Washing machine fault finding

With its functional utility and general ease of operation, the washing machine has become a key appliance in almost every home. However, over the course of their use malfunctions can occur and diagnosing washing machine faults accurately is an important part of maintaining these appliances. It is always recommended to pay attention to the product manual that accompanies these devices. Having a basic understanding of the various components can aid in the process of fault finding on washing machines. Included in this article are general tips and methods that can help you identify and deal with common washing machine faults. This is, of course, a general guide and it must be pointed out that not all washer models utilize the exact same components. However, their operating principles remain the same and these tips will give you a fair idea regarding the causes of most washing machine faults. 


The Washing Machine Lacks Power and Does Not Start

When a washing machine displays a lack of power and does not start, you should check the electrical outlet the washer draws it power from. Plug in any other appliance to check if it is functioning. If there is no power from the outlet, check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. In case the outlet is functioning, there could be a problem with the power cord. It can be checked for continuity with an Ohm meter.

This type of problem may also be caused by a blown line fuse or thermal fuse, which may be checked for continuity. In addition, the line fuse holder may have sustained damage and should be changed.

A fairly common issue that causes this condition is a flaw in the Door or Lid Latch Assembly. Issues with the switch assembly can be electrical or mechanical. Electrical problems can be diagnosed with an Ohm meter. You may also run similar tests on the Switch assembly and door lock motor.

Other factors that can cause this problem may be malfunctions in the Timer, PCB (main control board) or the User Control and Display Board.

The Washing Machine Does Not Drain/The Drain Cycle Is Noisy

Lack of draining or noisy draining could indicate that the water pump belt might be damaged or it may have snapped. This belt should be replaced if it is worn out.

This problem may also manifest when there is a malfunction in the drain pump or when there is an article of clothing blocking the drain pump. It is fairly common for small items of clothing to enter the washer draining system. This blocks the hose that leads to the pump, or the pump itself may get blocked. The hose should be disconnected and both the hose and pump should be cleared of any blockages. Also make sure that the drain hose is not trapped behind the washing machine.

A Noisy drain cycle or no draining may occur when there is a problem with the Drive Belt. In cases where the belt has snapped or is improperly aligned with the pulleys, draining will not occur.

In such cases, it might also be advisable to check the Lid Switch Assembly and Door Lock Motor for any type of electrical malfunctions.

Most washing machines come equipped with a Coin Trap that is located near the water pump. The purpose of this device is to catch any external objects that enter the draining system of the washer. If the coin trap gets blocked it can affect draining capacity. Make sure you clean out the coin trap on a regular basis.

The Washing Machine Drum Does Not Turn

When the drum does not turn, most people automatically believe that there is a defect in the belt. While this may be true, it is not normally the most common cause for this type of problem. In the case of a modern washing machine, this problem is often caused by malfunctions in the Speed Control Board or the "tacho generator" that is located on the washer motor. This problem may also be caused when the motor carbon brushes are worn out below 10mm. Other causes for this type of problem could be the Main Control Board (PCB) or a defective motor.

The Washing Machine Timer Appears To Be Stuck

This can be quite a difficult issue to deal with, because most people have a tendency to make the erroneous assumption that the timer is defective when it fails to advance. In many instances, the timer will usually reach a certain point before it appears to stick. This should actually be treated as diagnostic pointer. Depending on the position of the timer, it is possible to gauge what component is currently active in the washer and where the failure may have occurred. At times, it may be better to hire a service engineer to help diagnose the actual reasons for this problem.

The Washing Machine Does Not Heat Up

This is usually quite a basic problem to diagnose. Lack of heating will generally point to a failure in a component such as the Heater, Thermistor, Thermostat, Pressure Switch, Level Sensor, Timer or the Control PCB.

The Washing Machine Vibrates Heavily

If this problem occurs with a new washing machine, it could be a simple case of improper installation rather than an actual machine fault. If the shipping packing, specifically the pins have not been removed, the machine can bounce or vibrate while it is being operated. Consult your product manual, in order to make the necessary corrections to your installation. This problem could also occur if the machine is not placed on a level surface.

Apart from these obvious issues, this problem might suggest problems with components such as the bearings or suspension.

The Washing Machine Is Not Spinning

Although this condition is often blamed on a belt failure, this is very rarely the case in practice. Quite often, the causes for this type of problem are similar to situations where the drum does not turn. It should also be pointed out that in case there are drainage problems with the machine, the spin cycle is usually aborted, and it is not really a case of the machine not spinning.

This problem is almost always caused by a defective Speed Control PCB, broken fast cam contacts inside the Timer, defective motor, worn out or faulty Carbon Brushes, damaged Capacitator, faulty bearings, defective motor tacho, blocked drain or pump, defective pressure switch, or damaged door lock assembly. Such problems are also caused when the machine is out of balance or overloaded.

The Washing Machine Does Not Fill Water

First of all, make sure that the water supply is adequate. If the water supply checks out, it can be assumed that the most likely problem is with the water inlet valve. This valve can be easily inspected for damage and is simple to replace.

This problem may also be caused by failures in certain electronic components such as the pressure switch. Issues related to component failure are far more serious to address. In general, this type of problem is usually associated with faulty water supply, water fill valve, and Control Board or Pressure Switch failure.

The Washing Machine Delivers Poor Cleaning Results

Before trying to troubleshoot the washing machine for signs of trouble and attempting to replace any parts, you might well be advised to analyze your use of detergents. The simple fact is that a large number of people are careless with their use of detergents and cleaning products. Over and under dosing are frequent occurrences that can hamper cleaning efficiency. Make sure you are using the right type of detergent for your particular machine. For example, HE (High efficiency) washing machine owners are recommended to use only detergents that are specialized for such machines.

Also, avoid overloading your washing machine with clothes, as this can affect cleaning performance.

The Washing Machine Lights are flashing and it does not Work

This is most commonly seen with newer types of washing machines that make extensive use of electronic controlling systems. Generally, these lights are accompanied by an error code that pinpoints a problem within a particular component. All manufacturers have their own coding system and you will have to check the error code on your machine manufacturer's website.

The Washing Machine Is Dripping Water From Beneath

This can be a somewhat tricky issue to deal with since there are varied causes for this type of problem. You can troubleshoot this problem by checking for a leaking Filter, Tub Gasket, Hose or drain pump. It may also be caused by a split hose, damaged heater gasket, broken door seal, faulty sensor or pressure switch, damaged tub, broken soap drawer, or if the water pressure is too high.

The Washing Machine is Noisy

There are various issues that can cause a washing machine to become noisy, and this can be a fairly common type of problem. In most instances, the problem can be resolved by simply replacing a defective component. However, certain components can be expensive and difficult to replace.

In most cases, this noise might be due to a defective or worn out Tub Bearing that may be easily replaced. Due to the friction they experience during times of operation, the bearings can get worn out and cause a loud noise. This noise is generally more pronounced during the washer's spin cycle. Similarly, if the problem emanates from a defective Tub Seal and Bearing Kit, it can be replaced without much difficulty.

If the noise originates from the Rear Drum, it would indicate that the rear drum bearing has failed. This can be quite a serious problem as a large section of the washing machine will have to be dismantled in order to gain access to this component. In most cases, the rear drum will need to be replaced.

This type of problem may also be caused if the Drive Pulley is misaligned, bent, worn out, or has developed cracks. The drive pulley should be removed and checked for any signs of damage. Replace, if required.

This may also indicate a defect in the Drive Belt. Over a period of time, this belt can get worn out or cracked. If a small part of this belt falls off, it can cause a noise while it is running. In such cases, this belt will have to be changed.

Loud noises are also generated if the pump is worn out or when there is a foreign object trapped within it. The pump can be dismantled and checked for signs of obstructions. If it appears to be clear and the blades are able to move without restriction, this is not the source of the noise.

Certain types of washing machines utilize a U-joint as the principle mechanism that is responsible for driving the agitator. While replacing this component is relatively straightforward, it is quite an expensive repair to perform.

Most washing machines utilize the Motor Coupling to connect the washer transmission with the motor. This is a fail-safe device that will fail in situations where the washer has been overloaded. This ensures the safety of the transmission and motor. If it fails, the machine will be noisy during operation

Loud noises during the spin cycle can indicate that the Clutch mechanism of the washer has been worn out. The Clutch assembly is responsible for making the connection between the inner drum and transmission mechanism, and ensures that the tub reaches its proper spin speed safely. Typically, any loud noises generated during the spin cycle or just after the cycle is concluded would indicate that this device is worn out. The Clutch cannot be repaired and will have to be replaced.

In most washers, the Drive Motor operates with the minimum amount of noise. If the motor is noisy, it normally indicates that the drive motor bearings are worn out or defective. This type of problem is more common in machines that do not utilize a drive belt. In rare cases, the washer transmission may be damaged and will have to be replaced.

If the machine is noisy only while it is being filled with water, this would indicate a simple problem that can be overcome by replacing the water inlet valve.


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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