Washers can stop working correctly from time to time. Sometimes, they won’t start at all, and sometimes, they start a wash cycle, making you think all is right with the world. That is until you come back later to find your clothes still wet and sudsy. Your washer stopped mid-cycle. What a pain!
There are several reasons your washer stops mid-cycle, and I’ll go over them below. The issue could be caused by anything from problems with the power source to a faulty main control board, so put your DIY hat on, and let’s figure it out.
- Why Your Washer Won’t Finish Its Cycle
- FAQs Washer Stops Mid-Cycle
Why Your Washer Won’t Finish Its Cycle
As simple as a washing machine is to use, it is quite complicated behind the scenes. Many components can malfunction to cause it to stop working in the middle of a wash cycle.
1. Problems with Power Source
Before you begin tearing your washer apart to locate the problem, you should find out if the power source it is plugged into is working and adequate for the power needed to run the appliance. Here are some things to try.
- Don’t use extension cords. Extension cords are not heavy-duty enough to handle the amount of power a washing machine requires.
- Check the circuit breaker. If it is tripped, reset it. If it is not tripped, switch it off, wait five seconds, and then turn it back on again.
- Test the outlet the unit is plugged into. Plug something else into the outlet that you know works to make sure it is functioning properly.
- If the outlet that the washer is plugged into is controlled by a light switch, make sure the switch is turned on.
2. Wash Load is Unbalanced
There is a reason your washer (and its owner’s manual) tell you to distribute your clothes evenly around the drum. Balancing the load equally all the way around enables the machine to spin fast enough to draw as much water out of your clothes as possible. If the load is heavier on one side than the other, the drum cannot spin correctly, and it will shut down mid-cycle.
If this is the case, you will need to redistribute the clothing in the drum, making sure the load is even (balanced) all the way around. When you restart the machine, it should continue and finish the wash cycle with no further issues.
3. Check Lid Switch and Door Lock
The lid switch and door lock are two separate parts, but they both have the same job: to keep the lid closed. If either of these parts malfunctions, the washer could fail to start at all or may stop mid-cycle. Unfortunately, the only way to fix either of these issues is to replace the malfunctioning part.
You can test the lid switch to find out if it is the culprit. When you close the lid, you should hear a clicking sound as the switch engages. If you do not hear a click, you may have found the problem.
To find out if the lid or door lock is the problem, you can ‘bypass’ it using a magnet strategically placed between the lid lock and the solenoid. The magnet will complete the connection and allow the washer to complete the wash cycle. Unfortunately, you will need to remove the top cover to access this part of the machine. While it may be easier to rinse and wring the wet clothes yourself, if the machine works after placing the magnet, you know that the lid lock is the issue.
4. Inspect For A Clogged Hose
If the drain hose that carries the water out of your washer is clogged, it can trigger a pressure switch that will stop the machine until the blockage is cleared. This is a safety feature that prevents devastating water damage should the unit overflow.
To find out if a clogged hose is to blame, get as much water out of the machine as possible. Next, disconnect the drain hose and blow air through it to dislodge the blockage. Be careful as any remaining water will come out as soon as the clog is cleared. Reattach the hose and try running the wash cycle again.
5. Defective Water Inlet Valve
If your washer stops during the rinse cycle, there is a good chance that inlet the water valve isn’t working properly. I say ‘defective’ here, but the water inlet valve may not be defective. Instead, it might just be clogged with mineral buildup if you have hard water.
To find out, unplug the machine and disconnect the inlet hoses from both the machine and the water valves on the wall. Blow air through the hoses to clear any blockages and then inspect the water inlet valve on the machine to see if there is any buildup on the filter screens. Remove the filters and rinse well with hot water before replacing them and re-attaching the hoses.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, use a multimeter to find out if there is power at the inlet valve. If not, you will need to replace it.
6. Faulty Broken Washer Timer
The timer in your washer tells it when to switch from one phase of the wash cycle to the next. If the timer malfunctions, the washer may run the same phase continuously or it may stop in the middle thinking the cycle is complete.
The timer is in the control panel. As such, it isn’t easily broken, but it can wear out over time. The only way to test this part is with a multimeter for continuity. If there is none, the timer is bad and needs to be replaced.
7. Test The Pump and Motor
If your washer stops mid-cycle and you hear strange noises coming from the machine, it could be that the pump or the motor that runs it has gone bad. The pump and motor are responsible for moving water in and out of the unit. If water cannot fill or drain properly, the machine will stop because the water level is too low or too high. Again, if you hear strange noises coming from your washer and it won’t complete a wash cycle, the pump and motor are a good place to start looking for the cause.
8. Faulty Main Control Board
While it is rare for a washer to stop mid-cycle due to a faulty main control board, it is possible. The timer may be sending the correct signals to switch to the next phase in a wash cycle, but the control board isn’t processing the action because it is bad. In this case, the main control board will need to be replaced.
FAQs Washer Stops Mid-Cycle
Why does my washing machine stop before the spin cycle?
There are several reasons a washing machine stops before the spin cycle. There could be a problem with the power source, the load could be unbalanced, the lid switch or door lock might be bad, the drain hose could be clogged, the water inlet valve might be blocked or defective, the timer is malfunctioning, the pump and/or motor may be bad, or the main control board has stopped working.
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 Yahoo.com.