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Troubleshooting: Why Is My Washing Machine Not Turning On?

Common Causes for Washing Machine Issues

Call Sears Home Services for Assistance from Expert Washer Repairmen

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  2. Repair

8 Ways to Fix a Washing Machine That Won’t Turn On

7 min readUpdated Mar. 08, 2024Terry MehilosWasher
Man stands exasperated by washer that won’t start

Is your washing machine refusing to turn on? In this guide, we'll cover eight simple troubleshooting steps to get it running again, from checking the power cord to inspecting the control board. If DIY solutions aren't enough, we'll also discuss when it's time to call a professional.


  • Basic troubleshooting steps for diagnosing and fixing a washing machine that won't turn on, like checking the power cord and resetting the circuit breaker, can often resolve common issues without the need for professional help.
  • Various components like the lid switch, control panel, and electronic control board should be inspected for damage or loose connections. If any components are found to be damaged, they should be replaced accordingly to restore functionality to the washer.
  • While DIY troubleshooting can resolve many washer problems, more complex issues may require the expertise of a professional technician.

When your washer won’t turn on, you may be able to fix the problem yourself using some basic troubleshooting steps. When you’re unable to find and fix the cause of the failure yourself, schedule a Sears Technician to diagnose and repair your washer.

Troubleshooting: Why Is My Washing Machine Not Turning On?

1. Check the Power Cord

See if the power cord is fully plugged into the electrical outlet for the washer. If not, plug in the power cord fully and check the washer for power.

Examine the power cord for damage. Unplug the power cord and replace it if it’s damaged.

If you’re unable to replace the power cord yourself, have a service technician replace the power cord.

2. Reset the House Circuit Breaker

If you found no problems with the power cord, check the house circuit breaker for the washer’s electrical outlet. Reset the house circuit breaker and see if the washer powers up. This may fix the washer problem.

3. Test the Electrical Outlet

To test whether the electrical outlet is the problem, plug a hair dryer or other electrical device into it. If the hair dryer doesn't work, the wiring in the outlet is the problem. Have an electrician repair the electrical outlet.

4. Check the Lid Switch

When you have a top-load washer, a broken lid switch may prevent the washer from starting.

Unplug the washer and check the lid switch for damage. If the lid switch is damaged, replace it.

Here’s a DIY video that shows how to replace the lid switch in a common washing machine:

Replacing a broken lid switch may fix your washer problem.

5. Examine Wiring Connections on the Control Board

When your washer has an electronic control instead of a timer dial, loose power cord wiring connections on the control board could be preventing your washer from powering up.
If you’re confident in your ability so safely access the control board in your washer, unplug the machine and check the power cord wires connected to the electronic control board. Reconnect any loose wires.

Reconnecting loose wires may fix your washing machine.

6. Check the Electronic Control Board for Damage

Examine the electronic board for burn marks. Burnt spots on the circuit board indicate that internal components or wires shorted out on the control board.

Replace the electronic control board when you find damage.

Follow the steps in our How to replace the machine control board in a front-load washer repair guide to install a new circuit board in a front-load washer.

Here’s a DIY repair video that shows how to replace the electronic control board in a common top-load washing machine:

Replacing a damaged electronic control board may fix your washer when it won’t power up.

7. Inspect the Control Panel

Loose wiring connections between the electronic control board and the control panel can prevent the washer from powering up.

Unplug the washer from the electrical outlet if it isn’t already unplugged and check the wiring connections between the main electronic control board and the control panel. Reconnect any loose wires. This may fix the washer problem.

A damaged control panel can also prevent the washer from powering up. Replace the control panel if it’s damaged.

8. Have a Service Technician Fix the Washer

Complicated washer problems can be difficult to diagnose and repair on your own. When all else fails, schedule a Sears Technician to diagnose and fix the washer.

The repair technician will conduct advanced tests to determine the cause of the washer problem and repair the washer.

Common Causes for Washing Machine Issues

Washers all have some common components such as water valves, drive motors and drain pumps. Because many washing machine components are similar, they can encounter similar part failures.

Here are some of the most common washer failures.

Broken Knobs

Control knobs are some of the first components to fail in washers. You use the washer control knobs to set each cycle so they often wear out faster than other components.

You can typically replace broken washer knobs yourself. Order replacement knobs from our Sears PartsDirect website.

Most control knobs just push onto the stem on the control panel. Some knobs are threaded onto the stem. Timer control knobs are sometimes more complicated to replace. To replace some timer knobs, you need to unplug the washer and pry out the timer knob shaft from the back of the timer to release the control knob locking tab and remove the timer knob.

Faulty Start Switch

The washer start switch is another component that you use constantly on your washer. It can also wear out quicker than other components. When you push the start button but the washer won’t start, you may need to replace the start button.

If you’re unsure whether the start button is bad, have a service technician examine and repair your washing machine.

Broken Washer Motor

Overloading the washer is a common mistake that users make and overloading causes the washer motor to wear out faster. Keep your washer motor lasting longer by following the laundry loading instructions in your owner’s manual.

When you washer motor does go bad, have a service technician replace it.

Shorted Main Control Board

The main electronic control board, also called the mother board, governs the timing and execution of the washer component functions. It controls the fill valves, the drive motor and the drain pump.

Because it’s connected to so many washer components through wiring, the main control board can experience an electrical short circuit at any time. You’ll usually see burnt wiring connected to the control board or a burn spot on the control board circuitry when it experiences an electrical short.

Replace the main electronic control board when it shorts out. Also check the circuit connected to the control board or have a service technician check the circuits before you install the new main control board so the new board doesn’t short out again as soon as you power up the washer.

Call Sears Home Services for Assistance from Expert Washer Repairmen

We’re your best option for quick and easy local washer repair and maintenance of front loading, top-load and portable washing machines. Whether your washing machine is leaking, your washer won’t fill with water, or your washing machine smells bad, you can count on Sears Home Services for the best washer service technicians in the business. Our technicians are local, licensed and vetted, with the skills to get fix a broken washer.

When your washing machine needs repair, schedule a repair appointment online. Same-day and next-day service appointments are available in many areas.

Trust Sears Home Services to fix your washer fast.

Schedule your washer repair now!

With years of experience, our technicians possess the skills to repair your washer, regardless of the issue.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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