How To Repair A Washing Machine Door or Lid That Won't Open

How To Fix A Washer Door That Won't Open

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Door Lock or Interlock

In most front-loading washing machines and in some top-loaders too, the door needs to shut fully and the door lock (or interlock) needs to engage before the washer will operate. If your washer won’t open, it’s possible the lock’s broken. Here’s how this mechanism works: On the back side of the front panel, or door shroud, or on the main top, is a door lock that corresponds to a catch mounted on the door. The door lock has a solenoid or a wax motor solenoid that operates a few switches. The washer control or the timer activates the solenoids on the lock assembly when a cycle starts and de-activates the door lock when it ends. And if your washer has a wax motor to operate the lock, bear in mind that it takes a minute or two for this kind of motor to translate the signal into actually locking or unlocking the door or lid. If any of these parts are malfunctioning, you’ll need to fix or replace them, because it is not safe to bypass the door lock on a washer. Your washer probably has a manual-release catch designed to allow you to open the door or lid when the lock is malfunctioning. This release can be found under the door lock or inside the housing of the detergent dispenser. Once you have opened the lid or door with the manual-release catch, unplug the washer and take off the front panel or lift the main top. Examine the solenoids for clues they’ve overheated, such as burn marks or white residue, and see if you can successfully operate the catch mechanically. Use your multi-meter to find out whether the switches and solenoids have electrical continuity. If there’s no continuity at the switch or solenoids, you can replace the door lock assembly. If you have the sort of washer that displays fault codes, you can use our fault code glossary to see if the door lock (or interlock) is the reason your machine is not spinning. If the fault code clearly indicates a problem in the lock assembly, replace it.

Door Strike & Catch & Hook

For front-loading washing machines, the door strike (sometimes called the door catch or the door hook), engages the lock mechanism. For top-loading machines, it activates the lid switch. When the hook malfunctions, the lock or switch might not release the hook, causing your door or lid to be stuck closed. Since this hook is made of hard plastic, it can wear out with use or can get broken if you force the door or lid open. Open the door with the manual release located under the lock or in the detergent dispenser housing and examine the door hook, which is attached to the door with one or two easily removed screws. For machines with a lid instead, lift the main top if the lock is still on, or if you can’t use a manual release. Find the switch or lock assembly, and the strike that engages the switch, protruding through the main top. Replace the strike or hook if it is broken or warped. On most washing machines, the door or lid needs to shut fully and the lock needs to engage before the washer will operate. It’s important for safety reasons not to bypass this mechanism.

Lid Hinge & Pin

If you have a top-loading machine, there will be a pair of plastic or metal hinges affixing the lid to the main top. These wear out with normal use, or they could have snapped, resulting in your inability to get the lid open. Check the pins and receptacles of the hinges and replace them if they’re broken or worn. You might need to lift the main top to get at the fasteners for the hinges if they’re installed on the underside, but unplug the washer before you lift the top.

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