Fault diagnosis: What's wrong with my washing machine?

If your washing machine is broken, this guide will help you to identify the issue and get it fixed quickly and inexpensively.

Identifying the issue

Once you know the sequence of operations involved in the wash cycle, it is often possible to identify the cause of a fault by noting when it occurs. 

With a leak the water itself provides an added clue:

  • If it's clear without any sign of detergent in it, you know the leak must be occurring before the water gets to the detergent tray.
  • If the water is soapy, the door seal, sump hose or pump could be leaking.
  • If it's dirty, the blame could lie with a defective drain hose.


Fault diagnosis

Appliance won't start

  • Door not shut: Check door is properly shut.
  • Faulty interlock: won't allow door to shut Contact qualified repairer.
  • No power: Check flex, plug wiring, fuse and mains supply for faults.
  • Faulty on/off switch: (check power light if fitted) Contact qualified repairer.


No water entering

  • Inlet hose kinked: Free trapped hose.
  • Taps turned off: Open taps.
  • Inlet valve filter blocked: Clean valve filter.
  • Pressure system blocked in pressurised state: This causes the appliance to think that it is full of water—contact qualified repairer.



Machine overfills and floods

  • Inlet valve staying open or pressure switch not operating: Disconnect from power supply. If water continues to flow in, hot or cold inlet valve is faulty. Discover which by turning off each tap in turn.
  • Replace valve (see above): If water stops flowing in, pressure system is at fault. Contact qualified repairer.


Drum won't rotate

  • Loose or worn drive belt: Adjust or replace belt (see instructions below). Worn motor brushes Contact qualified repairer.
  • Faulty timer: Contact qualified repairer.
  • Faulty spin control unit: Contact qualified repairer.


Stuck on wash cycle

  • Faulty timer: Advance programme to spin cycle. Contact qualified repairer.
  • Faulty heater: Contact qualified repairer.
  • Faulty thermostat: Contact qualified repairer.


Door won't open at end of programme

  • Worn door seal: Old door seals can become sticky with age and adhere to glass. Carefully ease door open, then replace seal.
  • Water still in machine: Repeat spin cycle to operate pump again. Inspect filter and clean if necessary. Inspect outlet hoses for kinks or blockages.
  • Door interlock faulty: Contact qualified repairer.
  • Door handle broken: Replace handle.


Clothes damaged

In all these cases contact qualified repairer

  • Water overheating due to faulty programmer.
  • Water overheating due to faulty thermostat.
  • Drum damaged or metal object in machine. 



Clothes still dirty

  • Detergent dispenser clogged: Clean dispenser.
  • Loose or broken belt: Adjust or replace belt.
  • Worn motor brushes: Contact qualified repairer.



Servicing inlet hoses

inlet hose servicing

Turn off the water supply and undo the hose connections at both ends – they should never be more than handtight. Remove the washers from the connections and replace if they appear worn or there is water staining around the connection points on the back of the machine.

Using pliers, carefully draw the hose filters out of the back of the valve bodies. Rinse filters under running water and, before refitting, remove any debris lodged in the valve inlet, making sure none of it getspushed into the valve itself.


Replacing an inlet valve

Inlet valve replacement

Unplug the machine, turn off the water supply and disconnect the inlet hoses. Next, remove the top panel to gain access to the valves. Disconnect the electrical connections to a valve by gripping the terminals, not the wires, with a pair of long-nosed pliers. Then ease them apart.


Remove the screws securing the valve to the back of the machine. Don't try to pull the hose to the detergent tray off the valve outlet – a ridge on the end of the outlet resists force. Instead, use a flat-bladed screwdriver to lever the hose off. Fit the new valve in the reverse order.


Fitting a new handle

Removing door

Replacement door handle kits are available for most models. To remove the faulty handle, you must first take the door off the machine by undoing the hinge fixings. This often reveals a small cut-out, normally hidden by the hinge, in the door inset.


Starting at the cut-out, use two flat-bladed screwdrivers to carefully lever the inset away from the outer rim, stepping one screwdriver over the other until the two parts click apart. With the inset removed, dismantle the handle mechanism and use the replacement kit to fit the new one.


Replacing a drum drive belt

Test the tension of a drive belt by pressing it midway between the pulleys; it should have about 15mm of play. On some machines, one of the motor mounting bolts passes through a bracket with a slot in it, allowing the motor to be moved and belt tension adjusted. If a glance at the bolts shows no slots, your machine has an elasticated belt, which has to be replaced if it stretches.


fixing drum belt

To remove a belt, twist it so that its wearing surface faces out and start to rotate it, making sure you don't pinch your fingers between belt and drum pulley; the belt will flip off the drum pulley. Loop the new belt over the motor pulley, then stretch it onto the drum pulley by rotating it. The drum pulley is slightly crowned to enable the belt to centre on it; slide the belt in or out on the motor pulley until it is correctly aligned vertically between the two pulleys.