Washing Machine Stuck on Spin Cycle (Causes and Fixes)

When your washing machine won’t stop spinning, typically the cause is a malfunction, or two. It’s confusing though because some washers appear to have completed their programmed cycles only to find that the spin cycle isn’t done.  

Getting stuck in the middle of an action, like a spin cycle, isn’t something to ignore. It keeps reoccurring until fully resolved.

In this article, I first consider the various reasons for a never-ending spin cycle and then discuss how to fix it. 

Why is My Washing Machine Stuck on Spin Cycle?

A washing machine stuck on spin has a few causes, including overloading, bulky items, worn engine brushes, a bad timer, a foreign item in the tank, or sediment buildup in the rear water line. 

When stuck in a spin cycle, the spin cycle LED light is often illuminated, even when the completed LED light is ON too. This indicates that the program has finished prematurely due to becoming trapped in the spin cycle. 

Some reasons are related to each other, while others are not. Below, I run through the potential causes.

Water Sediment Blocking the Intake Hose

It is easy to overlook it, but water sediment causes some spin cycles to last longer or run non-stop.

Dirty water isn’t usually an issue so much with county water supplies, but for well water, it often is. So, if you rely on well water, look closer at this potential cause. 

Sediment residue in the water gets trapped and builds up. Eventually, it causes washing appliance issues until removing the buildup. 

How to Fix: Remove sediment build-up & remedy the unclean water source.

Sediment collects are the back of the machine, inside where the water inflow hose(s) are connected. 

Sometimes there is just a cold-water intake hose, while older machines have both hot and cold water hoses. When there are two hoses, either one or both could have sediment build-up if both depend on the same water source. 

Here are the 7 steps to follow:

  1. Turn off the power and unplug the appliance. 
  2. Unscrew the hose connector.
  3. Clean the inside of the hose with a cloth or kitchen paper. 
  4. Clean inside the inlet water valve positioned where the hose connects at the machine’s rear. Running it under clean water helps here. 
  5. Once all sediment residue is removed, reinstall the filter and reconnect the hoses again.
  6. If relying on well water, consider installing a filtration system to capture sediment from the retrieved water before it is used inside the home. 
  7. Reconnect the power supply. 

The Overly Bulky Item Inside the Drum

While looking robust, a washing drum is delicate in the sense that it easily gets out of balance. 

Washing drums must rotate, relying on bearings, and an engine to drive them. Considerable kinetic energy is expended to produce the necessary spin, even though when looking in from the outside, it doesn’t look so impressive. 

Sometimes, a bulky item gets stuck in one spot and won’t be dislodged. A slowed engine is also sometimes the cause when drum rotation speeds are insufficient. The elongated or unending spin cycle is a knock-on effect of heavier items and problematic engines.  

How to Fix: Adjust positioning or wash elsewhere.

One option to fix the issue is to open the machine and reposition the item. Spreading it out may help to spin better while keeping the drum balanced. 

A second option if the item is simply too large inside a smaller machine is to accept defeat. Remove the item. Then either arrange to wash it at a friend’s house who has a larger appliance or use a laundromat with bigger, commercial washing machines. 

A third option is to dry clean the item. However, it’ll already be wet, so needs to dry out first or the dry-cleaning store won’t accept it. 

Too Much Weight Inside the Machine

An overloaded washing drum makes the spin cycle particularly challenging.

Think about it for a second. The clothing and other items are now washed and soaking wet. The spin cycle is supposed to encourage water separation and its subsequent removal. However, the extra water weight on an overloaded drum gives the machine more than it can handle. 

Admirably, the machine tries to keep running the spin cycle to spin its way out of the difficulty. This might work by spinning longer, removing excess H2O, and thereby, reducing the overall weight. But it’ll wear out the bearings on your machine, and possibly the engine brushes too when doing so. 

How to Fix: Separate into smaller washing loads.

Smaller washing loads are necessary to stop the spin cycle from getting stuck. 

As a rule of thumb, large loads go up to 16 lbs. and small loads go up to 5 lbs. 

Note: Engine motor coupling issues and excessive drive belt wear are both caused by consistently overloading your washing machine. 

The Almost Empty Washing Drum

A washing drum that barely has any items in it creates confusion for the washing machine. 

It’s kind of the opposite of the problem outlined above. I recommend a minimum of 3 pounds per load for most washers.

How to Fix: Wash larger loads.

Bigger washing loads solve the problem of tiny loads creating spin cycle dilemmas. 

To be safe, aim for a minimum of a 3-pound load.

Worn Engine Brushes

The electric motor relies on robust brushes to create high enough revs to spin the drum quickly enough.

With worn brushes, the engine cannot create enough power to spin the drum quickly. The result is a washer frozen on the spin cycle. 

How to Fix: Examine the engine brushes and replace them

Accessing the engine brushes inside the engine is no small matter. It’s necessary to disconnect the engine, remove the engine from its case, and so forth. Someone can get themselves into a pickle if they try to do this unprepared. 

Therefore, I suggest looking at all the other causes first. Then, if they fail and the spin cycle is still going crazy, call in the professionals. They could have other ideas before going to the advanced stage of disconnecting major parts, like the engine.

A Malfunctioning Timer

An electronic timer is an essential part of what all modern washing machines rely upon. The timer is used to manage the duration of each cycle in a programmed sequence.

When faulty, it gives wrong information or won’t confirm when a cycle is to end and the following one to commence. As a result, the spin cycle never ends. 

How to Fix: A quick reset or a replaced timer

A malfunctioning timer gets stuck inside a cycle. It occurs on various cycles, not just the spin one. 

A quick reset – by turning off and unplugging the machine for 5-10 minutes – is enough to reset the machine and the timer too. If the control board and the timer are confused together, this may fix it. 

Beyond that, someone needs to use a multimeter to test if the timer is still receiving power or if it is faulty.

Disassembling the control panel to access the timer inside it is required. Then, it’s possible to connect a multimeter to it. If the meter confirms the timer is dead, then replace the timer part. 

Different timer units are used depending on the washer appliance make and model. Take care to confirm the correct part to order. This is something for an avid DIYer to resolve. But if that’s not you, then you need an appliance professional. 

Faulty Electronic Control Board

An electronic control board with a partial fault exhibits odd behavior with your washing machine.

This is a trickier one because the unusual responses, including cycles stopping midway through, running forever, or not running at all, are extremely confusing. 

This is either a quick fix or a more serious situation with the control board. 

How to Fix: Reset the machine or call a professional to check the control board.

A quick reset of the appliance by powering it down for a quarter of an hour is enough to fix many issues. However, if the spin issue continues and other causes are ruled out, then the control board is the likely culprit. 

At this stage, a professional appliance technician is required. Do not try to resolve it yourself.

The Tank Contains a Foreign Object

A foreign object as small as a tiny screw or as large as something the size of a hand can get inside the tank. 

Systems dependent on a centrifuge operation get jammed up by small objects. While the centrifuge may keep operating, an item moving around inside slows its progress. As a result, the diminished engine power is insufficient to power the spin cycle correctly. 

How to Fix: Remove the foreign object.

  1. Power down and unplug the washing machine.
  2. Unscrew the screws securing the front panel of the machine.
  3. Remove the front panel.
  4. Take a flashlight and look everywhere for stray items. 
  5. Remember to check inside the machinery, where you can gain access.
  6. Remove anything discovered, including on the floor of the appliance. 
  7. Replace the front panel.
  8. Plug the machine back into the power outlet. 
  9. Run a cycle and see if the sound is removed and the spin cycle is unstuck.
  10. If you’re unable to resolve the issue, a professional technician is needed to dismantle enough of the internal workings to locate unwanted items inside. 

To Wrap Up

Half the fixes for a non-stop spin cycle are easy to handle, while the others are part-related. Several fixes require an appliance repairer to attend to get to the core issue and provide a permanent solution. 

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