Washing machine drum not turning

This article offers help when a washing machine’s drum does not turn on any part of the cycle. So the drum doesn’t revolve during the cycle on wash, rinse, or the final spin. This could be because it has physically seized up, or more commonly, because of a fault.

What if drum turns on wash but not spin?

If the drum does rotate on wash and rinses – but it’s just not spinning the clothes at the end, then you need a different article – washing machine not spinning.

Troubleshooting if the drum doesn’t turn at all during the cycle

The first thing to do is open the door and spin the drum by hand. If it feels normal, this paragraph isn’t relevant. If the drum spins with less resistance than normal, the belt may have come off (not applicable with LG Direct Drive). If the drum feels very stiff, or has seized up, then either the belt has come off and become entangled, an obstruction has jammed the drum, or either the drum or motor bearings have seized up.

You would need to take off the drive belt to find out which one it is. This is because when turning the drum from the front, you are turning both the drum and the motor — either of which could be the problem.

Is the drive belt still on?

If the belt is off, but appears undamaged, there is typically a reason for this. It’s rare for a belt to come off for no reason, although it can happen. Has the washing machine been very noisy for some time? If so, the drum bearings may have collapsed. Another common cause is a loose drum pulley.

If the belt has come off, but it looks OK you can try refitting it but make sure the large drum pulley isn’t loose. If it comes off again after being refitted, there is likely to be a fault. This article describes the main causes of the belt coming off, as well as how tight the drive belt should be– washing machine drive belt keeps coming off.

Buy new drive belt

Buy a new drive belt

If you need to buy a new belt, you can order one from Ransom Spares – order your new washing machine belt

More causes of the drum not turning

If the belt is still on, and not overly slack, and the drum hasn’t seized up, then the fault must be related to the motor not physically running. The most common cause for the motor not running is worn carbon brushes (if fitted).

Washing machine motor

However, there are many other possible reasons why a motor isn’t working, including other faults on the motor itself – and faults on other parts of the washing machine.

There can also be complications regarding carbon brushes if the main part of the motor is also worn, or there is excessive carbon dust built up in the motor.

Crackling or grating noise from motor

Sometimes the drum turns OK without a load in, but makes a strange crackling or grating sound and struggles to turn with laundry inside. This could also indicate worn carbon brushes in the motor.

Don’t speculatively replace carbon brushes. Even if you find they are substantially worn down. They may well need replacing, but if worn carbon brushes are the cause of your motor currently not working then at least one of them should be charred, black, sooty – see here – do I need to replace carbon brushes? (diagnostics & fitting).

Not all motors have carbon brushes fitted

Note that many washing machines these days have brush-less motors. These motors are generally more reliable, and quieter. They are usually totally silent during wash, so you only really hear the water being splashed about. If you have a brushless motor and the motor is not running then it obviously can’t be caused by worn brushes, so after checking the connections and motor plug it’d be better to book an appliance engineer. WARNING: Some brushless motors have large capacitors that can shock even after the washing machine has been unplugged! Call an engineer instead.

Replacing the carbon brushes

If you think the carbon brushes have worn out and require replacing, many people do successfully replace them. But you must be competent to carry out such DIY repairs. I have articles with diagnostic help specifically for the most common Hotpoint & Creda motors. However, the articles are also relevant for any brand of washing machine motor brushes (if carbon brushes are fitted) as all carbon brushes work the same way. Do not just fit new brushes if you haven’t physically checked that they need replacing. Check out these articles –

More causes of motor not running

I’ve covered the most common reasons why the drum isn’t turning on a washing machine. But there are many other possible causes, which are less appropriate for DIY repairs. If none of the above helps, then the main thing is to check the wiring and connections on the motor plug and wiring harness.

In some washing machines if the tacho coil has fallen off the motor under its cover it can stop working. There is information on the tacho coil here – Tacho coil.

Weird anomalies

Then there are unexpected anomalies that make fault-finding even harder. Some washing machine brands such as Hotpoint, Creda, Indesit, and Ariston running specific software can even stop the motor from running if the main suppressor filter is open circuit. This is totally counter-intuitive.

This will also not result in any error message. Do not mess with the suppressor unless you know exactly what you are doing. They can hold an electric charge after being disconnected from the mains, which could give a nasty shock. Call an engineer instead.

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Other possible faults

Other faults are module faults, connection faults anywhere between the control pcb and the motor, PCB faults, and other motor faults such as open circuit field coil, TOC or armature. It would be unwise to start buying expensive parts speculatively.

Note that many PCB faults are invisible to the eye – and many PCB components can get hot and attract a black soot around them. This is commonly mistaken for burning. The best thing is to get a proper repair engineer.

Please take a moment to check out my Top 4 DIY repair safety tips, which not only covers electrical safety but other things you may be less aware of too.

Even experienced appliance repairmen have been seriously injured or killed.

Also read my DIY Washing machine repair warnings – 8 things you should never do!


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35 thoughts on “Washing machine drum not turning”

  1. My washer motor is not running when I gave supply to washer making noise low but motor not running not spinning

  2. Dear Andy….just bought a top loader washing machine… Soaked a small towel inside it since yesterday (did not know I should n’t)… Now it is not spinning…when I emptied the machine…I turned it on.. It started spinning… But when I put back the towel it won’t spin…why…? It is a 6kg…

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