Are you stuck with your washer that’s only spinning but not agitating?
It’s frustrating and inconvenient to load your washing machine only for it not to do its primary job of agitating to clean the clothes.
And you may be wondering why your washing machine spins but does not agitate.
Well, there are several factors that could lead to your washing machine not agitating.
9 Common reasons why your washer is spinning but not agitating
- Clothing or an item is stuck at the base of the agitator.
- A broken Agitator
- Timer failure
- Failure with the Transmission
- Defective lid switch
- Broken belt
- Faulty drive motor
- A bad motor control board
- Worn drive pulley
In this article, we will explore all the common reasons why your washing machine only spins but doesn’t agitate, and how you can fix them.
Table of Contents
Why does my washer spin but not agitate?
There are several reasons why your washing machine spins but has refused to agitate.
Whatever the case, It is advisable to thoroughly check your washing machine to see the cause or reason why it is not agitating so you can apply the best solution to solve the problem.
The reasons outlined apply to different washing machine brands as below:
- Whirlpool washing machine spinning but not agitating
- Maytag washing machine spinning but not agitating
- Samsung washing machine spinning but not agitating
- Hoover washing machine spinning but not agitating
- Roper washing machine spinning but not agitating
- Kenmore washing machine spinning but not agitating
- Blomberg washing machine spinning but not agitating
- LG washing machine spinning but not agitating
So Let’s dive straight into some of the common reasons why your washing machine won’t agitate and how to fix them.
1. Stucked item at the base of the agitator
During wash cycles, clothes and other items can find their way and get stuck a the base of the washer’s agitator.
If your washer won’t agitate, look for clothing or an item that could be stuck at the base of the agitator.
This is usually obvious since the bottom of the tub where the agitator sits is always clear and free of any clothes or foreign materials.
If there is something at the base which is blocking the agitator from moving, or clothes are tangled under the base of the agitator, then removing it may solve the problem.
Try pulling out the clothes with your hands to see if they come off.
If that fails, then you may have to remove the agitator.
Follow the steps below to remove the agitator in your washer:
How to remove the agitator of your washing machine
- Unplug the washer from the power source.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the agitator cap which is around the disk on top of the agitator.
- Remove the inner cap which is directly below the top cap.
- Using a socket wrench remove the agitator bolt which is located deep in the center of the agitator by turning the bolt counterclockwise.
- Remove the agitator by grabbing the lid of the agitator base and pulling it straight up.
- Use a bit of force and firmly pull the agitator.
After removing the agitator, you should be able to take off any stuck materials that are preventing it from moving.
Then fix back the agitator just as you removed it.
2. Broken agitator
If your washer won’t agitate, it could be that the agitator is broken or worn out.
The agitator is the device in the center of your washing machine which is responsible for moving clothes through the water during your wash cycle and it’s driven by the output shaft of the transmission.
The agitator twists back and forth to rub clothes against each other and help remove stains from your clothes during washing.
Over time, the agitator can break down or some components of the agitator can wear out with normal usage, causing your washer not to agitate.
If your agitator does not move after the wash cycle has started, chances are that it may be broken.
In that case, you will need to replace it.
How to replace washing machine agitator
To replace the agitator of your washing machine follow the steps we have outlined above to remove the old agitator and continue below.
- Place the agitator back in the washing machine compartment.
- Replace the agitator bolt and screw clockwise to re-tighten it.
- Replace the inner cap and the agitator top.
- Plug your washing machine back into the power supply.
3. Timer failure
The timer in your washer controls the drive motor that indirectly connects to the agitator.
It consists of electrical contacts which power the motor allowing it to turn and move in the right direction.
A faulty timer can cause your washer to misbehave and not work as it is supposed to.
To find out if the timer is the problem, use a multimeter to check for the electrical continuity of the timer contacts.
If there is no electrical continuity, then you will need to replace the timer.
How to fix the timer on your washing machine
Here is how to fix the timer on your washer;
- Unplug your washing machine from the power source and turn off the water supply.
- To access the timer, unscrew the control panel of your washer and tilt it back.
- Remove the screws that hold the timer to the panel using a nut driver.
- Carefully pull the timer out.
- Locate the timer wiring harness.
- Carefully remove the timer wiring harness clip off the timer.
- Test the timer for its electrical continuity with a volt/ohm meter (VOM) set to the RX1 scale.
- The meter should read zero.
- If it’s above zero then the timer is faulty and needs to be replaced.
- Unscrew and disconnect the old timer.
- Install a new timer and connect the new wires and make sure the connections are properly done.
- Screw the timer assembly into place after ensuring that the connections are correctly done.
- Fix the panels to put your washer in its original state.
You can also check out our article about a washer that’s spinning too fast.
4. Transmission failure
The transition of a washing machine turns the drum of the washer and helps transition the water through the wash cycle.
The transition changes the speed and direction of the agitator into a back-and-forth motion.
Transmissions have gears in them and if they are worn out, your washing machine will not agitate.
You will need to replace the transmission if it’s faulty for your washing machine to agitate.
How to replace transmission of your washing machine
- Unplug your washing machine from the power source.
- Remove the washing machine cabinet to access the transmission.
- Disconnect the wiring harness.
- Unscrew the bolts holding the transmission in place.
- Install the new transmission and screw the bolts to hold it in place.
- Reassemble the washing machine to its normal state.
5. Defective lid switch
The lid switch performs a safety function on a washer and prevents injuries.
The lid switch alerts the control panel that it’s closed and safe to start agitating or spinning.
If the lid switch of your washing machine is defective the control panel will interpret it as being open and will thereby not agitate when you close it.
You will need to replace your lid switch if it’s defective.
But before that, you should first test the wiring and the switch with a multimeter to check if it’s faulty unless otherwise, you can see it’s broken from the outside.
How to fix the lid switch on your washing machine
To replace the lid switch of your washing machine, you will need to check the module number of your washer so you can purchase the correct lid switch for your washing machine.
You can find the module number on the front or inside of the washing machine cabinet when you open the lid.
Here is how to fix the lid switch on your washing machine;
- Unplug your washing machine from the power source.
- Turn off and disconnect water lines from the washer.
- Remove the top of your washing machine to get access to the lid switch by unscrewing any screws or bolts that hold it in place.
- Don’t forget to keep notice of where the screws and bolts are as they may be of varying sizes.
- Locate the lid switch that is faulty or malfunctioning.
- Remove the screws that secure the lid switch.
- Remove the lid switch wiring harness. Do it with care as there would be different wires connecting to it.
- Remove and replace the defective lid switch.
- Tighten the new lid switch with the screws or bolts that come with it.
- Ensure each screw is in its proper place.
- Replace the washer’s top and ensure to replace any screws or bolts that you have removed.
- Reinstall the Washing machine to its normal position
- Connect the washer to the power supply.
- Test the washer to check if the lid switch is functioning correctly by running a test wash.
6. Broken belt
The drive belt connects the drive motor to the transmission and dries out and starts cracking over time.
If your washing machine won’t agitate it could be due to overheating or excessive wear of the drive belt.
How to diagnose and replace the drive belt of your washing machine
Here is how to diagnose and replace the drive belt of your washer.
- Turn off the power source to your washing machine and Unplug it.
- Remove the side panels to the washing machine and locate the drive belt.
- Disconnect the clamps holding the drive belt in place to remove it.
- Inspect the drive belt to see if there is any sign of burning, wear, or damage.
- If you find any of these signs then you need to replace the drive belt.
- Replace it with a new drive belt and reverse the steps above to put your machine in its original state.
7. Faulty Drive motor
The drive motor of your washing machine can also be the reason why your washer won’t agitate but spins.
It is the central unit of the washer that provides power to the functioning internal elements of the washer.
The motor drives the transition that causes the agitator to move and swing back and forth and can fail due to overloading of your washer and can also fail due to normal wear.
If the drive motor hums while your washing machine is running or it’s noisy and does not turn freely, then you will need to replace it.
How to replace the drive motor of your washing machine
Follow these steps on how to replace the drive motor of your washer:
- Turn off the power to your washing machine.
- To locate the motor, remove the screws on the back panel, lift it up and pull it off.
- Test the power source to the drive motor with a multimeter.
- If there is no power then you will need to replace the motor.
- To replace the motor, take off the drive belt on the motor.
- Remove the bolts that hold the motor to the washer.
- Disconnect the wire harness from the motor.
- Remove the old motor and install a new motor.
- Reattach the wire harness to the new motor.
- Reinstall the bolts on the new motor and tighten them firmly.
- Reinstall the back panel and secure it with the screws.
- Connect your washer back to the power source.
8. Faulty Motor Control Board
The Motor control board provides power to the motor.
If the motor control board is faulty the motor won’t function and which may cause your washing machine not to agitate.
How to check the motor control board:
- Make sure the power is turned off.
- Using a screwdriver, remove the access panel by unscrewing the screws from the panel and pulling it off the washer.
- Locate the control motor board.
- Check to see if any of the components of the control motor board is burnt out.
- If the control motor board has any of its components burnt out then it will need to be replaced.
- Remove the screws that secure the wire for the motor control board to the base of the washing machine.
- Remove the screws that hold the motor control housing to the base of the washer.
- Remove the screws from the back panel and the base that hold the motor control board to the washer frame.
- Disconnect the wire harness from the motor control board and pull the motor control board out of the washing machine.
- Install the new motor control board by contacting the wires to the new board.
- Replace the screws and the access panel by reversing the procedure.
- Plug the washer into the power source and put the washer in its original position.
9. Worn Drive Pulley
The drive pulley allows the drive belt to function smoothly.
It is made of metal or plastic which the belt runs upon to turn the tub of the washing machine.
Over time, the drive pulley can become worn, cracked, or bent.
This may cause the malfunctioning of the belt and the motor and can cause the washer not to agitate and you will need to replace the drive pulley.
How to replace the drive pulley of your washing machine
- First, unplug your washer from the power source.
- To access the drive pulley, remove the washer cabinet by unscrewing the screws that hold it.
- Locate the drive pulley at the end of the motor shaft.
- Unscrew the bolts that hold the drive pulley.
- Remove the old drive pulley and replace it with a new one.
- Screw the bolts to hold the drive pulley in its place.
- Reassemble the washer to put it in its original state.
If your washer is not agitating but spinning, you can sure check out all the possible reasons we have listed in this article and follow the steps to fix them.
You can also call in a technician to help you if the problem can’t be detected.
However, in most cases, you will be able to fix the problem by yourself by following the guidance in this article.