How to Repair a Washing Machine That Won’t Finish Its Cycle

Whether it’s a new washer or a used appliance, you can often repair a washing machine that won’t finish its cycle. But before you begin, make sure the machine is unplugged from its power source and removed from the cabinet.

First, open the top panel or cabinet to access the lid switch. A faulty lid switch can cause your washing machine to not start.

Lid Switch

The washer lid switch is a safety feature that ensures the lid remains closed during the washing cycle. A defective lid switch can cause the machine to stop mid-cycle or not finish its cycle entirely.

If your machine is acting up, try replacing the switch to fix the problem. Most replacement parts are easily found online or at appliance part supply stores.

Depending on your model, you may need to remove the lid panel and replace the wiring harness to access the switch. You can also use an ohmmeter to test the wires for continuity.

To begin, turn off power to the washer. If you can’t remove the washer from the wall, move it to a different location where you can easily get at the top and other areas of the machine.

Before you start working on the washer, gather any tools that might be useful during this project. It’s helpful to have a replacement lid switch on hand in case the original one gets damaged while you’re removing it.

Then, place the washer lid over a towel on the floor to protect the surface from damage while you work. Loosen any screws securing the console to the washer frame and remove the retaining clips connecting the console to the top cover, suggests AppliancePartsPros.

Next, use a 5/16-inch nut driver to unscrew the hex head screw holding the ground wire to the washer cabinet. Once the green wire is free, lift the lid and look beneath the washer for the two screws above the lid switch opening.

Slide a flat-head screwdriver into the metal retaining clips and pull out the lid switch wires from the cabinet, instructs Repair Clinic. After the wires are removed, snap the lid switch wire harness from the replacement lid switch into the opening in the cabinet.

Shifter Assembly

If your washing machine won’t finish its cycle, it may have a problem with the shifter assembly. This part helps control the washer’s spin and agitation cycle. It also houses a transmission speed/position optical sensor that monitors the position of the shift slider.

The Washing Machine Shifter Actuator is a small black plastic housing with a wire harness connector attached to the bottom of it. The wire harness connects the shifter to the main control board. The shifter assembly also includes the mode shifter cam and coil.

This actuator is designed to work with a number of different washers, but it is particularly common on Whirlpool brand machines. In this model, the motor drives a drive belt and transmits power to the agitator and shifter.

During the start of the agitation cycle, the inverter energizes the mode shifter coil with 135 VDC (PWM) for 18 seconds. This voltage pulls the mode shifter cam up from the drive pulley and forces it to rotate in short strokes, releasing it as the agitator begins to work. This operation is called the mode shifter agitation program.

Once the mode shifter agitation program has completed, the inverter supplies 30 VDC to the mode shifter coil to keep it away from the drive pulley throughout the rest of the agitation cycle. This is necessary to keep the agitator working properly.

In most cases, a malfunctioning shifter will result in an error code that indicates the agitation function is not functioning correctly. This can cause the washer to run slowly or make a loud metal-to-metal clunking sound while agitating. It can also cause the tub to rotate with the agitator during agitation, causing overflows.

Door Lock Assembly

A broken washer door lock assembly, a malfunctioning main electronic control board or a faulty motor control board can prevent a front-load washing machine from finishing a cycle. The appliance can signal a digital error code if it detects a problem with one of these components.

The door lock, also known as the interlock, is a safety mechanism installed on many front load washing machines and some top load washers that prevents the door or lid from being opened while the machine is in operation. The lock consists of a door mounted catch and a lock/unlock solenoid or wax motor solenoid that is activated by the washer control when the cycle begins to prevent the door from opening.

To access the lock, remove the door seal and retaining band from the bottom of the machine. Using a small flat head screwdriver, pry the lower edge of the door boot seal away from the rim surrounding the opening to access the door latch.

Locate the door latch and switch assembly on the right of the opening next to the door. Feel along the side of the door latch assembly to locate the catch controlling the interlock slider mechanism. Slide the catch to open the door and then tilt the machine back to its vertical position to reveal the two door latch mounting screws.

Disconnect the wire connectors from the old door latch and plug them into corresponding connectors on the new assembly. Insert the replacement assembly into the wiring channel bracket from the inside of the machine.

A door lock is a spring-loaded bolt that holds the door closed and prevents it from being opened. The latch assembly has a faceplate that protects the latch and the strike plate that connects the door lock to the door frame.

Main Control Board

If your washing machine isn’t finishing its cycle, there’s a good chance that the problem lies with its main control board. This is a critical component of most washers and it controls every function performed by the appliance, including filling, washing, draining and spinning.

Its role is to communicate with components like the drive motor and pump and activate them as needed. If the board goes bad or doesn’t activate the proper parts, it needs to be replaced.

Typically, the control board is located in the top panel of a front-loader or behind the control pad in a top load model. It’s also known as the “mother board” or “main electronic control board.”

There are a few signs that your washing machine’s control board may be damaged or faulty. The most obvious sign is when your machine isn’t going into the spin cycle or won’t start.

The second sign is when it’s displaying an error code. The third sign is when your washer’s lights are on but it won’t respond to any commands.

These problems are caused by water leaking into the circuit boards, which can short out electrical parts and cause your washer to stop working. It is important to avoid this possibility and be aware of the fact that water can damage any circuit board.

If you suspect that your washer’s control board is faulty, you can test it with a multimeter. The first step is to use the meter to check for continuity between terminals on the board.


There are a few different things that can cause your washing machine to stop mid-cycle, so it is important to identify the problem before calling in a repair technician. One of the most common causes is a faulty timer, so it’s a good idea to check this first before trying any other fixes.

Timers are the brains of your washer, controlling each stage of the cycle. A working timer will automatically switch between the wash, rinse and spin cycles. It also takes a pause in between cycles to ensure that all the components within your washer are ready to perform their tasks.

If your timer has stopped functioning you may notice it skipping or missing cycles. This is a common issue, particularly on older models. If the problem is frequent it may indicate a build-up of carbon on the timer’s electrical contacts, which will require replacement rather than cleaning.

Another common reason for a timer to stop functioning is that it hasn’t been heating the water correctly. To test this, set your machine on a cycle and monitor it for the first 30 minutes.

During this time you can see how the water is being heated by watching for any signs of hot spots on your clothes or towels. If the cycle stops after that it could be due to overheating or a faulty thermistor.

Some machines have a lid switch, which actuates the timer when the washer’s lid is closed. If the lid switch is faulty it will cause the timer to think that the washer’s lid is open, which in turn will prevent the machine from advancing to the drain and spin phase of the cycle. To fix this you should remove the top of your machine and locate the lid switch.

The following cities are part of the Cobb County Community Service Area:

Fair Oaks, Clarkdale Park, Macland, Smyrna, Powder Springs, Mars Hill, Kennesaw, Lost Mountain, Chattahoochee Plantation, Cumberland, Vinings, Blackwells, Westoak, Noonday, Powers Park, Sandy Plains, Acworth, East Cobb, Marietta

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