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My Washer Won’t Agitate but Spins. What Should I Do?

A washing machine has several working components that seamlessly work together to make laundry day a little easier. When you discover your washer won’t agitate but spins during the wash cycle, it can certainly create an inconvenience.

If your washer doesn’t agitate but spins, there are several part failures that can lead to this dilemma. If you are willing to splash around the troubleshooting waters, you may be able to solve the problem yourself.

What to Do When Your
Washer Won’t Agitate but Spins.

When you find your washer not agitating but spinning, check for the following common failures, and be sure to disconnect power to your washer:

Broken Agitator

If your washer won’t agitate but spins, a broken agitator may be to blame. The agitator is the centerpiece in a top load washer that agitates and moves the clothes through the water during the wash cycle. The output shaft of the transmission is splined to the agitator to secure it in place. Over time, some of the components of the agitator can wear down or break with normal usage, causing your washing machine not agitating issue.

Solution: If everything else seems to be in working order, replace the agitator to fix the problem.

Image from Whirlpool

Transmission Failure

Another reason the washer won’t agitate but spins is transmission failure. The transmission helps move the agitator back and forth.

Solution: Check the input shaft inside the agitator. If the input shaft turns but the agitator doesn’t, the transmission may need to be replaced.

Timer Failure

The timer is one of the components that control the drive motor that indirectly connects to the agitator. The timer supplies power to the motor allowing it to turn on and move in the right direction.

Solution: Disconnect the power supply to the washer. You can use a wiring diagram and a multimeter to check for continuity of the timer contacts. If there is no continuity, the timer needs replacement.

Defective Lid Switch

One item sometimes overlooked in this situation is the lid switch. The lid switch triggers the wash cycle to begin when you close the lid on a top loader. When you close the lid, the lid switch activates and signals the washer to agitate during the wash cycle.

Solution: The lid switch can be checked with a multimeter for continuity. However, if there is continuity, you will need to look at the rest of the motor circuit, including the timer and selector switch. A word of warning: this can be tricky for the untrained eye.

Image from AdamDIY

Faulty Drive Motor

There is a chance that a faulty drive motor is the culprit when the washer won’t agitate but spins. The motor drives the transmission that causes the agitator to oscillate. Diagnosing a defective drive motor is difficult and should be done by a technician.

Solution: Hire a technician to diagnose and perform washer repair if you suspect drive motor failure.

If you have made it this far with troubleshooting, good job! The question is, did you fix the problem? If you didn’t, we won’t judge. Troubleshooting the many things that can go wrong with modern appliances is best left to a professional. That’s why we’re here.

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