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How to Repair a Washing Machine


Rub-a-Dub-Dub: Servicing the Tub and Valves
If an inlet valve is faulty, check the water connection and the valve screens. Try gently tapping the solenoids; if this doesn't work, replace the inlet valve assembly.
If an inlet valve is faulty, check the water connection and the valve screens. Try gently tapping the solenoids; if this doesn't work, replace the inlet valve assembly.
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If your washer is overflowing or is excessively noisy, the tips on this page may be able to help you solve your problem.

If the washer won't fill or fills very slowly, if it overfills, or if the water is the wrong temperature, the water inlet valves could be faulty. These components are easy to locate and very easy to replace, at little cost. When you suspect an inlet valve is broken, first check to make sure the water faucets are fully turned on and properly connected to the hot and cold inlets of the valves. Then check the screens in the valves; if they're clogged, clean or replace them. If water doesn't enter the tub, set the temperature control to the HOT setting. If there is no water, set the control to the WARM setting. If all that comes out is cold water, the hot-water inlet valve is not working. Reverse the procedure to test the cold-water valve, setting the control first on COLD and then on WARM. If the tub overfills, unplug the washer. If water still flows into the tub, the valve is stuck open. In any of these cases, the valves should probably be replaced.

Here's how to check the valve assembly:

Step 1: Remove the back service panel and disconnect the hot-water and cold-water hoses to the valves.

Step 2: Remove the hoses connected to the valves inside the cabinet. Also disconnect the wires from the terminals. Back out the screws holding the valves to the machine. The inlet valves have solenoids (a coil of wire that carries a current) inside the housing.

Step 3: Tap the solenoids with a screwdriver handle. If this doesn't work, replace the entire inlet valve assembly. Install it in the reverse order of the way you disconnected the old one.

If laundry is torn during the wash cycle, feel around the tub. If you find a rough spot, you may be able to smooth it with an emery board or light sandpaper. If this doesn't work -- or if you have to cut to bare metal to remove the roughness -- the tub should be replaced. In this case, it's probably much wiser to replace the entire washer.

You've probably noticed, but now we're getting into the really sticky problems. By now, the weekend warriors have abandoned all hope and are strolling through the aisles of Home Depot. But not you. In the next section, we'll test your mettle with more miscellaneous mechanical gobbledygook.


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