What causes a washing machine motor to burn out? (Detailed Explanation)

When a washing machine motor burns out, it can present a lot of challenges. One of the most common challenges is not knowing how to determine if the motor is burnt out.

There are a few common symptoms that can indicate a washing machine motor is burnt out some of them include a burning smell, screeching sound, and prolonged washing cycle.

In this article we will cover the following points:

  • What is a washing machine motor?
  • Symptoms of a burnt-out motor
  • Causes of burnt motor
  • Helpful tips to keep the motor in a good state
  • And more…

Let’s get started.

What is a washing machine motor and what does it do?

A motor in a washing machine plays an important role in rotating the drum and is responsible for the back and forth motion. This back and forth motion helps to go through the wash cycles.

If the motor is not working correctly, it can cause the washing machine to not function properly and even burn out.

Also Read: How to Reduce Noise from Washing Machine?

How do you know if your washing machine motor is burnt out?

A burnt motor in a washer can have many symptoms and is easy to identify. Some of the most common symptoms of a burnt motor include.

Burning Smell

If you notice a burning smell coming from your washing machine, it is a strong indication that either the motor has burnt out OR there may be a problem with electrical components inside.

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Screeching sound

Another symptom of a burnt motor in the washing machine is a screeching noise.

If you notice this sound, it is important to turn off the washing machine immediately and call for a repair.

The screeching sound is usually indicative of worn-out or faulty bearings that cause a lot of friction. This friction puts a lot of stress on the motor, thereby causing it to burn.

Also Read: How to troubleshoot a portable washing machine?

Drum not moving

If the washing machine’s drum is not moving, it could be a sign that the motor has burnt out.

A strong burning smell along with no movement of the drum is a clear indication that the motor has gone bad OR the electrical components inside are damaged. If that’s the case with your washer, it demands immediate inspection and repair.

Also Read: How to remove a drum from the washing machine?

Prolonged washing cycle

A lot of time a motor that is damaged or burnt out won’t show any direct symptoms such as fire, strong burning smell, and loud sounds.

Sometimes a motor that is burnt or damaged may show indirect symptoms such as a prolonged or never-ending wash cycle. Also at times, the motor will move in one direction.

If the motor is moving in one direction and has an extremely long wash cycle that does not end, it could be a sign that the motor has either died or in the verge of blowing up.

Also Read: How to bypass the water level sensor in washing machine?

What causes motor to burn out?

There are many reasons that can cause a motor in the washing machine to burn out. Some of the causes are:

Washing Machine is too old

With time, every machine starts to wear out, this is true with washing machines as well. Your washer goes through a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. Therefore, it is important to keep a close eye on it as the likelihood of motor burning out is high especially if it’s extremely old.

Also Read: How to use Affresh Washing Machine cleaner?

Accumulation of Dirt

Over time, dirt and lint start to accumulate in the washing machine. This accumulation can cause the motor to overheat and eventually burn out.

Excessive accumulation of dirt and lint at times may affect the motor in such a way that it will not start at all.

Even if it starts all you will be able to hear is a humming sound, but the motor won’t move. This causes a lot of stress on the motor, therefore it overheats and eventually burns out.

It is important to clean your washing machine on a regular basis to prevent this from happening.

Wiring Problem

Another common reason that can cause a washing machine motor to burn out is a wiring problem.

If there are any loose wires or connections, it can cause sparks and short circuits. This in turn will lead to the burning of the motor.

To prevent this from happening, make sure to check for any loose connection and get it fixed as soon as possible.

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Worn out bearings

Worn-out bearings not only produce that annoying screeching sound but also puts a lot of pressure on the motor due to high friction. If the bearing issue is not addressed it simply worsens over time, thereby causing the motor to burn out due to constant pressure.

Drive belt

If the drive belt that connects the motor to the washing machine’s drum is not working properly, it will cause a lot of strain on the motor. This strain on the motor can cause it to overheat and eventually burn out.

Bad Agitator

The agitator helps in moving the clothes around during the wash cycle.

If the agitator does not move freely OR moved with a lot of friction, it will put a lot of strain on the motor as it tries to move the load.

One of the best ways to inspect the agitator is to try and move it with your hands and see if it moves freely or not.

If you notice, a lot of friction while moving the agitator, chances are that the agitator has gone bad and you need to fix it.

Also Read: Why is Whirlpool washer not agitating?

Loose Drum

A loose drum can cause a lot of vibration during the wash cycle.

The continuous vibration may damage the attachment between a motor and the drum thereby causing the motor to detach from its position and eventually burn out due to sudden shock.

This usually happens in top-loading washing machines and is less common in front-loaders.

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Overloaded Washer

It is important that you do not overload your washing machine as it can not only damage the motor but also void the warranty.

Extra load, simply multiplies the wear and tear that your washer undergoes on a daily basis.

An overloaded washing machine will almost all the time, put a lot of strain on the motor as it tries to move the load. This extra strain on the motor can cause overheating and burning out.

It is important to check your washer’s manual to see how much weight it can take as every model has a different capacity.

Also Read: Top Load VS Front-Load Detergents

Power fluctuation

Frequent power fluctuation can either cause the motor to work too fast or too slow, thereby putting an intolerable amount of stress.

This reduces the washer’s lifespan in the long run as it not only impacts the motor but other electrical components too go through a lot of stress.

Sudden power surges can cause short circuits and irreversible damage to the motor. To prevent this from happening, you should use a good quality stabilizer for your washing machine.

How to prevent washing machine motor from burning?

Here are some tips that will help you prevent your washing machine motor from burning:

  • Keep a close eye on the performance of your washer, If you notice any difference in performance such as a change in washing cycle OR excess vibration, get it serviced.
  • It is important to check the drive belt regularly and replace it if needed to prevent this from happening.
  • Wiring issues are common and can cause a lot of damage. Check for any loose connection and get it fixed as soon as possible.
  • Overloading your washer is one of the main reasons that cause washing machine motor burnout. Do not overload it and check the weight capacity before adding clothes.
  • Use a good-quality stabilizer to protect your washing machine from power fluctuation.
  • Make sure you place the washer in such a way that rats can’t reach it. Rats can cause a lot of damage by chewing the wires.
  • Last but the most important point is to keep your washer clean.

Also Read: Can Vinegar Damage your Washing Machine?

When to replace a washing machine motor?

A burnt-out motor can be a serious safety hazard, and it can also cause extensive damage to your washing machine.

If your washing machine is showing any of the symptoms of motor burnout (discussed above), then it is time to replace the motor.

It is important to note that not all motor failures are due to operator error. There are several other factors that can cause a washing machine motor to fail, such as power surges, loose wiring, and faulty parts.

If you are unsure of the cause of the motor failure, it is best to consult with a skilled technician.

Having said that, The average lifespan of a washing machine motor is around 10-12 years. If your washing machine is more than 12 years it is more susceptible to damage due to short circuits and power fluctuations.

We can help you with the replacement, just contact us and an book an appointment.

Also Read: Are Washing Machines waterproof on the outside?

How much does it cost to replace a washing machine motor?

The cost of replacing a washing machine motor can vary depending on the type of washing machine, the make, and the model.

In most cases, you can expect to pay between $200 and $500 for a new washing machine motor. However, if it’s a case where you simply need to change a component such as coupling, it may cost less ranging anywhere between 75$ to 150$.

Also Read: How to keep washing machines in a small bathroom?

Final Thoughts

Motor burnout is one of the most common problems that can occur in a washing machine.

There are several factors that can cause motor burnout, such as overloading, power fluctuation, and loose wiring.

If your washing machine is showing any signs of motor burnout, it is important to replace the motor as soon as possible.

A washing machine is a big investment, and it is important to take care of it to prevent any major issues. Timely servicing and using stabilizers can prolong the lifespan of your washer and keep your pockets happy for many years.

Also Read: How to clean mold from the washing machine?

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at) theportablelaundry.com.