Maytag Centennial Washer Stuck On Sensing | Fix It

Is your Maytag Centennial washer stuck on sensing? Does the sensing light stay on longer than it should? Perhaps your washer won’t advance to the next phase of the wash cycle because it is stuck in the sensing mode. Whatever the case, this is a common issue with these types of washers. Rest assured, though, that there is a fix, and we will go over your options below. 

What Is The ‘Sensing’ Phase

The sensing phase is an important aspect of today’s washing machine technology. During this part of the wash cycle, the machine senses the weight of the load to be washed and determines how much water it needs to adequately wash the clothes. 

When you first start your Maytag washer, it will spin the tub a couple of times before allowing water to enter. This spinning action enables the washer to gauge the weight of the load so it can add the right amount of water to wash it. This technology reduces water usage and saves time. 

If you notice that the sensing light is blinking and won’t stop, you can try rebalancing the load. Sometimes, if the load isn’t balanced, the washer cannot sense its weight properly and will stay stuck in the sensing phase. 

Alternatively, the issue may be that the load is too heavy. Try putting a smaller load in the machine and see if that solves the issue. If neither of these simple fixes helps your Maytag Centennial washer move beyond the sensing phase, keep reading to discover more repair options below. 

Try To Reset The Washer

Resetting the washer will sometimes resolve the stuck sensing issue on a Maytag Centennial washer. To reset the machine, unplug it from the power source, wait one minute, and then plug it back in. Wait 30 seconds before turning the washer on to see if the error has been fixed. 

If unplugging the unit does not fix the problem, you can do a more in-depth reset by following the steps below. 

  1. Turn off the water supply to the washing machine.
  2. Unplug the unit from the power supply.
  3. Wait one minute.
  4. Turn the water supply back on.
  5. Plug the machine back in.
  6. Hold the power button down for 10 seconds. 
  7. Try running a load of laundry to see if the error has been resolved. 

Another reset fix you can try to stop a stuck sensing phase is to reset the sensors in the machine. Follow the steps below to reset the sensors. 

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Disconnect the water supply hoses. There will likely be water in the hoses, so have a bucket or some towels ready to catch it. 
  3. Wait one minute.
  4. Reconnect the water supply hoses. 
  5. Turn the water back on.
  6. Try running a load of laundry to see if this has helped. 

Run Maytag Washer Self-Diagnosis

If nothing has resolved the error thus far, you can put your washing machine in diagnostics mode to better determine which part of the machine is malfunctioning so you can get it fixed. Running a self-diagnosis will help you isolate the issue quickly, so follow the steps below closely to get your washer into diagnostic mode. 

  1. Unplug the machine for 30 seconds.
  2. Plug it back in. 
  3. Wait two minutes without touching anything. 
  4. Turn the dial counterclockwise until it is in the 12 o’clock position. 
  5. Turn the dial left with one click.
  6. Turn the dial right in three clicks.
  7. Turn the dial left with one click.
  8. Turn the dial right with one click.
  9. All the lights on the control panel should be flashing. 
  10. Turn the dial to the right one click. 
  11. Press the start button.
  12. Turn the dial to the right one click to display the first error code. 

Since the washer does not have a digital screen, you will need to know how to decipher the sequence of flashing lights, which stand for specific error codes. You can find a complete step-by-step guide on running a self-diagnostics test and what the error codes are by lifting the top of the washer to retrieve the tech sheet. 

Clearing Any Error Codes

Before you jump in and begin diagnosing the issue, you can try clearing the error code(s) as this sometimes stops the issue from happening again. To do this, simply unplug the machine from the power source for about 15 seconds. Next, press and hold the Start/Cancel button for a few seconds. This should clear any error codes that exist in the unit’s memory, so it can start fresh. 

If the error continues, go ahead and run diagnostics testing to pinpoint the cause of the issue. 

Diagnose Why Your Washer Is Stuck On Sensing

Sometimes, the culprit is more involved that a mere glitch in the system. Washing machines work hard, and their parts are susceptible to wear and tear. It may be necessary to repair or replace a part or two to resolve a Maytag Centennial washer stuck on sensing. In the next several sections, I’ll go over some other potential causes of this issue and what you can do to fix them. 

1. Defective Capacitor

The capacitor in a washing machine switches between voltage and current depending on which stage of the wash cycle the machine is in. If the capacitor is defective, the washer cannot transition from one stage of the wash cycle to the next, or it won’t start at all. If it does start, the rotation will be slow and weak. 

If the capacitor is faulty, you may hear a buzzing sound as the machine tries to turn the motor. If you hear this buzzing, or your machine is not transitioning correctly through the wash cycle, you need to open the control panel, locate the burned-out capacitor, and replace it. 

Replacing The Capacitor

  1. First, unplug the machine and turn off the water supply.
  2. Then, locate the capacitor in your washer. It is usually found near the motor or on the control panel.
  3. Use a multimeter to test the capacitor. Make sure to discharge it first by using an insulated screwdriver to short the two terminals. Then, set your multimeter to the capacitance setting and connect the test leads to the terminals.
  4. If the reading is significantly lower than the capacitor’s labeled value, the capacitor is defective and needs to be replaced.
  5. To replace the defective capacitor, first, order a replacement capacitor that matches its voltage and capacitance rating.
  6. Then, remove the old capacitor by disconnecting the wires and loosening any mounting brackets.
  7. Install the new capacitor by reversing the process, making sure to securely fasten any mounting brackets and reattach the wires in the correct order.
  8. Finally, reassemble your washer and test it to ensure it is functioning properly before using it again.

If you are uncomfortable with these steps or unsure of your ability to perform them safely, it is recommended to consult a professional technician to perform the repair.

2. Faulty Washer Actuator

If the shift actuator is faulty in your Maytag washer, it won’t be able to switch between stages in the wash cycle. If this is the case in your washer, it would explain why the machine stays stuck on sensing and doesn’t move beyond. 

The only fix for this issue is to replace the actuator itself. 

Replacing The Actuator

You will need to take the back of the washer off to find the actuator, which is located behind the tub and near the motor. For a visual guide on replacing this part, check out this video.

Maytag Centennial washer not washing only senses

3. Clogged Drain Pump

If your washer’s drain pump is clogged, even the slightest bit, it can cause the unit to stay stuck in the sensing mode. This is because the water cannot drain properly, which may cause the sensors to mistakenly think the washer isn’t filling or draining as it should. As a result, the machine stays in the sensing mode trying to figure out what to do next. 

Drain pumps can become blocked by lint, hair, mineral deposits, and soap scum. Over time, these things build up and block the filter inside the pump. This has an easy solution. 

Cleaning The Drain Pump

Cleaning the drain pump periodically will help keep your Maytag Centennial washer from getting stuck on sensing. However, if it is already stuck in the sensing mode, conduct these steps to clean the drain pump filter and possibly resolve the issue. 

  1. Disconnect the power. 
  2. Open the drawer at the bottom of the machine. This is where the drain pump filter is located. Remove the drawer by disengaging the clips on either side of the drawer. 
  3. Place something underneath the drain pump housing to catch any water that may still be inside the pump. A long, flat container works best as you may need to empty it a couple of times. 
  4. Disconnect the water hose from the pump and pull the plug. Empty the hose into the container and empty it as necessary to remove as much drain water as possible. 
  5. Once all the water is drained, replace the plug and reattach the water hose securely to the hose clips. 
  6. Identify the drain pump filter and gently turn it counterclockwise to remove it. You may need to place a towel underneath it to catch any water still inside. 
  7. Visually inspect the filter and remove any large clumps of lint or other debris. Rinse the filter under running water to clear any buildup that may be blocking the holes. 
  8. Reinstall the drain pump filter by turning it clockwise as far as it will go. Try to tighten the filter with the handle in a vertical position if possible. 
  9. Replace the drawer by sliding it into the rails. You should hear a clicking sound as the rails engage. To ensure the drawer is inserted properly, pull it out all the way to lock the rails in place. Ensure the drain hose is clipped in place securely and is seated in the cutout correctly as you close the drawer. 

4. Broken Lid Switch

A broken lid switch can cause a washing machine to think the lid is not closed. This is a safety feature designed to prevent injury. If the machine thinks the lid isn’t closed, it may not move past the sensing stage. 

Replacing The Lid Switch

It is possible that the lid switch is simply dirty and needs to be cleaned. You can accomplish this by using a soft toothbrush and some hot water to remove any buildup around the switch. If this doesn’t fix the problem or the switch appears worn or broken in any way, you will need to have it replaced. If your washer is still under warranty, this repair should be covered.

  1. First, unplug the washing machine from the electrical outlet and disconnect the water hoses.
  2. Open the machine lid and locate the lid switch. You will find it under the top of the washer, near the lid opening.
  3. Remove all of the screws securing the control panel on the top of the washer.
  4. Once the screws have been removed, lift the control console panel and rotate it back to expose the lid switch and wiring.
  5. Carefully disconnect the wiring from the lid switch. Make a note of where the wires are connected so that you can reconnect them later. I usually take a photo on my smartphone for reference.
  6. Remove the side mounting screws that secure the switch to the washer frame. Then, lift the lid switch and remove it.
  7. Install the new switch by threading the wires through the opening in the washer frame and securing it in place with the mounting screws.
  8. Reconnect the wiring to your new lid switch making sure that each wire is connected securely in the correct place. Refer back to your diagram or smartphone photograph.
  9. Close up the washer’s control console panel and secure it in place with the screws you removed earlier.
  10. Plug the washer back into the electrical outlet and reconnect the water hoses.
  11. Test the washer to make sure that the new lid switch is working properly. Close the lid of the washer and start a cycle. The washer should start running as normal.

5. Defective Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve is the part responsible for allowing water into the washing machine. If this valve malfunctions, the washer cannot fill with water properly, or at all. This may cause the machine to fail to switch from the sensing mode to the next phase. A faulty water inlet valve can also result in leaks, which can be devastating if you aren’t there to turn the water off immediately.  

Install A New Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve is located on the back of the washer at the top. The two water hoses are connected to it. This repair is more involved, so if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, you can schedule a professional to replace the part for you. 

If you plan to repair yourself, follow these steps. 

  1. Disconnect the power from your Maytag Centennial washer and pull it out from the wall so you can get to the back. 
  2. Lay a towel on the floor to catch any water that remains inside the hoses and valve. 
  3. Disconnect the water hoses from the water inlet valve by turning them counterclockwise. 
  4. Use a putty knife to release the spring clips holding the top of the washer. 
  5. Use a ¼” nut driver to remove the two hex-head mounting screws holding the inlet valve to the back of the washer. 
  6. Move the faulty inlet valve to the side, taking care not to disconnect the outlet hose or the four electrical spade connectors. 
  7. Install the new inlet valve by replacing the two hex-head mounting screws you took out earlier. Replace all hoses and connectors as they were. Consult the owner’s manual for your washer if you get confused or need assistance.
Appliance Service Technician | Website | + posts

Andy has over 8 years of experience working on residential household appliances, performing diagnostics, and repairs across most major brands. He graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology, is NASTeC certified, and has worked for Mr. Appliance. Andy has contributed to features on major publications including Better Home & Gardens, Family Handyman, and