Agitator not working is a common problem in washing machines. Many people use the same technique to fix their washing machine, but it does not always work. In some cases, the agitator just stops working and becomes stuck in the middle of the washing machine drum. Sometimes, the agitator does not rotate freely or stop rotating at all.
A washing machine agitator is an important part of the machine. It revolves or rotates to break up soap and grime from clothes in a washing basin. In the absence of this particular part of the machine, clothes will not be well cleaned. The agitator is therefore important to the overall functioning of the machine.
Washer won’t agitate? First, inspect the agitator assembly. If not damaged, check if the drive block is worn down. Next, make sure the belt hasn’t snapped, and that the motor coupling isn’t cracked. Lastly, check if there isn’t excessive wear in the transmission/gearcase.
If your washing machine agitator stops working, you might think that it’s broken for good. But with a little troubleshooting and some patience, it’s often possible to fix the issue.
Washing Machine Agitator Not Working – Troubleshoot And Diagnosis
If the washer becomes unbalanced and starts to rock, or if you get vibration when the machine is running, it might be time to check the agitator. The agitator is a small, rim-mounted rubber wheel that’s used in conjunction with the machine’s inner tub.
There are a few reasons why your washing machine agitator won’t work. First of all, be sure to check whether your agitator assembly is damaged. If that’s not the case, then you have to check if your drive belt is loose or broken, if your motor coupling is broken, or if your transmission has failed.
In any case, you should avoid operating a washing machine without the agitator for safety reasons.
1. Agitator Assembly Is Damaged
If your washing machine is clunking while in the spin cycle, it’s time to troubleshoot. The first step is to check the washing machine agitator assembly. This assembly is a series of rotating arms that can get damaged over time due to friction and use — which can cause the machine to make noise or lose balance.
Weak agitator shafts refer to situations where the drive shaft of a washing machine is spinning, but the agitator isn’t moving. This can be caused by either the agitator shaft being too weak to stand up to wear and tear or by the agitator catching on an undulating wire or a fan blade. The symptom is an agitator (or pump) that won’t spin.
As part of the cleaning process, the manufacturers makes the agitator assembly using hard plastic. However, this material can break or deteriorate over time. If a small piece of the assembly breaks off, it can cause damage to other parts of the machine.
It’s important to check the agitator assembly for dents and signs of wear before you put it back in — if there are marks or dents on the drive shaft, it may be damaged.
When your washer agitator assembly gets broken, you’ll have to replace the part. It’s not possible to repair the part once it’s lost its ability to agitate laundry, so if you run into this issue while using your machine, call a certified appliance repair specialist.
2. Worn Out Or Damaged Drive Block
Another part of the agitator assembly is the drive block, which connects the transmission (the mechanism that moves the agitator) with the washing machine via a flexible coupling. Drive blocks are usually made of plastic and can wear out over time — causing problems with agitation and spin performance.
The drive block is the part of your washing machine that connects the agitator to the transmission. It helps to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that the agitator moves in time with the transmission shaft.
To access the drive block, the agitator must be removed — a process that requires first removing the drum. If the agitator is damaged or cannot be gripped firmly, it must be replaced before removing the drum.
After you remove and replace the agitator, you’ll have to remove the drum to access the drive block.
Next, pull out the drum because you need room to work. Then inspect the drive block carefully to make sure that it’s not worn or damaged — stripped parts around it can lead to an unstable product in your washer.
After you assemble the agitator to the driveshaft and clamp the assembly to the tub, make sure that the agitator moves back and forth correctly in the agitation cycle. If you find it does not move correctly, check to make sure that the drive block is properly installed on the driveshaft. If it is, replace it with a new one.
3. Drive Belt Is Broken Or Loose
If a belt-driven washer has a problem with its drive belt, this is what happens: the motor spins the transmission, which turns the agitator back and forth. However, if the belt breaks, the transmission can’t turn the agitator.
A good machine has a washer drive belt that keeps the washer tensioned properly. A noisy washing machine generally means it’s out of balance and you should fix it immediately before damage occurs. The washing machine drive belt gets elastically lost over time, when this happens, it can cause the washer to become out of balance and noisy.
You can find the belt near the center of your washing machine, running between the pulleys (which control the movement) and the motor (which provides power).
If your washing machine is skipping or failing to agitate, the first thing you should check is your drive belt. A broken drive belt or one that’s too loose can cause a host of issues with the agitator, drum, and transmission.
If your washer’s drive belt is loose or broken, it can cause an error code to appear, and it can prevent the agitator and the drum from working or spinning.
Your transmission is integral to the operation of your washer. If the belt breaks or snaps, then a lack of power will leave your washer temporarily inoperable. While some brands of washers have a built-in repair kit that fits inside the machine, not all do — and even then, you could be stuck waiting for a technician to come out and fix it.
4. Faulty Motor Coupling
We see a theme with washing machines at the moment — their direct drive transmission. However, the wash is where the real action happens. The drum uses a powerful motor, and it’s coupled to effective agitator assemblies to make sure that clothing is clean and soil is removed from deep within garments, for a quality wash every time.
The washer motor coupling is the part of your washing machine that transfers the motion of the motor to the transmission. It helps the transmission to rotate and make the drum spin. More specifically, it works in conjunction with the transmission shaft to transfer motor power to both the transmission and drum.
In short, the washer motor coupling unit is an integral part of your washing machine’s motor that enables it to connect with the transmission as well as the agitator. It houses a gear that allows the motor to spin at high RPMs and to engage with the transmission when required.
Beyond protecting your washing machine from burning out, the motor coupling is there to protect against overloading. Manufacturers design it specifically to break if a washing machine is overloaded, so if you put too much weight in the tub, it can break on a regular basis. Furthermore, the coupling can also break due to age, wear and tear.
Washing Machines with broken couplings must be replaced immediately, as they can cause serious damage to your machine.
It is important to know that, while the washing machine is running, a broken coupling will still spin around, but will not move the agitator. That is why it’s essential to have it replaced right away.
5. Bad Transmission
After you complete all of the steps above, you may still run into problems with your washer. If you notice that the agitator doesn’t spin, that’s a big indication that there is an issue with your transmission.
A transmission problem will prevent the washer from completing a cycle and can also cause other symptoms such as this grinding noise.
Washing machines have a gearcase transmission, which is a large gearbox that powers the drum of your washer. The gearcase transmission is incredibly important, as it helps to keep the drum turning when you’re washing and rinsing.
However, this part is expensive and complex to repair — which means that many homeowners simply replace their entire washing machine when there are issues with this gearcase transmission.
No automatic washer can clean clothes properly without a transmission — and the first few minutes of each cycle are spent turning the agitator. The washer agitator’s job is to push detergent and water through fabrics, so if it stops spinning or stops working, your clothes won’t get clean.
Although there are many parts of a transmission, two of the most common causes for a broken transmission are cracked or stripped gears as a result of overuse and metal fatigue from years of use.
When your washer agitator stops working, your first thought is to find a repair company to fix it. And while you can take the machine in, most repairs will cost more than just replacing the transmission.
A far better option is to get a new replacement. After all, if your old washing machine has dents or cracks from years of use, it’s probably time to upgrade anyway.
Hi there! I’m Sam Hendricks, and I’m a repair technician and expert. I created this website to help people like you save money and time by fixing your own appliances.
Over the years, I’ve seen people spend a lot of money on unnecessary repairs or replacements. That’s why I decided to share my expertise and create easy-to-follow guides for fixing appliances on your own.