Modern washing machines are ‘set-and-forget’ types of appliances. You press the Start button, and the machine will automatically go through the stages of washing your laundry. But what happens when it stops mid-cycle?
Generally, your washing machine will stop mid-cycle as a protective measure or if it cannot progress to the next stage of the wash program. For example, an unbalanced laundry load or faulty door or lid lock assembly can lead to damage, so a washer stops mid-cycle to protect itself. Besides that, a failed water inlet valve and a problematic main control board can also cause the same problem.
Finding the root cause for this problem isn’t as challenging as it seems. This guide will help you understand each affected part, how those parts become problematic, and what you can do to sort them out.
Why Has My Washing Machine Stopped Mid-Cycle?
Firstly, it’s essential to understand that brief stops during a wash cycle are normal. So, for example, as the washer drum turns to agitate your laundry inside, it will stop for a few seconds before turning in the other direction.
So, you can begin the troubleshooting process by waiting a minute or two to see if your washing machine continues turning or if it stops indefinitely.
When you find that your washer stops for a long time without resuming, you can then consider the following causes:
What’s likely happening: Firstly, check that you’ve inserted a balanced load of laundry into your washing machine. A balanced load is one where the weight is distributed as evenly as possible inside the washer drum.
You can consider the load unbalanced if there is too much weight concentrated on only one side of the drum.
An unbalanced load can cause the drum to swing and potentially damage the washer from within.
Some washer models will sense the unbalanced load and stop itself mid-cycle as a protective measure.
How to fix it: You can prevent this from happening by ensuring you always have a balanced load. Spread your clothing items as evenly as possible so that the drum can spin in balance.
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Loads that are too small (e.g. a few socks or pieces of cloth) can also become unbalanced. In these cases, you can add a towel or two to the load to keep the drum balanced during the wash cycle.
Faulty Door Lock And Switch Assembly
What this part does: Front-loading washing machines have a door lock and switch assembly. The door lock will automatically engage whenever you start a new wash cycle. Meanwhile, the door switch will sense that the door is closed and signal that to the washer’s control board.
Only when the door is securely shut and locked will the washer run. If the lock ever disengages or the switch senses an open door, it’ll force the washing machine to stop immediately.
What’s likely happening: A fault in this part of your washing machine will cause it to stop mid-cycle. For example, a door lock that fails to stay engaged throughout the wash program will trigger the washer to stop immediately.
The same will also happen if the switch fails. Even though the door is secure, a faulty switch will mistakenly signal the washer to stop as it thinks the door is open.
How to fix it: To fix this problem, you’ll have to focus your troubleshooting on the door lock, lock motor, and door switch. Unfortunately, that is because one or more of these parts is faulty.
Unfortunately, none of these parts is repairable. So, once you find the one causing the problem, you’ll have to replace it with a new one.
Faulty Lid Switch Assembly
What this part does: Similar to what you saw above, top-loading washers rely on a lid switch assembly instead. The washer will only run when the switch senses a closed lid. If you were to open the lid mid-cycle, the switch would trigger the washer to stop.
What’s likely happening: The lid switch might fail from excess wear or if it experiences damage. For example, closing the lid too hard too many times will damage the switch. Besides that, exposure to too much moisture can also cause the switch to fail.
How to fix it: You will likely have to replace the lid switch, as it’s not repairable. However, test it first with a multimeter to make sure. If the problem is its wires, you can replace the wiring instead.
Failed Water Inlet Valve
What this part does: The water inlet valve is responsible for controlling all water that flows into your washing machine. It’s a mechanical valve that the main control board controls electrically.
The washer will open the valve to fill with clean water. Once there’s enough water, the valve will shut to prevent over-filling and overflowing.
What’s likely happening: The machine will drain dirty water (or ‘greywater’) throughout any wash program and refill with clean water. Once the dirty water drains out, the washer will open the water inlet valve to replace that water and continue washing your laundry.
However, a failed water inlet valve will not open and refill the washer with clean water. As a result, the washer stops mid-cycle because it can’t continue washing.
How to fix it: You’ll have to check the water inlet valve for this problem closely. The valve can fail both mechanically and electrically.
So, first, check that nothing is blocking the water inlet valve. For example, sediment, dirt, or even a foreign object can prevent the valve from opening and closing normally.
Then, test the valve for electrical continuity with a multimeter. The valve could fail electrically due to a short circuit or other electrical problem.
If that’s the case, you’ll have to replace it with a compatible water inlet valve.
Problematic Main Control Board
What this part does: The main control board is where your washing machine does all its ‘thinking’. It’s a printed circuit board that controls every part of the machine to provide you with the wash program you selected.
What’s likely happening: Main control boards have many different components built into them. A problem with one or more of those components can affect the normal functioning of the washer.
When only a part of the main control board is affected, some of the washer’s functions may normally work while others don’t.
So, the components related to the current stage of the wash cycle have failed. As a result, the washing machine stops mid-cycle and cannot finish the wash program you’ve chosen.
How to fix it: Unfortunately, you’ll have to replace the main control board even if only some parts of it fail. You can’t repair the affected parts, so a total replacement is the most practical solution to this problem.
You’ll find the main control board in a compartment within the washer. The exact placement of that house depends on your washer brand and model, so refer to the user manual to find out where it is.
Then, remove all electrical connectors attached to the board before removing them. That will allow you to put the new one in and reconnect it the same way as the old one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some other frequently asked questions about washers that stop mid-cycle. You might find some of these answers helpful when troubleshooting your machine.
Is It Normal For A Washing Machine To Stop Mid-Cycle?
Yes, but only for a few moments. For example, the washer drum will stop for a few seconds if it’s about to switch directions during the agitation stage. Besides that, the washer will also stop briefly to drain the dirty water and refill itself with clean water.
However, it’s not normal for a washing machine to stop for too long without performing any of the actions mentioned above.
How Do I Get The Water Out Of My Washing Machine That Won’t Drain?
When your washer stops mid-cycle, you can drain the water from your washer manually using the auxiliary drain hose. It’s a small rubber tube that you’ll find next to the drain filter (or ‘coin trap’). Typically, these parts are concealed behind a tiny door on the front panel of your washer, somewhere at the bottom.
How Do I Reset My Washing Machine?
You can reset your washing machine through ‘power cycling’. That process requires removing the washing machine plug from the wall socket for at least 5 minutes. During that time, any excess electricity in the machine will dissipate, clearing the appliance’s memory. That will reset the washer, and you can then reconnect the plug.
What Causes A Washing Machine To Not Spin And Drain?
When your washing machine stops mid-cycle when it should be spinning and draining, it’s likely because the load inside is unbalanced. A washer that senses an unbalanced load will prevent itself from spinning fast, as that will cause the drum to hit itself.
Why Is My Washing Machine Drum Not Spinning?
If your washer stops mid-cycle instead of spinning, check that the door is locked. The door lock or switch assembly problem could make your washer think the door is not secured. That will prevent it from going into the spin cycle.