How to Repair a Washing Machine

You will find a washing machine in almost every home in America. There are several brands to choose from – including Haier, Whirlpool & LG – as well as styles and models.

Homeowners love the convenience of owning a washer instead of trips to the local laundromat. Of course, if a home has a washing machine, odds are it has a clothes dryer too. Homeowners save time and money over the years with the addition of a washing machine and dryer.

“A residential washer lasts for 10 years on average,” according to Bill Hammel, who performs appliance repair in Sugar Land. “That is the average lifespan for most common household appliances,” Hammel says. You can extend the lifetime of a washing machine with gentle use, proper care and routine maintenance and replacement parts. However, over time, all appliances begin to show signs of wear and break down.


OBX has compiled a list of some of the most common washing machine issues that occur over the lifetime of the appliance. Most are related to age and wear. Some occur from poor construction or misuse. Additional information includes troubleshooting and repair tips as well as recommendations for local appliance repairmen should the repair be too complicated for DIY.


The most common sign of an appliance wearing down or breaking is when loud noises start to come from it. All appliances create some amount of noise but if the sound coming from the washer is unusual it is best to inspect it. If there is a rattle sound, inspect the pump motor first. Otherwise, the problem is likely worn bearings or a worn belt that needs to be replaced.


In order to run successfully, a washing machine requires several gallons of water to run through it. A leak can become a serious problem fast. Don’t ignore it if you start to see water dripping anywhere from the appliance. It is best to respond to the issue ASAP. A worn pump or worn door seals are one cause for concern. Also check for a failed water inlet valve on the machine.


A washing machine that won’t turn on isn’t of much use. First, be sure the appliance is plugged in. Sometimes the cord can loosen during operation and fall out from the outlet. Also be sure the circuit breaker did not trip. Then, inspect the door latch switches on the washing machine for signs of wear or missing parts. You should also troubleshoot the thermal fuses, timers and electronic controls.


A washing machine cycles the clothing inside and turns and tosses it around to spread out the clothing and disperse the clean soap and water. This function is critical for cleaning the clothes inside. If a washer is not agitating, you will need to address the problem right away. The agitator cogs on the washer are the first parts to inspect. Also, review the transmission, coupler and drive belt for any signs of damage or wear.


A washing machine will rattle a little during operation, but not too much. If the shaking becomes dramatic and loud, then there is a problem that needs immediate attention. There are a few reasons why this problem might occur. The first are the shock absorbers on the appliance. Be sure to inspect the leveling legs and the dampening straps as well. You can find replacement parts at an online distributor or possibly at a nearby hardware store.


A burning smell coming from a household appliance is often a sign of friction between two parts of the appliance. This is also true of a washing machine. The threat of fire is minimal but the problem should still be tended to quickly. The drive belts on the washer are a common cause for burning smells. The other reason there might be a burning smell is if the motor pulleys are worn down. Schedule service from an appliance repair company for a quick and easy fix.


During the beginning of a washing cycle, the washer will fill up with water. Then, at the end, the water drains from the appliance. If both functions occur at the same time, there is a problem and the clothes inside will not get clean. Most of the time, the reason for this issue is related to the water level on the appliance. The other reason are the pressure switches found throughout the washing machine. Inspect both to find the part causing the issue.

The problems listed above are some of the most common when it comes to washing machines 10 years old or older. There are other issues that occur as well, but these are the most common.

You can attempt to repair the issues above on your own with the proper tools. We recommend following our online guides found throughout our website. However, if you are not comfortable with DIY appliance repair, it is best to enlist the help of a professional appliance repair company. Here are some we recommend:

Metro Appliance Repair
Des Moines, IA

Champion Chandler Appliance Repair
Chandler, AZ

Chico Appliance Repair
Chico, CA

Dependable Refrigeration
Tucson, AZ

One-Call Sugar Land Appliance Repair
Sugar Land, TX