Whirlpool washers come with lots of great features that make doing the laundry a snap. But as with any machine, things can go wrong, and sometimes these great appliances get stuck on the spin cycle. So why is your Whirlpool washer stuck on spin?
If your Whirlpool washing machine gets stuck on the spin cycle, the problem most likely lies with its timer. This small device tells the machine how long to spend on each cycle. When it begins to malfunction, your Whirlpool washer can get stuck on any of its cycles.
In this piece, we’ll look at how your washing machine’s timer works and how you can be sure that it’s truly the source of your woes. We’ll also address how to best fix and replace it. Take a deep breath and learn how to get your washer working again.
How the Timer Affects a Washer’s Spin Cycle
Your washing machine can only perform the processes it does because of its timer. The timer tells your washing machine how long to spend performing each cycle and how to progress through the sequence. Without the timer, the machine won’t know what to do or when.
Now, your Whirlpool washer features many complex parts that work together to clean your clothes. Unfortunately, each is a potential point of failure that could prevent the machine from doing its job properly. Still, the timer is necessary for any of it to operate, so it’s important to recognize whether or not it’s the source of your washer’s problems.
When looking from the outside, all you can see of the timer is a knob you turn to select things like load size. However, if you were to look inside your machine, you’d see that the timer’s internal workings are more intricate than a simple knob would suggest.
Appliance Assistant describes the timer as a series of contacts activated by a rotating cam attached to a wheel connected to the knob. As the cam rotates, the current contacts close, ending the cycle, and the next ones open. The timer also features a motor, and all of these components are held in place by a metal frame.
It’s important to accurately diagnose your washer’s problem before you take steps to fix it. If your washer is also experiencing issues related to its agitator, there could be another problem at hand. For more information on this, check out my article addressing the reasons for a Whirlpool washer not agitating properly.
Types of Timer Problems
Once your Whirlpool washer is stuck on the spin cycle, you may be tempted to replace the timer immediately. First, however, it’s worth your time to investigate what went wrong with the component. Doing so could reveal clues to how it happened in the first place so you can avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Below are potential issues that may have occurred with the timer in your Whirlpool washer.
The camshaft is a rotating component that activates the contacts that trigger each part of the wash cycle. It physically touches each contact in order, holding for a set amount of time before opening the next one. So, when you select your load size, you’re also choosing how quickly the camshaft moves from contact to contact.
A common problem described by HomeSteady is the camshaft coming loose. The vibrations of the machine can cause this over time. When it does happen, the camshaft no longer activates some of the contacts, causing your machine to get stuck on a cycle.
While Whirlpool designs minimize the impact the machine’s vibrations have on all of its parts, overloading still poses a risk to the camshaft. Follow the guidelines in your user manual to avoid adding too much weight. For more information on overloading your machine, check out my article on the capacity of a Whirlpool washer.
Burned or Damaged Contacts
When your washing machine is running a load, electricity is running through the timer’s contacts from start to finish. When it’s time for a specific cycle to begin, the contact that controls said cycle will open, and the others will close. Doing so manipulates the flow of electricity.
However, there are several ways that these contacts can become damaged through everyday use. For example, arcing can occur when the electricity flow tries to bridge the gap created by an open contact and cause physical damage. Similarly, burns that don’t severely damage a contact can still cause carbon buildup, which, over time, can prevent electricity from completing its circuit.
These problems (and others, like a sudden electric surge) can cause contacts to remain open, unable to close. When this occurs, your machine will get stuck on the cycle associated with the associated contact.
Your timer wouldn’t function without a motor. The motor controls the movements of every moving part in the timer itself, working as the heart of the machine. The camshaft and the contacts depend on the motor’s good health to get their jobs done.
However, as with all machinery, a timer’s motor wears down with use and will eventually break down. When this will happen is difficult to predict. Though your user manual may have a suggested lifespan, such an estimate happens only under ideal conditions.
Two major factors influence the lifespan of your timer’s motor. The first is how often you use the machine, and the second is the weight of each load. Higher frequency and weight will threaten your motor health.
Fixing a Washing Machine’s Timer
In most instances, a faulty timer will need replacing. Some issues, like dirty contacts, can be corrected, but physical damage to a component usually cannot.
However, there are a few reasons you shouldn’t do it yourself.
First and foremost, attempting repairs yourself may violate your warranty, and the manufacturer won’t cover future damage. While it’s easy to find guides online that offer step-by-step instructions for locating, removing, and replacing your timer, it’s still easy to damage your machine if you don’t have the appropriate experience.
Additionally, there’s always a chance that you misdiagnosed the problem. Even if you can see that the timer isn’t working correctly, you may unintentionally overlook why. For example, high humidity could damage the contacts rather than an electrical surge.
While hiring a professional will cost more money, it will ensure that the job gets done right. It can even potentially save you money should your own repairs and replacements fail.
If your Whirlpool washer is stuck on the spin cycle (or any cycle), you should check the device’s timer first. One of its many components is the most likely culprit. If you suspect the timer is causing your machine problems, hire a professional to ensure that the replacement gets done correctly and safely.