What To Do When Your Washer Spins Erratically

Posted on: 21 July 2015


If your washer shakes, spins and lurches out of control, you may wonder if it's broken or on its last leg. Before you throw the machine out, try to troubleshoot and repair it first. Here's what you need to do when your washing machine spins erratically.

1. Unplug Your Washing Machine

To protect your body from electrical burns, injuries and shocks, unplug your washing machine from its power outlet, or you may turn it off at the breaker box. If you have a secondary power source attached to the washer, such as a generator, disconnect it as well. 

2. Remove All Standing Water From the Machine

Make sure that the machine is indeed off by turning its power switch on. Once you're sure that the washing machine is off, remove all standing water from the inside of it. The standing water creates a safety hazard because if the electrical currents pass through it, it can short out the appliance's wires and electrocute you.

3. Examine the Agitator for Blockages or Tangled Clothing

Now, it's time to examine the agitator to see if you have clothing entangled around it. Be sure to check between and below the agitator for blockages. Small items, such as underpants and socks, can wrap around the metal parts of the agitator.

If you find items, remove them. Reconnect power to the washing machine to see if it starts normally. Does the agitator turn in a normal fashion, or does it shake or make noises? If so, turn the washing machine's power back off and proceed to step four.

4.  Remove the Back of the Machine and Check the Pump

Using a Phillips or flathead screwdriver, remove the back or front paneling from the washing machine to find the water pump. If necessary, check your machine's owner's manual to find out where the pump is located. 

The pump removes water from the machine when it's in the wash and rinse modes. It also drains the water from the machine after you complete your laundry. Sometimes, debris, lint and small items travel down the drainage lines that lead to the pump. The items become stuck, which makes the washing machine shake and rattle.

Disconnect the drainage hose from the pump, then carefully insert the end of your screwdriver into the opening on the pump. Grab the debris with the screwdriver and pull it out of the pump. Fasten the hose onto the pump, then replace the paneling back over the washing machine. 

Turn the washing machine's power back on. Place the machine in wash cycle and wait several seconds. If the machine works fine without making noises or movements, you repaired it. If not, contact your repair technician for services. For more information, contact Affordable Appliance Repair or a similar company.