Washing machine drum not turning

This article is about when the washing machine drum does not revolve on any part of the cycle. It won’t spin, but the drum won’t turn on the wash or rinse either. Also, if the washing machine drum is turning but appears to struggle to turn, and maybe makes strange noises whilst struggling, then this article may also be of help.


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

The drum doesn’t turn at all

Open the door and turn the drum by hand. If by any chance the drum is very stiff or has seized up, this is the problem. Either an obstruction has jammed the drum, or the drum bearings or motor have seized up. Take off the drive belt to find out which one it is.

Check the drive belt is still on

Belt broken

If the drum isn’t seized up the next thing to check is the drive belt. Open the door and give it a good spin by hand. If the belt has come off, there should be less resistance than usual.


It may make a different sound. It should also spin around for longer because there’s less resistance – it’s no longer connected to the motor.

The best person to test this is the one that usually empties the drum at the end of a wash cycle. They are used to the resistance on the drum as they turn it to check for items of clothing stuck to the drum.

The only way to know for sure though is with the washing machine unplugged and the back panel and lid removed. You can then see if the belt has come off or not.

Drive belt off?

If the belt is off, 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.


If you can’t see anything wrong and the belt looks OK you can try refitting it. If it comes off again after being refitted, there is likely to be a fault. This article describes the causes of the belt coming off – drive belt won’t stay on – keeps coming off.


How tight should a drive belt be?

Quite tight. If you pluck it you should get a nice “ping”. It shouldn’t be over tight though. You should be able to move it from side to side approximately a quarter of an inch in the middle. Most modern washing machines are designed so you can’t adjust a slack belt. You must buy a new one if yours is loose.

Buy a new washing machine belt

Buy 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 drum not turning

Washing machine motor

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 running. The most common cause for the motor not running is worn carbon brushes (if fitted).

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 – 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 you’d be better calling in an appliance engineer


Replacing carbon brushes

If you think the carbon brushes have just worn out and need 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 washing machine motor brushes diagnostics (if carbon brushes are fitted). Check out –


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.


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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.


Be Safe: Don’t risk it
appliance safety

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.

Don’t get carried away

Even experienced appliance repairmen have been seriously injured or killed.

DIY Washing machine repair warnings. 8 things you should never do!


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35 thoughts on “Washing machine drum not turning”

  1. Thankyou very much. have hopefuly got someone to look at it tomorrow.
    Many thanks for your response

  2. Hi I’ve just repaired a zanussi 1050 that wasn’t spinning or washing but everything else fine. After inspecting the motor brushes they both had heaps left, but the stator copper connections were completely black so after a good clean with sandpaper, crc and a scribe the machine spun again but faster then ever. In the end a 10 minute fix. Saved a lot of money on buying a new machine which was very close.

  3. Just a quick note to say thank you. Diagnosed the problem within five minutes. Fixed the machine (for now: curious about why the belt came off), will buy a replacement belt tomorrow just in case. Much appreciated.

  4. Hi, my Zanussi aquacycle is approx 8 yeard old. The machine is filling, emptying, everything sounds right.. But, the drum is not moving. I have followed instructions on your page from last year, taken the top off and turned the drum. I can see a belt at the back of the drum which is connected all the way around. Any other ideas please?

  5. If the belt is on OK it leaves faulty connections somewhere on or between the pcb and motor connector, worn carbon brushes in the motor (common due to wear), various other faults on the motor, or a fault on the pcb or module. If you can get the brushes checked there’s a link in the article giving general pointers on what to look for diagnosing worn carbon brushes. Other than that if you can’t see any broken wires or connections to the motor and on the connectors you’d need to get an engineer in.

    1. Thank you very much,engineer on route, helped to be able to explain the fault, he agrees brushes. Ill keep you posted 😊😊😊

  6. I have an Indesit IWD 71250 washing machine, on Saturday smoke starting coming from it and a smell of burning rubber. I switched it off and took the back off and saw that it was all black, from the burning. I took the belt off and refitted it then tried the machine it came on and filled up ok but the drum won’t turn. Ant ideas as to what the problem might be and how to fix it?

    thanks

    Tom

    Update, I tried the machine again and the drum turns for about 30 seconds or so then stops and attempts to start but as if something is stuck in it. any thoughts?

  7. Unless the drum has been very noisy for a while or is obviously very loose it sounds like something is jamming the drum, most probably some obstruction. You might be able to find it using this article How to remove something stuck in washing machine

    If you can’t find it using the article you’ll need an engineer. Using the machine with an obstruction inside could write it off as most outer drums are only plastic and can be fatally damaged by obstructions.

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