Does your washing machine refuse to spin or agitate? Are you unable to start the washer at all? A faulty lid or door lock is the most common cause of this malfunction. Many top-load washing machine models require the lid to be fully closed before the wash cycle can begin and most top-load models require the lid to be locked before the tub begins spinning or agitating. All front-load washers require the door to be locked before the appliance will start at all.
Testing the washing machine’s lid or door lock will let you know if this part has failed and needs to be replaced. Read on as we take you through the testing procedure so you can properly diagnose your washer’s problem and fix the appliance quickly.
What does the washer’s lid or door lock actually do
Before we explain the lid or door lock testing method, let’s address what the washer’s lid or door lock actually does.
Top-load washers have a lid switch
Top-load washing machines will have a lid switch that needs to be activated before the tub will spin. Since the switch is activated by the lid’s strike being inserted into a latch or lock assembly when the lid is closed, this is the washer’s way of ensuring the spinning tub won’t harm a child’s arm or pet because the lid was inadvertently left open. When the lid switch is activated, an actuator will prevent the lid from opening and voltage will be allowed to travel to the drive motor or stator/rotor assembly to spin the tub; if the switch is not activated by the lid being closed, voltage will not be sent to the drive motor or stator/rotor assembly and the tub will not spin.
Front-load washers have a door lock switch
The door on front-load washers needs to be closed and locked before a wash cycle will even begin. Once the laundry is loaded and the temperature and cycle options are chosen, the control or timer will lock the door. For this to happen, the door strike needs to be firmly inserted into the door lock assembly. This triggers a door lock switch which activates an actuator to secure the door. When this happens successfully the control will be allowed to send voltage to the water inlet valve to open and fill the tub with water. If the door isn’t fully closed, the switch won’t be triggered and the washer will not start.
How to test a washer lid or door lock
If the washer lid or door is fully closed, but the appliance will not start, or not spin or agitate, it’s likely the switch in the lid or door lock has failed. To help troubleshoot this issue first confirm the lid or door actually locks during operation and the lock indicator light (if applicable) is illuminated. If the lock does not appear to be functioning, you can use a multimeter to test the lock assembly’s solenoid coil for electrical continuity, a continuous electrical path present in the coil that actuates the pin to lock the lid or door. Here’s how you can perform the test:
- Unplug the washing machine’s power cord from the wall outlet to avoid electrical shock when disassembling the appliance.
- Remove the top-load washer’s control housing or the front-load washer’s top panel to access the appliance’s control board.
- Refer to the washer’s wiring diagram to identify the location of the lid or door lock wire connector.
- Disconnect the lid or door lock wire connector from the control board.
- Rotate the multimeter’s range selection dial to the lowest setting for ohms of resistance.
- Contact the black and red meter leads to the appropriate connector terminals.
- Observe the multimeter reading. If the display indicates a reading between 50 and 150 ohms of resistance, the lid or door lock’s solenoid coil has proper electrical continuity and should be functioning. Keep in mind, even if the coil tests positive for continuity the status switch within the lock assembly could still be faulty and the entire assembly will need to be replaced. However, if the meter display indicates the solenoid coil has no electrical continuity you’ll know for sure the coil has failed and a new lid or door lock assembly will need to be installed to fix the problem.
Washing machine repair know-how courtesy of Repair Clinic
As your repair partner, Repair Clinic has the repair know-how you need to successfully fix your washing machine. Just enter the appliance’s full model number in the Repair Clinic website’s “Videos & Articles” search bar to find model-specific guides, schematics, and step-by-step procedural videos, such as this one showing the proper way to install a new lid lock assembly on a Whirlpool Top-Load Washer (Model WTW7120HW0) or this one demonstrating how to replace a defective door latch assembly on an Electrolux Front-Load Washer (Model EIFLS60JIW1).
If you need to install a new door lock assembly, lid strike, or any other washer component, Repair Clinic recommends purchasing a genuine original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement part instead of a generic non-OEM part. While genuine parts are specifically designed to work with the model they’re built for, generic parts may not be completely compatible with the appliance or could be made from inferior materials that can wear out prematurely. Repair Clinic.com is the website to find original manufacturer replacement parts that match the most popular top-load and front-load washer models, including those built by Whirlpool, LG, Samsung, Maytag, GE, Kenmore, Bosch, and Frigidaire. Entering the full model number of the appliance in the Repair Clinic search bar will result in a comprehensive list of compatible OEM parts related to that model. You can then use the “Part Category” and “Part Title” filters to narrow that list down to find the exact part you need to fix your washer.