How To Test A Washing Machine Motor


If your washing machine fails to start or makes strange noises, it could be the motor. The motor operates the drum and pump. Motors should last a long time, but when they do go out, it usually is due to poor maintenance.

However, just because the motor fails doesn't mean it is the problem. It is advised to perform a test to determine the actual cause of the washer not starting. Here are tips to troubleshoot a washing machine motor.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves  
  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • needle-nose pliers
  • multimeter

Washing machines run on 220-volt or 240-volt circuits. To avoid shock, shut off the power to the washer by unplugging it or turning it off from the circuit breaker. If you don't know which breaker controls it, shut off the main power supply.

Clean the Motor

Locate the motor on your unit, referring to your owners manual, if needed. Check the motor for dirt. Sometimes, dirt accumulates in the motor and prevents the metal contacts from closing.

The motor may make a humming sound that causes an extra high current, which burns out the motor. In some cases, the high voltage causes a problem in the start winding (the part responsible for creating torque) that prohibits it from operating properly. Clean the motor bearings, and test again.

Check the Drive Belt

Check the drive belt for tension. Washing machine belts operate similarly to vehicle belts. Too much tension on the belt could strain the motor. Check your manual for the correct tension, and test the machine again.

Test with a Multimeter

Disconnect the two motor wires using pliers. You may prefer to take a picture to help you recall how the wires connect.

Digital mulimeters are easier to use than analog, and the results are more reliable. You will notice several settings on the multimeter, including resistance, AC, DC, and current. In this case, you are testing resistance. 

Always grip the rubber handles on the multimeter. Touch a screwdriver blade to one terminal and the shaft to the other terminal. This removes any current that might remain. 

Set the multimeter on the lowest setting, or RX1. Touch a probe to a metal tab. You should get a 0 reading or a number near 0. An infinite reading indicates a failed motor.

Remove one probe, and touch it to the motor shell to test ground. A 0 reading means the wire isn't grounded properly. Test the other tab.

Restore power to the washing machine. If the motor test passed, and the washing machine still fails, contact an appliance service like All Appliance Service Inc for assistance.


4 April 2017

Your Complete Appliance Services Guide

Hello, my name is Kendall Nolan and you've arrived at my blog that will tell you all about appliances and appliance services. When I built a new home, I had to purchase new appliances for the house. I wanted to make sure that I chose the best appliances for my money, so I did months of research before I bought them. I looked at online reviews, spoke with friends and family, and even talked to several appliance technicians to find out which appliances were the best. I also checked out appliance services in my area to ensure they performed appliance maintenance. If you need to know anything about appliances or appliance services, you'll learn what you need to know in my blog. After learning all the answers to my questions, I was able to choose the appliances that worked the best for me.