Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing? 5 Quick & Easy Fixes

Investing in a Whirlpool washing machine is undoubtedly one of the best purchases you can make for your household. This high-quality washer is highly durable and reliable, but it can come across specific problems.

If your Whirlpool washer model won’t go past the sensing phase and seems stuck, there could be a couple of underlying issues causing the washer to remain in this stage.

In this detailed troubleshooting guide, you will learn all there is to know about the Whirpool load washer sensing issue and the most efficient methods of fixing it.

Why is your Whirlpool washer stuck on sensing?

Before we get into the most common issues affecting the wash cycle, let’s talk about the sensing mode on your Whirpool Cabrio washer or any other Whirpool washer model.

The first step in sensing is testing the lid-lock and lid switch, ensuring that the washer door is automatically locked and secured.

This feature prevents the washer door from opening mid-cycle, and in case the lid lock isn’t secured, and the Whirpool washer door isn’t properly closed, the washer may be stuck in the sensing cycle.

The next stage the washer goes through in the sensing cycle entails slow spins, which help the machine determine the load size. These spins occur before the water is added to the washer.

Once the load size has been determined, the next phase in the sensing cycle is letting the water from the water supply into the load in the washer little by little until there is enough water for the wash cycle.

The sensing technology determines the necessary amount of water for the wash cycle, depending on the load amount.

So why is your Whirpool washer stuck in sensing cycle? Here are some of the most common issues.

Clogged water inlet valve

As we’ve explained, the last step of the sensing cycle is releasing adequate water into the Whirpool duet washer or any other Whirpool washer model you may have.

However, if the water inlet valve is clogged with accumulated gunk, sand, and dirt, the water release will be limited or stopped altogether.

In this case, the sensing cycle won’t be able to transition to a wash cycle, as your Cabrio washer isn’t getting a sufficient amount of water to start the washing.

Faulty shift actuator

A shift actuator is a crucial element of your Whirpool washer, as it is responsible for making the shift between two cycles.

Since the primary role of the shift actuator is to trigger the transition between the sensing cycle and the wash cycle, it is no wonder a faulty shift actuator will have your new Whirlpool washer stuck in the sensing phase.

The actuator also includes an optical sensor responsible for monitoring and determining the speed and the position of the transition between the two cycles.

Moreover, the shift actuator is responsible for shifting the splutch cam ring into the correct position and monitoring its movement.

If the shift actuator is faulty, this could be either mechanical or electrical.

A mechanical issue usually happens when the actuator is broken or defective, while an electrical issue stems from a circuit breaker problem, power surge, or another electrical fault.

Faulty drive motor

A drive motor is a vital element of any washer, and the component that controls the machine and the washer drum generates power.

A faulty drive motor won’t be able to spin the drum in the sensing phase to determine the load amount, which may be why your Whirlpool Cabrio washer is stuck in sensing mode.

Even if it gets past the sensing mode, it is only a matter of time before your washer fails if you’re dealing with a malfunctioning drive motor.

Main control board issue

Finally, if there is something wrong with the control board of your washer, which is the main element controlling its processes, the sensing cycle may not be able to transition to a successful wash cycle.

Unfortunately, a failed main control board isn’t an issue that can be swept under the rug, as it affects all washer functions.

How to fix a Whirlpool washer stuck on sensing

There are several highly effective methods to fix the Whirlpool washer and avoid this issue in the future.

1. Replace the water inlet valve

A clogged water valve will prevent the water from entering the washer drum. Even if there is a certain amount of water, the question is whether it is enough for a proper wash cycle.

In this case, your Whirlpool washer will be unable to start the wash cycle you chose and remain in sensing mode.

Whether the water valve is clogged, corroded, or has some electrical problem, replacing it with a new one is the best choice.

A water valve isn’t something you want to compromise on, as it is an essential element of your washing machine.

The first step would be to locate the water valve, which is inside the washing machine, near the back part. You want to remove the screws and disconnect the hoses and the wires attached to them.

Remove the faulty water valve, install a new one, and then connect all the corresponding hoses and wires.

2. Replace the shift actuator

Like the water valve, the easiest way to ensure your washer will work properly is to replace the damaged element – in this case, the shift actuator.

However, before deciding that the actuator is the problem, you want to use a multimeter to troubleshoot it (unless you’ve already detected a serious mechanical defect and no further examination is necessary).

If the shift actuator shows no signs of electrical continuity, there has been an electrical error, and you need to replace it with a new one.

3. Replace the drive motor

Since investing in a new drive motor is relatively expensive, you certainly want to double-check with a professional and ensure that the drive motor is causing the washer to be stuck on sensing.

Remember that the drive motor is prone to wear and tear just like any other element of your washer. That said, if you’ve been using the same washer for years, it is no wonder the motor has hit its limit.

Also, remember that it may be wiser to invest in a brand new Whirlpool washing machine than in a new drive motor for your old machine.

Just like the drive motor failed, so can all the other components of your old washer, including the control board, the lid switch, the drain pump, and the drain hose.

4. Replace the main control board

While a professional may detect specific components of the main control board that are defective and should be replaced, the usual practice in this situation is to replace the control board altogether. 

The main control board is located inside its housing in the machine, which should be disconnected and removed. Numerous wires are connected to the housing, so you should be extra careful with this step.

Keep in mind that you should compare the cost of the main control board replacement and the price of a brand-new washer. Often, investing in a new machine is much wiser, as the difference in the cost is minimal and negligible

5. Restart your Whirlpool washer

You’ll be surprised to learn that many washer issues, including the washer being stuck on sensing, can be solved with a simple restart in just a few quick steps.

While there are several ways to restart your machine, the quickest one would be to perform a power cycle. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, power cycling entails unplugging the power cable from the power outlet.

After disconnecting the washer from the power source, wait for a couple of minutes, reconnect it and turn it on again to check if the washer is still stuck on sensing.

A power cycle should remove the consequences of electrical faults such as power surges and short circuits. However, keep in mind that a restart will not solve any electrical or mechanical defects in your machine.

This is precisely why it is recommended to spend some time troubleshooting the washer, including all of its components – especially the crucial ones we’ve mentioned in this guide.

Many users find that troubleshooting their Whirlpool washer is much easier when following the user manual that came with it, as it includes detailed instructions on how to properly maintain, clean, and use the machine.

However, if you’re uncomfortable with opening up and inspecting the machine on your own, you can always hire a professional to take a closer look and evaluate the situation.

After all, if your Whirlpool washer is still under warranty, you don’t need to attempt to fix it yourself, as their service experts will do that for you. 

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