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One Little Switch, So Many Problems – Is Your Washing Machine Lid Switch The Culprit?

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Your washing machine has a small switch that engages when you close the washing machine lid. This little switch was added to prevent injuries that used to be sustained by people who reached in the washing machine while it was operating. Unfortunately, this safety feature can cause problems if it stops working as it should.

What problems can a failed lid switch cause?

The washing machine:

  • Doesn't work at all.
  • Doesn't drain the water out of the tub.
  • Doesn't move the agitator.
  • Doesn't move the drum.
  • Leaves clothes too wet after the spin cycle has completed.

All of these problems can be caused by a number of issues, but one thing that these problems share in common is the lid switch.

How do you test the lid switch to find out if it is the cause of all of your problems?

Step 1: Disconnect the Power

Turn off the power to the washing machine. This can be done by unplugging it at the wall or flipping the breaker switch at the breaker panel. Failure to cut the power could result in electrical burns and electrocution.

Step 2: Clean the Connections

The lid switch uses a striker and switch to activate the machine. If the striker and switch become caked with old laundry detergent or dirt, it will not work efficiently. Use cotton swabs and white vinegar to clean the switch and striker as best you can. Restore power to the washing machine and give it a test.

Sometimes, this is all that is needed to fix the problem. If not, disconnect the power and continue to the next step.

Step 3: Check for Damage

Sometimes, the metal strip inside the switch that comes into contact with the striker can bend. Look at it closely. When you close the lid, does the striker make contact with the switch? This can be difficult to determine, but if you use a little bit of charcoal powder rubbed on the striker, you can see what the striker is coming in contact with when the lid is closed.

If the striker is not contacting the switch, try gently bending the metal switch plate inside. If that doesn't work, you will have to replace the lid switch.

Step 4: Test Electrical Current

If all else has failed, you must test the switch to ensure that the electrical current is being carried as it should. Use a multitester to do this. You will see two terminals on the lid switch. Place a probe on each terminal. The multitester should be reading infinity. Now, press the lid switch button. The reading should now be zero. If the switch doesn't pass this test, you will need to replace it.

If you are unable, or don't have the time to work on your washing machine yourself, or fail to find the problem, contact a professional appliance repair service, like Affordable Appliance Repair, for assistance.