Modern washers give a wide variety of wash cycles, allowing us to adjust the washing time, temperature, and cycle type to best suit the kind of clothes we are washing.
It’s wonderful to be able to set our clothes washing and step away, safe in the knowledge our washer will clean our clothes to perfection.
So it can be quite frustrating when you run into the problem of your washer suddenly stopping mid-cycle for no apparent reason. Not only does it mean you have to come back and address the problem manually, but sometimes you might have to restart the cycle completely!
So in this article, we’re going to explain exactly why this problem occurs and how you can fix it to get your washer running nicely and smoothly.
Why has your Washer Stopped Mid Cycle?
Oftentimes when a cycle stops, it’s not a serious failure or error; numerous sensors inside the washing machine keep a keen eye on what’s happening.
They measure things like temperature, water level, and load balance. Should anything go wrong, the washer will stop the cycle until the problem is addressed to protect itself from damage.
Let’s first take a look at all the reasons why it’ll stop mid-cycle.
1. The Washer Load is Not Balanced
Depending on how much room there is in the washer drum and the weight of the clothes you’ve put in, sometimes the clothes can bundle up together and create what’s called an ‘unbalanced load’.
All this means is the clothes have gathered up on one side of the washer drum, so as it spins, it puts a very even weight load on one side of the washer. This can be harmful to the mounting system the drum sits on, so when this happens, the washer will turn itself off to keep itself safe.
There are a few things that can cause this problem:
- The clothes have tangled together and bundled up.
- There is a particularly heavy item in the washer.
- Too few clothes have been used in the wash.
- Delicate clothes with ties and tassels are not put in a netted bag.
2. The Door Lock and Sensor have a Problem
The door lock on a washer is an important part of the smooth operation of the fridge. Not only does it physically latch the washing machine door to the washer to create a water-tight seal that stops water from spraying all over our kitchens, but it also has to tell the control board that it’s now safe to run the water.
If the control board doesn’t get the go-ahead from the washing machine door sensor, it will either not start the cycle, or if it’s already mid-cycle, it will stop it to prevent causing a leak.
So there can be 1 of 2 things happening here; firstly, there might be a problem with the physical lock itself where it’s not latching the door to the washer tightly enough to create the water-tight seal.
Sometimes, the door latch works fine, but the sensor is causing the problem. Even though the door is shut physically, the sensor’s still not telling the control board it’s shut.
Here we’ll need to inspect the door lock and sensor to see if they are working; if they aren’t, they will simply need to be replaced with new ones.
3. A faulty Lid Switch
While this only applies to top loading washers, they do work in a very similar fashion to the front loading switches in so much as they have a sensor that detects when the top lid has been closed (but remember these aren’t always latching doors, it varies from model to model).
This sensor will often wear down over time, usually due to the door lid being closed a bit too hard a few too many times.
Just like the front-load washer, this sensor needs to tell the machine the door is closed so it knows it can start the cycle without spraying water everywhere.
So when this sensor fails, the machine cannot detect the door is closed, resulting in it stopping mid-cycle.
Once again, these sensors are not easily repairable and need to be replaced.
4. The Water Inlet Valve is Defective
The water inlet valve is a small water valve that opens and closes based on instructions from the machine to let in, or hold back, the flow of water. It’s basically what manages the water level inside the machine.
During a wash cycle, after the water has become dirty, it will drain away through the drain hose, and at this point, the control board will ask the water inlet valve to let in more water to replenish the water level.
However, if this valve fails, it won’t be able to open and let in new water. So once the machine detects that the water level is too low, it stops the cycle because it knows it cannot successfully wash the clothes.
So we need to get this valve fixed. Sometimes it may be blocked up with debris or sediment and can just be cleaned out, but more often than not, it’s an electronic failure.
You can test the water inlet valve for continuity using a multimeter; if it’s deemed broken, it will just need to be replaced.
5. A Main Control Board Glitch
Modern washers are leaning much heavier on computer-controlled systems to control all the components within the washer.
Sometimes these washers can just run into small bugs and glitches that we can eliminate by performing a power cycle or hard reset. This means we power down the machine and discharge all residual energy from the washer so it can start up ‘fresh’.
6. A Pressure Switch Failure
Not to be confused with a water inlet valve, the pressure switch is a small circular component that measures the amount of water in the washing machine. So while it’s the water inlet valve itself that lets the water in, it’s the pressure switch that tells the control board that it’s time to do so.
Your pressure switch will also need to be tested for continuity; if it’s not working, it will just need to be replaced.
How to Fix a Washer that has Stopped Mid Cycle
As we can see, the main components that will cause the washer to stop mid-cycle are the water inlet valve, the control board, and the pressure switch.
By fixing these components, we can restore the washer to working order.
1. Re-balance the Washer Load
Before we do anything, let’s start by re-balancing the washer load, as this is an easy fix.
If you notice all the clothes are thrown to one side of the washer and are tangled together, you should untangle and spread them out around the washer drum to ensure an even weight distribution.
Any items with long ties or tassels should be placed in netted bags as these can easily wrap clothes up together.
Finally, if the load is very small, it’s easy to get thrown around and bunch up together; consider putting something else in the washer to balance it out, like a towel or two. Even if they’re already clean, it’s still better to have the washer balanced.
2. Fix the Door Latch and Sensor
Firstly we need to check that the door is physically latching. As you shut the door, you should hear a definitive click as it latches. Pull on the door slightly to see if there’s any movement; it should feel very secure.
If it feels loose or doesn’t seem to latch properly, it should be replaced.
Then we also need to address the door switch, which tells the machine that the door is closed. This can be tested for continuity, and if it’s broken, then the best option is to contact the manufacturer, who will arrange for a technician to come and replace it for you.
3. A Faulty Lid Switch
This works in a very similar way, but oftentimes there is no actual latching mechanism. But repeated lid closes, and a lot of moisture can sometimes cause the switch to fail.
Once again, this can be tested with a multimeter for continuity; if it’s not working, it will need to be replaced by a trained technician.
4. Replace the Water Inlet Valve
Using your user manual to ascertain the exact location of the water inlet valve for your particular make/model of the washer, we first need to check that nothing is blocking the flow of water to the valve.
You’ll often find dirt, sediment, or even foreign objects which can hinder its ability to open and close properly.
If this doesn’t help, you should test the valve for continuity next. If it’s not working, it will need to be replaced, as these are too challenging to self-repair.
5. Power Cycle the Machine
If the control board is experiencing a bug or glitch, we can power the washer cycle, which will more often than not solve this problem.
This is very easy to do. Simply power down the machine and unplug it completely from the wall. This is an important step to take as if you leave it plugged into the wall socket (even when it’s switched off), the residual energy stored inside the capacitors will not dissipate.
Wait 1 to 2 minutes, then plug it back in and start the machine back up.
6. Replace the Pressure Switch
If the pressure switch has been tested with a multimeter and deemed faulty, it will also need to be replaced. The exact method for doing this will change depending on which manufacturer and model of washer you use.
Here you should check your user manual for the exact location based on your model, but if you are unsure, you can always contact the customer support team of your manufacturer for further assistance.