6 Reasons Your Washing Machine is Not Spinning

a washing machine that has stopped spinning

When your washing machine stops spinning it can be caused by a few different faults. We will be looking at the 6 most common reasons your washer would struggle to spin.

Both electrical and mechanical faults can cause the drum to stop turning on your machine. The two most common reasons are blockages and the carbon brushes being worn down.

Let’s take a look at 6 reasons your machine has stopped spinning.

1. The carbon brushes need to be replaced

The carbon brushes on a washing machine motor will wear down over time. It’s perfectly normal for them to eventually wear down to the point that they don’t touch the motor contacts.

washing machine carbon brushes

Carbon brushes are the single most common reason for your washing machine to stop spinning. They will both need to be replaced with new ones to get your machine back up and running.

You will find the carbon brushes on either side of the motor, and they need to be unscrewed and disconnected so you can inspect them. If they look low in comparison to new ones, it’s a good idea to replace them.

Luckily, replacing the carbon brushes on a washing machine is usually very economical. Typically, you can expect to pay between £10 – £20 for a new set of carbon brushes.

2. The motor has failed

When a motor fails, it’s not just because the carbon brushes are worn down.

carbon brush being removed from motor

The motor could have another fault like bad insulation, a faulty wiring block or broken motor segments.

If you have an electrical multimeter, you can test the wires that go from the control board down to the motor and make sure there are no open circuits.

If your washing machine has been sparking recently, this will be because of the motor. When carbon from the brushes blows into the motor it causes small electrical sparks that can seem scary.

If you have explored all other options without swapping any parts, replacing the motor is the next logical step.

3. The load is unbalanced

Amongst causing the machine to shake around and bang while spinning, an unbalanced load can actually cause the machine to stop spinning.

During a wash cycle, the motor will rotate clockwise and anticlockwise in an effort to balance the clothes. If the motor sends feedback to the control board that it has failed to balance out the load, the machine will stop and fail to spin.

spirit level showing off balance washing machine

Making sure that your clothes are balanced in the machine is actually one of the ways that you can extend the life of your washing machine.

If you are someone who likes to fit as much as you can in the drum, you might want to change the way you wash your clothes. By reducing the amount of clothing that you put in your machine you can make sure that your machine doesn’t shake around, which can cause more problems.

4. The machine has a blockage

Before the machine tries to spin, it will attempt to clear the water out of the drum. If the machine can’t drain the water, then it will fail to spin.

washing machine drain pipe blocked up with sewage

There can be a few different reasons that a washing machine won’t drain but the most common reason is a blockage.

Common places to find a blockage:

  • The drain pump filter
  • The sump hose
  • The water waste pipe

Making sure that you empty your pockets and unwanted items don’t go into the wash is a good way to prevent a blockage in your machine.

5. The belt has fallen off of the drum

The belt on a washer is located at the back of the machine behind the metal cover. It attaches to the motor spindle and the drum spider.

inspecting a washing machine drive belt

If your machine has had to deal with an unbalanced load, then the drum may have shaken the belt off.

A good indication that the belt has fallen off is when you spin the drum by hand. If the drum spins with no resistance and feels lighter, it’s probably because the belt is not fitted to the motor.

If you inspect the belt and realize that it has snapped, then you will have to buy the correct belt for the model of your machine.

Washing machine belts vary in price from model to model but an average price is between £4 – £15.

Refitting the belt is quick and easy. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

  1. Isolate your machine from the power before you start.
  2. Take the back cover off the machine. You will need to remove a few screws to be able to remove it.
  3. Once you’re ready to fit the belt, you can put it on the motor and guide it onto the drum spider. Turning the drum from the back slightly can help guide the belt back onto the machine.
  4. Once the belt is back on the pulley, put the cover back on to the machine and refit the screws.
  5. Test the machine and check that the belt is staying on. If it comes back off it can indicate a more serious fault, such as bearing failure.

6. The drum bearings have collapsed

Have you noticed that your washing machine has been noisier than usual? It could be because the drum bearings have failed.

When the bearings collapse in the drum, the machine will no longer be able to spin.

We actually talked about different reasons that your washing machine would be noisy, and the drum bearings were one of the most common reasons.

A quick check that you can do is to open the door on your washing machine and try and move the drum up and down with your hand. If it feels looser than it should, then the bearings might have failed.

When you turn the drum by hand does it make a rough whirring noise? That’s also another indication that the bearings need to be fixed.

When your machine has bearing failure, you should consider if it’s worth repairing. Getting the bearings fixed on a washing machine can be expensive and sometimes costs more than the machine is worth.