How to Fix a Start Capacitor for a Washer That Will Not Start

If your washer isn’t responding, or simply will not start, this could be an issue with your washer’s start capacitor. A start capacitor is a smallish device that’s used to give your washer a small jolt of electricity to start the wash cycle. If the start capacitor is bad or broken, it can mean your washer won’t start. It can be hard to tell if your start capacitor is the sole reason why your washer won’t start, but it’s much easier if you have the right tools, such as a multimeter. We also recommend you make sure it’s not more costly components like control board, relay board, or door lock / lid switch, since those components can also cause your washer to not start. Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can diagnose and potentially replace your washing machine’s start capacitor so your machine can be back to 100% as soon as possible!

What is a Start Capacitor?

The start capacitor is a small electronic device on certain washing machines that gives the machine a small jolt of electricity to start the wash cycle. Once the cycle has started, the capacitor is no longer needed. If the capacitor is bad or faulty, the washer can still start, but it may produce a loud humming noise or run slowly. The start capacitor can come in different sizes and can look different, depending on your brand and model.

Where is the Start Capacitor Located?

Where your start capacitor is located depends on your particular model of washer, but it will most likely be mounted near the back or front wall, or near the motor. Refer to the 3D diagram below for further assistance.

General Location of the Capacitor in a Top Load Washer

A 3D diagram showing the components of a top load washer and specifying the location of the capacitor

General Location of the Capacitor in a Front Load Washer

A 3D diagram showing the components of a front load washer and specifying the location of the capacitor

How to Access, Remove, and Inspect the Start Capacitor

  1. Identify the screwdriver or socket-head you need to access the interior of the washer.
  2. Depending on your machine, you may want to remove the top or back panel of your washer to gain access to the interior part of the washer.
  3. Locate the start capacitor. It is usually nestled in a plastic or rubber holder connected by wires on one or both sides. Refer to the 3D diagram above for further assistance.
  4. Using a set of pliers and a screwdriver, remove any wire harnesses connected to the start capacitor.
  5. You can now remove the old capacitor from the machine.

How to Test the Start Capacitor

The easiest way to find out if your start capacitor is broken is to test it with a multimeter, to check the conductivity.

How to Install a New Start Capacitor

Replacing your faulty start capacitor is simple, and may only require a few basic tools such as a screwdriver, a socket set, and a set of pliers.

  1. Connect all wire harnesses to the new start capacitor.
  2. Mount the start capacitor within the washer.
  3. Connect any washer panels you originally removed to gain access and fasten any screws or clips that were holding them in place. Now your repair is complete!

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