Last updated on February 4th, 2017
A very common fault on washing machines is when one fails to complete the cycle and stops part way through. Many people blame the programme timer or main PCB for this, but although it is a possible cause there are several more likely causes for this fault. Older washing machines would stick in various places on the cycle but modern washers rarely stick, instead they usually abort the programme mid cycle and produce an error code.
The program will stick or abort mid cycle if the heater isn’t working, if the thermostat fails, if it can’t fill up with water for the rinses, if it can’t empty the water at all or in enough time and so on. There are too many possible causes of this fault to be able to give anything other than rudimentary advice. However, the most common causes of a washing machine failing half way through the cycle that can easily be fixed are filling and emptying problems.
Check that the cold water supply is available to the washing machine, which is a common cause for sticking on rinses. If the washing machine appears to stop mid-cycle and isn’t filling with water on rinses then see washing machine won't fill with water before calling an engineer. If the washing machine can’t drain the water out then it will stick on the rinses, or it will abort with an error code. If you can see water still inside the washing machine then check the following advice washing machine won’t drain the water
Washing machine stops mid cycle with an error code
These days, most washing machines are controlled by software in computer-type modules. If a fault occurs, the washing machine will often abort the program and display an error code. This could be in the form of a letter and number (such as F10 or E2) or by flashing neon lights. If your washing machine is aborting the program, and lights are flashing, make a note of which neon(s) are lit up or flashing. This is invaluable information which can be reported to an engineer. For information on other washing machine error codes, see washing machine displays an error code
Washing machine empties water and aborts programme just after starting, or mid-wash
Sometimes a washing machine will fill with water as normal, but instead of washing, it could just sit there for several minutes before draining out all the water and turning itself off. Another possibility is that the washing machine could start out washing okay, but halfway through the cycle it may suddenly drain all the water and turn off.
With most washing machines these days this behaviour should be accompanied by an error code. The error code could be a readable code on the display or one indicated through flashing lights with (or without) accompanying option lights that may light up. For further details see the following articles – Washing machine stops with an error code | Washing machine stops with lights flashing | Program selector knob (dial) clicks round continuously
If your washing machine suddenly switches off and drains the water but does not have any flashing lights or any option lights lit up that may indicate an error code then the only clue is to observe the exact point of the wash cycle that triggers this behaviour.
Here are some general pointers –
- If it aborts within the first 30 minutes or so of a wash it could be that the heater isn't working and it has detected the water isn't getting any warmer and timed out on heat ( Washing machine isn't heating up the water )
- Overheating? If it aborts after 30 mins or so whilst still on wash and the water is clearly getting hot it could have detected the water is overheating. This could be caused by a faulty thermistor, which is a modern thermostat (How to test an NTC thermistor). It's usually situated next to or pushed inside the heating element and is a type of resistor which changes its electrical resistance according to its temperature. Overheating is a tricky one to diy repair. Another possible cause of overheating leading to aborting wash cycle (especially on some Hotpoint and Indesit machines) is the heater relay jamming in the main pcb. Don’t tackle this unless you know exactly what you are doing, it could be connection faults or a main pcb issue too
- Some washing machines will abort if they detect any one of the parts has a slight leak to earth. An insulation test meter would be needed to check for this and only engineers tend to have them. Insulation tests involve putting 500 v CD through the machine.
- Some washing machines can stick for hours or indefinitely without triggering an error code, some can even get stuck on the last 1 minute remaining section. This can be caused by various things such as a heater going open circuit mid-wash or faulty connections on NTCs. It’s best to get someone in if this happens
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