

Other parts that may be at fault

It is fair to say we have been concentrating on replacing the timer, but there are other components which could be at fault – its identifying the faulty component that’s the issue. I’m afraid that its very common to go round and round in circles trying to identify the actual culprit – I’m afraid its those nonsensical Error Codes again!

However, if you have been able to identify that its an Electronic Module or Programmer, I am pleased to be able to confirm that these parts are much easier to replace as they are ‘keyed’ to only fit one way. That doesn’t mean they can’t be damaged during fitting, but that is a risk we take in replacing any piece of equipment.

The same rules of health and safety apply, plus its best not to remove the old part before you have the replacement, to ensure you can match up wire for wire etc.


If your washing machine starts flashing lights at you or displaying pointless Error Codes:

  • Don’t jump to conclusions and assume its curtains for the machine

  • Try to work out what the problem is, using your manufacturers manual as a starting point

  • Contact people who you think might be able to offer help, search on the internet for some direction, and perhaps call local companies who might be able to give you some advice


If you feel your only option is to replace the washing machine, you could use some of the following suggestions to help you make the right decision for you:


  • Do a little homework first, if you have a particular machine/manufacturer in mind, look up reviews on the internet on how the machine is rated by people who have purchased the same or similar model. This is a great place to start

  • Check what you can expect by way of after sales service

  • Try various retailers first to ensure you get the best deal, and look for machines that come with a longer Warranty, as that indicates confidence in the appliance.

  • Following your recent experience, it would a good idea to find out which manufacturer is open with their Error Codes, not keeping them a big secret. Also look at spare parts prices, plus check your manufacturer does not limit you to their own expensive service engineers.


Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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