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Why is My Top Load Washer Not Spinning?

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    5 possible reasons your top load washing machine is not spinning

    Top loaders are usually much cheaper than front loaders and often have issues with cloth loads becoming unbalanced throughout the cycle. When the load becomes unbalanced, the drum starts to knock against the washing machine walls and cause big banging noises. Due to this type of design, the machine usually breaks way faster than front-loaders and faces the issue of not spinning. Here are the main reasons what could go wrong:

    Reason #1: Door latch

    The door latch is the number 1 reason your top load washing machine is not spinning. When clothes are being loaded and the user closes the door, the door is usually smashed, which causes the door lock to fail or break.

    The appliance will not start the spin cycle if the door lock is not activated and the machine does not know that the door is closed. Checking the door latch on the top loading unit is easy. Insert a screwdriver into the cut-out hole in the lock and check that the mechanism makes a click. If it does not click or is difficult to engage, replace the lock.

    Reason #2: Drum assembly bearing

    The drum assembly, located on the main bearing, usually takes all the pressure of the weight and high speed of the drum. Over time, the bearing can fail and prevent the drum from rotating freely. It is very easy to check if a bearing has failed. Place your hand on the inside of the drum (where you put the laundry) and push it in any direction.

    If the drum of your top-loading washing machine does not rotate, it means that the bearing is broken and needs to be replaced. Remember that the drum should rotate almost effortlessly, i.e., if you push it lightly.

    Reason #3: Gearbox / transmission

    Sometimes the drum will spin but not agitate. Top loaders have a transmission, also named a gearbox. It’s usually a metal box with an axle on which a big plastic agitator is placed. Gears wear off with time, and a tooth on one or more gears can break off, which can cause heavy grinding noise and not allow the machine to agitate freely. The part and labour are usually very expensive.

    Reason #4: Motor

    Motor failure is one of the possibilities, but it happens very rarely. To diagnose this issue, you should check for power going to the motor by using a multimeter and testing for voltage on each side of the wiring harness. In addition, you should check if there is any noise coming from the motor when it is activated and inspect for any physical damage to its casing or wiring connections.

    Reason #5: Drain pump

    For the unit to advance to the spin cycle, it has to drain all the water in the system first because the top load washing machine drum won’t spin with the weight of the water. If the drain pump is making a humming noise or not making any noise, it’s most likely clogged or failed. Open the drain pump assembly and inspect the pump physically, making sure the impeller of the pump is not damaged and spins freely.

    top load washing machine drum not spinning

    My top load washer won’t spin – how to fix?

    Taking care of a top load washer that won’t spin does not have to be expensive or complicated! With these 5 easy steps, anyone can diagnose and fix their washing machine quickly.

    Step #1: Check the settings

    Take a look at the settings on your washer. If it has a cycle selector knob, make sure that it is set to the correct cycle. If it is set on a non-spinning cycle, such as a delicate or hand-wash cycle, simply change it, and your washer should begin spinning. You should also make sure that any options such as extra-rinse that may affect spinning are switched off before continuing with further troubleshooting. If that isn’t the issue, move on to step two.

    Step #2: Make sure there are no obstructions

    Check for any obstructions that may be preventing the washer from spinning properly. Start by unplugging the unit and opening up the lid. Carefully inspect the drum, paying special attention to any items caught between the inner and outer tubs or within any control panels or knobs. Also, take note of any broken parts or loose wires, as these can be potential issues blocking a successful spin cycle.

    It is also important to make sure that there are no objects stuck between the agitator and the inside of the bath. If clothes are stuck here, they should be carefully removed before checking for any damage caused by trying to push them through this tight space.

    Step #3: Check the water level

    If there is too much water in your washer, this can cause it to stop spinning as well. To check your water level, first, unplug the machine and locate the fill hoses. Make sure they are connected properly and not kinked or bent.

    Then, open up the lid of your washer and inspect both the hot and cold valves for any signs of blockage or damage. If everything looks ok, start a short rinse cycle while watching the water fill up in order to determine the proper levels of both hot and cold water entering your machine.

    Step #4: Clean out the filter

    Cleaning a lint filter is an important part of the process, as any build-up of dirt, lint, and other debris can interfere with the proper functioning of the machine. First, locate the filter at the bottom or back of your washer. It may be hidden behind a plastic flap or panel, so you may need to remove this before accessing it.

    Once found, unscrew and remove the filter from its housing and brush away any lint or dirt visible on its surface. Then use a hose to flush away any other built-up material from within it before replacing it back into its original position. If necessary, replace any screws that were removed during this process to ensure a secure fitment.

    Step #5: Call for professional help

    If all else fails, call for professional help. Before you do this, make sure that you have taken all necessary safety precautions by unplugging the power cord and checking that the water supply has been turned off. A repairman will be able to assess what is wrong with your washer more accurately than you can, so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone if none of these steps worked for you!


    Cho, Jung-Soo, Hyun-Yong Jeong, and Kyung-Chul Kong. “Analysis of dynamic model of a top-loading laundry machine with a hydraulic balancer.” International journal of precision engineering and manufacturing 15 (2014): 1615-1623.

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