Why is my washer’s drum not spinning freely?

Why is my washer's drum not spinning freely

If you’ve noticed that your washer’s drum is not spinning as freely as it should be, you may be wondering what’s causing the issue. A washer’s drum that doesn’t spin freely can lead to laundry not being cleaned properly or even damage to the machine. In this section, we’ll explore some of the possible reasons why your washer’s drum may not be spinning as it should and provide some helpful troubleshooting tips to get your washing machine back to optimal performance.

Key Takeaways:

  • A loose drive belt could be causing your washer’s drum to not spin freely.
  • A faulty motor coupling may also be to blame.
  • Check your lid switch for any malfunctioning that may prevent proper spinning.
  • Clogged drain pumps can affect the spinning motion of the drum.
  • Overloading the drum can put excessive strain on the motor and hinder its ability to spin freely.

Loose Drive Belt: Why it May Be Affecting Your Washer’s Drum

If you notice that your washer’s drum is not spinning freely, one possible culprit is a loose drive belt. The drive belt is an essential component that connects the motor to the drum, and if it becomes loose, it can hinder the spinning motion.

Here’s how to check for a loose drive belt and tighten it:

  1. Unplug the washer and locate the drive belt. It’s typically located near the bottom of the machine and can be accessed by removing the back panel or front panel.
  2. Check for signs of wear or damage on the belt. If it appears damaged, it may need to be replaced.
  3. Verify that the belt is tight by pulling on it. It should have a little give but shouldn’t be loose. If it’s loose, it needs to be tightened.
  4. To tighten the drive belt, locate the motor bracket and loosen the bolts holding it in place. Move the motor slightly to tighten the belt, and then retighten the bolts.
  5. Verify that the belt is tight enough by pulling on it again. Once it’s tight, replace the panel and plug the washer back in.

If tightening the drive belt doesn’t solve the problem, it’s possible that the belt may need to be replaced altogether. A professional technician can help diagnose the issue and replace the belt if necessary.

Faulty Motor Coupling

A malfunctioning motor coupling can lead to your washer’s drum not spinning freely. The motor coupling is responsible for connecting the motor and the drum, and if it breaks or wears out, it can hinder the drum’s spinning ability.

To diagnose a faulty motor coupling, you can perform a visual inspection of the coupling to check for any signs of wear or damage. If the coupling appears to be in good condition, you can also test its functionality by turning the drum by hand. If the coupling is not engaging properly, it may need to be replaced.

Replacing a faulty motor coupling requires some mechanical know-how, so if you’re not comfortable with DIY repairs, it’s best to consult a professional. However, if you’re up for the challenge, here are the basic steps to replace a faulty motor coupling:

  1. Disconnect the power to the washer.
  2. Remove the cabinet or front panel of the washer to access the motor and coupling.
  3. Remove the broken coupling by unscrewing it from both the motor and the drum shafts.
  4. Install the new coupling on both the motor and drum shafts, ensuring that it is properly aligned.
  5. Screw in the new coupling securely.
  6. Reassemble the washer cabinet or front panel.

After replacing the motor coupling, test your washer to ensure that the drum is spinning freely without any issues.

Malfunctioning Lid Switch

A malfunctioning lid switch can prevent the washer’s drum from spinning freely. The lid switch is a safety feature that senses if the lid is closed before the machine starts its cycle. If the switch fails, it may not detect the closed lid, and the machine won’t spin.

To test the lid switch, unplug the machine and locate the switch beneath the lid’s opening. Use a multimeter to check if the switch has continuity while the lid is closed. If there’s no continuity, the switch is faulty and needs replacement.

malfunctioning lid switch

If the switch is faulty, don’t attempt to repair it. Instead, replace it with a new one that’s compatible with your washer’s make and model. A professional can help if you’re unsure how to replace the lid switch.

Replacing a lid switch is a straightforward process. Start by unplugging the machine and removing the control panel. You may need to unscrew some screws at the back of the panel or use a putty knife to release the locking clips. Once you have access to the lid switch, disconnect its wiring harness and remove any mounting screws. Install the new switch by reversing the steps, and test it before replacing the control panel.

Clogged Drain Pump: Possible Cause of Washer’s Drum Not Spinning Freely

A clogged drain pump can be the culprit when your washer’s drum is not spinning freely. When a washer goes through a cycle, water is pumped out of the drum and into the drain. If the drain pump is obstructed by debris or foreign objects, water will not drain properly, causing the drum to struggle or stop spinning.

The drain pump is located at the bottom of the washer and is connected to the drain hose. To check if it’s clogged, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the washer and turn off the water supply.
  2. Locate the drain pump at the bottom of the washer. You can refer to your washer’s manual for specific instructions.
  3. Remove any debris or foreign objects that may be obstructing the pump. You can use a pair of pliers or a small brush to dislodge any dirt or debris.
  4. Once the pump is clear, reconnect the drain hose and plug-in the washer.

If the drain pump is damaged or beyond repair, it may need to be replaced. Refer to your manual or consult a professional for guidance on how to replace a clogged drain pump.

“A clogged drain pump can be the culprit when your washer’s drum is not spinning freely.”

Overloaded Drum

One of the most common reasons for a washer’s drum not spinning freely is overloading. Filling the drum beyond its recommended capacity can cause the motor to strain, affecting its ability to spin the drum efficiently. Overloading can also lead to other issues, such as unbalanced loads or damage to the drum. It’s important to always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for loading capacity.

To avoid overloading, start by sorting your laundry and weighing it before adding it to the washer. Use a scale if necessary to ensure you don’t exceed the recommended weight. When loading the washer, distribute the clothes evenly to prevent unbalanced loads that can cause the drum to wobble or stop spinning.

It’s also important to avoid stuffing the washer’s drum with oversized items, such as blankets or pillows, that can take up too much space and cause the motor to strain. Instead, consider washing these items separately or at a laundromat with larger washers designed to handle bulky items.

To prevent overloading in the future, be mindful of how much laundry you’re adding to the washer and avoid the temptation to overload it. Your washer will thank you with smoother spinning and better cleaning results.

Worn Out Bearings

If your washer’s drum is not spinning freely, worn out bearings could be the culprit. Bearings provide support to the drum, allowing it to spin smoothly. Over time, bearings can wear out and cause friction, making it difficult for the drum to rotate properly.

You can diagnose worn out bearings by listening for a loud grinding or rumbling noise during the spin cycle. If you hear these sounds, it’s likely that the bearings need to be replaced.

To replace the bearings, you’ll need to:

  1. Unplug the washer and turn off the water supply.
  2. Remove the top and back panels of the washer.
  3. Disconnect the drive belt and motor.
  4. Remove the drum and inspect the bearings for wear and tear.
  5. If the bearings are worn out, remove them and install new ones.
  6. Reassemble the washer and test it to ensure proper spinning functionality.

It’s important to note that replacing bearings can be a challenging and time-consuming task, so it may be best to consult a professional for assistance. However, if you have experience with appliance repairs, you may be able to tackle this job on your own.

Worn Out Bearings

Tip: To extend the lifespan of your washer’s bearings, avoid overloading the drum and use the appropriate amount of detergent. Overloading can put excessive strain on the bearings, while using too much detergent can cause buildup that can damage them over time.

Damaged Drive Motor

If your washer’s drum is not spinning freely, a damaged drive motor may be the culprit. The drive motor provides the power for the drum to spin and if it’s damaged or burnt out, the drum may not spin correctly or may not spin at all.

To diagnose a damaged drive motor, start by checking the wiring and connections to make sure they’re secure and not damaged. If the wiring looks good, you can test the motor’s continuity using a multimeter. If the multimeter reads an open circuit, the motor is likely damaged and needs to be replaced.

Replacing a drive motor can be a challenging task and may require specialized tools. It’s highly recommended to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek assistance from a professional technician. Attempting to replace a drive motor without proper knowledge or tools can lead to injury or further damage to your washer.

When shopping for a replacement drive motor, make sure to check the model number of your washer to ensure compatibility. A drive motor that is not the correct size or voltage may not work properly or may even be dangerous.

It’s important to address a damaged drive motor as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your washer and to ensure it operates safely and efficiently. Don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance if needed.

Control Board Issues

If your washer’s drum is not spinning freely, control board issues could be to blame. The control board is responsible for coordinating the different components of the washer, including the motor and the drum. When the control board malfunctions, it can cause communication problems that prevent the drum from spinning as it should.

Common control board issues include:

  • Corrosion on electronic components
  • Burnt-out relays
  • Worn-out capacitors
  • Loose connections

If you suspect control board issues, it’s important to troubleshoot the problem and, if necessary, replace the faulty component. Before attempting any repairs, make sure to disconnect the washer from its power source and follow all safety precautions.

How to diagnose control board issues

Here are some steps you can take to diagnose potential control board issues:

  1. Check the control board for signs of damage or corrosion.
  2. Inspect the wiring and connections to ensure they are secure and free from damage.
  3. Use a multimeter to test the control board for continuity and resistance.
  4. Check the relays and capacitors for signs of wear or damage.

Remember, if you’re not comfortable performing these checks yourself, it’s always best to consult a professional.

How to repair control board issues

If you’ve diagnosed control board issues and need to replace a faulty component, follow these steps:

  1. Disconnect the washer from its power source.
  2. Remove the control panel and locate the faulty component.
  3. Unsolder the faulty component from the control board.
  4. Solder the replacement component onto the control board.
  5. Reattach the control panel and reconnect the washer to its power source.

Alternatively, if the entire control board is damaged, you may need to replace the entire part. Refer to your washer’s manual for specific instructions on how to do this.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority when working with electrical components. If you’re not comfortable performing these repairs yourself, it’s best to consult a professional.

Faulty Capacitor

If your washer’s drum is not spinning freely, a faulty capacitor could be the culprit. The capacitor is responsible for providing the motor with the initial jolt of electricity needed to start spinning. If the capacitor is damaged, it can impact the motor’s performance and hinder the drum’s spinning ability.

To check for a faulty capacitor, first, unplug your washer and locate the capacitor. It is a small cylindrical object with two or three wires attached to it. Check for any physical damage, such as bulging or leaking oil. You can use a multimeter to test the capacitor’s electrical charge.

If the capacitor is indeed faulty, it will need to be replaced. To do so, first, purchase a new capacitor that matches the specifications of your washer’s model. Then, carefully remove the old capacitor from its mounting location using pliers or a screwdriver and disconnect the wires.

Install the new capacitor in the same position and reconnect the wires. Make sure they are firmly attached and secure. Finally, plug the washer back in and test to see if the drum is spinning freely once again.

Drive Pulley Problems

The drive pulley is an important component that helps the motor turn the drum in your washer. If the drive pulley is damaged or not functioning correctly, it can cause problems with the drum’s spinning motion.

Common issues with the drive pulley can include wear and tear, misalignment, or damage due to foreign objects getting caught in the belt. If you suspect that the drive pulley is the source of your washer’s problems, there are a few steps you can take to diagnose and potentially resolve the issue.

  1. Inspect the pulley for signs of wear: Look for any visible signs of damage or wear on the drive pulley. If it appears to be worn down or cracked, it may need to be replaced.
  2. Check for belt misalignment: If the belt is not aligned properly on the pulley, it can cause issues with spinning. Ensure that the belt is properly aligned and tightened.
  3. Clear any debris: Foreign objects that get caught in the belt can cause damage to the pulley. Clear any debris from the belt and pulley area.

In some cases, resolving issues with the drive pulley may require replacing the entire pulley system. If you are not comfortable making these types of repairs yourself, it’s best to consult a professional to ensure proper repair and safety precautions.


When your washer’s drum is not spinning freely, it can be frustrating and inconvenient. However, by following the troubleshooting tips outlined in this article, you can quickly identify and resolve the issue.

Remember Safety First

Before attempting any repairs or maintenance, always prioritize safety. Turn off the power and water supply to the washer and unplug it from the outlet. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and safety goggles, when handling any electrical or mechanical components.

Consult a Professional If Needed

If you are unsure about how to proceed or are unable to identify the issue, consult a professional appliance repair technician. They have the knowledge, experience, and tools necessary to diagnose and fix the problem safely and efficiently.

Proper Maintenance is Key

To prevent future issues with your washer’s drum, prioritize proper maintenance. Regularly clean the drum and other components, such as the filter and drain pump, to prevent debris buildup. Avoid overloading the washer and use the appropriate amount of detergent for each load.

With proper maintenance and timely washer repairs, you can extend the lifespan of your washing machine and keep it functioning optimally.

Max Appliance Repair

Written by Max | An appliance repair technician with more than 15 years experience in appliance repair services in Toronto and the GTA.

Disclaimer: This post "Why is my washer’s drum not spinning freely?" is for information purposes only. If you need specific help, please contact Max Appliance Repair at https://maxfix.ca/contact/.