Maytag Washer Won’t Agitate? Here’s How To Fix It

Maytag Washer Won't Agitate

Having clean laundry is something we often take for granted until the day comes when our trusty Maytag washer won’t agitate properly during the wash cycle. Few things are more annoying than finding your clothes still filthy and sopping wet after a full wash.

Inside a Maytag washing machine, the agitator is the part responsible for moving the clothes back and forth through the water to get them clean. This agitation process loosens dirt and allows detergents to dissolve stains. Without proper agitation, clothes simply soak in dirty water.

In this article, we’ll cover the steps involved in diagnosing and repairing a Maytag top-load washer that won’t agitate. You’ll learn how to methodically troubleshoot and test the various parts of the drive system so you can get your washer back up and running smoothly.

Maytag Washer Not Agitating?  Here’s the Solutions

The underlying causes for a Maytag washer not agitating or spinning vs not agitating but still spinning are quite similar. The key components involved in the washing machine’s agitation process are the agitator, transmission, drive motor, timer, lid switch, etc.

The main difference is that if the washer spins but doesn’t agitate, it indicates the transmission can still receive rotational motion from the motor to spin the tub, but there is a breakdown in transmitting that motion to oscillate the agitator back and forth.

Whereas if the washer doesn’t agitate or spin, it points to a more central failure in the drive system as a whole – either the motor not turning the transmission at all, or the transmission not able to convert the motor’s rotation into any kind of motion to agitate or spin.

Maytag Washer Won’t Agitate or Spin

When it comes to a Maytag washer not agitating, it can lead to two possible outcomes: it won’t agitate or spin or it won’t agitate but it’ll spin.

If your Maytag washer is not agitating and it’s not spinning as well, there are several culprits to be held responsible. In this section of this article, we take a look at the different causes behind this problem and also provide you with steps to inspect and resolve the problem.

1. Broken Agitator

The beating heart of your washer is the agitator, churning clothes back and forth to scrub out dirt. This swirling motion pushes water and detergent deep into fabric fibers, loosening stains. But when the agitator breaks down, your washer loses its cleaning power. Without the agitator’s constant motion, clothes sit soaked but uncleaned.

To inspect the agitator, do the following:

  • Unplug the washer for safety.
  • Remove the cap/dispenser on top of the agitator.
  • Try turning the agitator by hand – does it spin freely or feel stuck? Freely spinning could mean a disconnected agitator.
  • Loosen the base bolt with a screwdriver.
  • Lift up on the agitator to remove it.
  • Inspect for any cracked, worn or missing plastic parts.

If the agitator is defective, you’ll need to replace it. To replace it, follow these steps:

  • Purchase the correct agitator parts for your model.
  • Lower new agitator onto drive shaft and tighten base bolt.
  • Replace cap/dispenser on top.

Note: You may also just need to swap out certain components like the directional cogs, cap, or central bolt. An agitator kit with all new parts can run $15-40 depending on your model. Installing a brand-new agitator may cost $75-140.

2. Faulty Transmission

Behind every smooth cycle of wash and spin lies a hard-working transmission. This key component converts the motor’s spin into the agitation motion that cleans clothes. But when transmissions fail, the motor spins fruitlessly without agitating your laundry.

How can you tell if the washer’s transmission is faulty? Start by removing the cabinet and belts to access the transmission pulley. Try turning it manually – if the agitator doesn’t move, your transmission needs replacement. Unfortunately, repairing transmissions is rarely an option. The typical fix is a full replacement costing $200-700.

Replacing a transmission is no small task. Brace yourself for some disassembly! Here’s what’s involved:

  • Unplug the power and turn off the water lines.
  • Remove the cabinet to reach internal parts.
  • Detach drive belts and pulley bolt.
  • Take off the agitator, drain pump, and drive motor.
  • Disconnect old transmission mount bolts and slide it out.
  • Clean mounting area before installing new transmission.
  • Refasten all parts in reverse order.

While it’s a time-consuming job, a faulty transmission doesn’t have to mean the end of your washer. With some perseverance and the right replacement part, you can tackle this repair yourself.

3. Bad Lid Switch

The lid switch prevents the washer from agitating when the lid is open. It triggers the start of the wash or spin cycle when you close the lid. If the switch fails, the washer won’t start agitating.

Test the lid switch with a multimeter. You’re checking for electrical continuity when the switch button is pressed. Locate the switch under the top panel – it has a wire linked to the timer. Disconnect the switch and test it separately. If no continuity, replace the lid switch for around $10-15.

To replace a faulty lid switch, follow these instructions:

  • Unplug the washing machine and disconnect the wiring to the lid switch.
  • Remove the top panel to access the lid switch assembly.
  • Unscrew the lid switch bracket to detach the switch from the washer.
  • Disconnect wires from the old lid switch.
  • Connect wires to the new switch and mount them to the bracket in the same position.
  • Reattach the switch wires and replace the top panel.
  • Restore power and test lid switch operation before washing.

4. Defective Timer

The timer supplies voltage to the drive motor circuit to power the agitation motion during cycles. If the motor isn’t getting electricity during agitation, the timer may have failed.

Use a multimeter to test for continuity on the contacts that energize the motor per your wiring diagram.

First disconnect power. Remove the back panel and disconnect the timer wiring. Touch the multimeter probes to the appropriate timer contacts and check for continuity. Lack of continuity means the timer should be replaced, a job costing $50-150.

To replace the timer, do the following:

  • Unplug the washer and disconnect the timer wiring.
  • Remove the console panel to access the timer mounting screws.
  • Disconnect wires from the old timer and detach it from the frame.
  • Install the new timer, connecting color-matched wires to terminals.
  • Secure the timer with mounting screws and replace the console panel.
  • Restore power and test the operation of the new timer.

5. Faulty Drive Motor

The motor powers the drive system to start the agitation process. If it is malfunctioning, the transmission won’t engage and agitate.

Testing a motor requires removing it – first disconnect all wires and mounting bolts. Inspect externally for damage. Test with a multimeter for electrical continuity across the terminals of the motor. If readings are abnormal, replace the drive motor, typically costing $100-300.

To replace the drive motor, do these:

  • Unplug the washer and disconnect all wiring to the drive motor.
  • Remove the mount bolts to detach the motor from the washer frame.
  • Lift the old motor out and install the replacement motor in the same position.
  • Reconnect all wiring to matching motor terminals.
  • Secure the new motor with mount bolts for a tight fit and replace cabinet panels.
  • Restore power and test the operation of the drive motor before washing.

Maytag Washer Won’t Agitate But Will Spin

So far, we have discussed the problems behind a Maytag washer that refuses to agitate or spin, and we have also provided you with instructions to troubleshoot and replace faulty components in order to fix the problem.

Now what if your Maytag washer spins but it still doesn’t agitate? Are the problems the same as a washer not spinning and agitating? Are the steps to resolve the problem the same? To find out, continue reading.

1. Damaged Agitator

If the washer won’t agitate but spins, the agitator may be worn out internally but still able to rotate. Try turning the agitator by hand – if it spins very freely with little resistance, the internal spline connecting it to the drive shaft is likely stripped.

To inspect the agitator, remove the agitator by taking off the agitator cap and bolt at the bottom. Inspect for damaged plastic pieces or wear on the splines.

In this case, you may only need to replace certain parts like the dogs/cogs, cap, or bolt rather than the whole agitator. Purchase the specific parts needed for your Maytag model.

Follow instructions to disassemble and rebuild the agitator with new components before reinstalling.

2. Transmission Failure

If the washer won’t agitate but the tub spins, this points to an issue with the transmission. It converts the motor’s spin into agitation motion. Check the input shaft from the motor – if it rotates and the output transmission shaft to the agitator does not rotate, the internal gears are worn out.

Unplug and remove the cabinet to visually inspect the transmission while running a cycle. If you hear an odd or grinding noise, then it means that you have a bad transmission, or it has failed.

Unfortunately, the transmission is not repairable, so the entire assembly needs replacing. This costs $200-700 for parts plus labor.

Replacing the transmission is labor intensive – all components above it must be detached to lift out the transmission. Thoroughly clean the mounting area before installing the new replacement transmission. Reassemble with a new agitator shaft seal and test for leaks.

3. Timer Failure

If the washer won’t agitate but spins, the timer may not be sending voltage to the drive motor during agitation. Use a multimeter to test the timer contacts per the wiring diagram. No continuity means the timer isn’t energizing the motor to agitate.

Washer timers are mounted inside the control console. Remove the back panel and wiring to take out the timer. Install the new timer replacement and reconnect all wires according to the diagram. Test operation before washing. Replace the timer if defective.

4. Defective Lid Switch

If the washer spins but doesn’t agitate, check the lid switch. This safety switch stops agitation if the lid is up. If defective, it won’t allow agitation. Test it with a multimeter for continuity when pressed. If faulty, locate it under the top panel and replace the washer lid switch.

5. Faulty Drive Motor

If the motor fails, the washer may spin but not agitate if different components are used for each function. This is rare – a technician should diagnose and confirm motor failure. If replacement is needed, completely detach the motor, disconnect all wiring, and install the new motor following the wiring diagram.


When a Maytag washer won’t agitate, pinpointing the culprit is key but can be tricky with many complex, interworking parts. Start troubleshooting with simple component tests. If the transmission or motor is faulty, assess repair costs versus a new machine.

With diagnostic diligence, mechanical skills, and quality replacement parts, you can often resuscitate an agitating motion. But know when to call it quits if costs outweigh appliance value. With some methodical repairs, Maytag’s can wash on for years.

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