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Washer Have a Slow or Broken Agitator? All the Easy Fixes You Need to Know

Washer Have a Slow or Broken Agitator? All the Easy Fixes You Need to Know


If your washing machine has a slow agitator or one that won't spin, your laundry will be soaking wet and unwashed. Before you purchase an entirely new washer, check if you can fix the problem first. Our friends at Sears PartsDirect have some tips to help get your washer cleaning clothes again in no time.

Learn more about troubleshooting a top-load washer that won't drain or spin from Sears PartsDirect.

Possible Fixes


Replace the Agitator Dogs

These dogs don't bark or bite. Agitator dogs are small cams that sit in the top half of your washer's agitator and control its movement. If they wear out or break, the top of the agitator will spin freely without ratcheting to spin the entire unit.


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Learn more about replacing the agitator dogs
from Sears PartsDirect.

Washer Agitator Dogs

Washer Direct-Drive Clutch

Repair or Replace the Direct-Drive Washer Clutch

Mounted above the direct-drive transmission under the outer washer tub is were your washer's direct-drive washer clutch assembly lives. When the clutch releases the brake on the spin basket, it spins during the spin cycle. Your machine's agitator problems could be from a worn out clutch or improper releasing from the brake. Aside from the noise, you also will know it's a broken clutch because your laundry will still be wet at the end of the spin. You can fix this issue using a clutch band kit or a full clutch replacement kit. 


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Learn how to replace the clutch assembly 
and replace the clutch band from Sears PartsDirect.

Replace the Lid Switch

The lid switch on a top-load model detects whether the lid of the washer is closed. This safety mechanism will keep the washer from running if it doesn't think the lid is shut. If you're positive the lid is completely shut but it still isn't running, remedy the problem by changing the lid switch.


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Learn more about replacing the lid switch
from Sears PartsDirect.

Washer Lid Switch

Washer Motor Coupler

Replace the Motor Coupler

The motor coupler is what protects a washer's drive motor from damage if the drive system halts. This part is a flexible coupling found on the motor shaft's connection to the direct-drive gearbox. If the motor is running but but won't agitate or spin when the washer fills and drains, then you'll need to replace the motor coupler.


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Learn more about replacing the motor coupler
from Sears PartsDirect.

Replace the Gearcase

If you own a direct-drive top-load washer, a gearcase is the component that drives the agitator. When in spin mode, the gears will shift the drive shaft and spin the drive tube. If the gearcase locks up or breaks it will likely make a grinding noise or possibly leak oil. When you notice either of those, it's time to replace it.


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Learn more about replacing a gearcase
from Sears PartsDirect.

Washer Gearcase

washer motor control board

Replace the Motor Control Board

In front-load washers, the motor control board monitors the motor speed and direction for the tumble and spin cycles. If there is a short in this board, the motor may not run at all, keeping the washer from starting.


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Learn more about replacing the motor control board
from Sears PartsDirect.

Replace the Drive Block

The drive block is a key component that makes your washer spin. This part is attached to the top of the spin tube and rotates the spin basket. When the drive block wears out or break, the basket could wobble, rattle or stop spinning. Make sure the spanner nut is tight before replacing this part. If you fasten the spanner nut but still hear a loud noise, replace the drive block.


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Learn more about replacing a drive block
from Sears PartsDirect.

Washer Drive Block

washer water level pressure switch

Replace the Water-Level Pressure Switch

The water-level pressure switch monitors the water level within the wash tub. If the switch is broken, the tub may overfill or possibly not fill at all. Check the water level during the wash cycle, and replace the switch if the water level is faulty.


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Learn more about replacing the water level switch
from Sears PartsDirect.

Replace the Timer

The timer controls the various components of the washer during the cycle. If there is a short in this timer, then it won't accurately engage the components needed to run the machine. This might result in the wash cycle not starting at all.  


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Learn more about replacing the wash timer
from Sears PartsDirect.

Washer Timer

Washer Door Lock Assembly

Replace the Door Lock Assembly

In a front-load washer, the lock assembly features a latch and locking mechanisim, and it also has a safety switch to detect whether the door is open or closed. Whenever the latch or one of the other key components fails, your washer won't start or continue the cycle. Replacing the door lock should get your machine spinning again.


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Learn more about replacing a door lock assembly
from Sears PartsDirect.


Repair or Replace the Drain Pump

Your washer's drain pump is a vital compontent to the machine. This part removes water during specific times of the wash cycle. There are few issues that lead to noises and vibrations, including seized bearings, failed seals or broken impeller blades. If your machine has a belt-driven pump, the belt and pulley can break. A faulty drain pump creates a humming noise when the washer is full of water. Sometimes, all you need to do is clear the pump of debris, fix a wire issue or replace the seal. If it can't be repaired, then you'll need to replace the entire pump.


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Learn how to replace a drain pump on your front-load washer and top-load washer from Sears PartsDirect.


Washer Drain Pump

Washer Spin Basket

Repair or Replace the Spin Basket

The spin basket is the perforated container that sits in the outer tub and holds all your laundry. There are couple of issues that can lead to a faulty spin basket. The spanner nut can loosen over time, causing the basket not to rotate properly. Tightening the spanner nut should fix this problem. However, if the basket becomes damaged from the loose nut or another object left in your clothes, you'll need to replace the entire basket.


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Learn more about replacing the spin basket
from Sears PartsDirect.

Replace the Drive Motor

The drive motor delivers the force that rotates a top-load washer's spin basket and drives the shaft of the gear case to move the agitator. Your machine's drive motor is either attached to a drive pulley with a belt or directly attached to the drive shaft. If the windings fail or a bearing on the motor locks up, The motor won't run if the windings give out or a bearing locks up. When either malfunction occurs, the part will need to be replaced.


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Learn how to replace the drive motor on a front-load washer
or top-load washer from Sears PartsDirect.

Washer Drive Motor

Washer Main Electronic Control Board

Replace the Main Electronic Control Board

The main electronic control board is key to your entire machine. This motherboard controls every single function of your washer, including the agitator and spin basket. When the component gets damaged or has lost a connection, you'll need to replace it to keep the machine running.


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Learn how to replace the electronic control board in a top-load or front-load washer from Sears PartsDirect.


Replace the Shifter Assembly

The shifter assembly or actuator is found in top-load models. This part is mounted on the bottom of the gearcase and shifts the drive system between agitation and spin modes. If the motor, sensor or mechanical parts of the assembly fail, the washer will stop and signal an error code. When this happens, then the assembly should be replaced.


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Learn more about replacing the shifter assembly
from Sears PartsDirect.

Washer Shifter Assembly

Washer Basket Drive

Replace the Basket Drive

The basket drive houses your washing machine's brake mechanism for the spin basket, and it has the spring tube shaft that rotates the basket. This part sits on top of the transmission and clutch assembly. When it fails, the washer will stop spinning and start making a screeching or squealing noise.


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Learn more about replacing the washer basket drive
from Sears PartsDirect.

Replace the Drive Belt

Certain washer models have drive systems designed with a belt that delivers the rotation to the drive motor pulley and gearcase. If you hear the motor running but the spin basket or agitator isn't moving, then the belt is probably broken. Always check to see if the belt is worn during regular maintenance checks.


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Washer Drive Belt

Washer Shock Absorber

Replace the Shock Absorber

The shock absorber is made to reduce the transfer of vibration and movement of the outer wash tub on a front-load washing machine. It also is designed to hold the tub in place while still allowing enough movement for spinning. You'll know this piece is worn or has failed by a knocking sound and tub instability during high spin cycle periods.


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Replace the Agitator

Sometimes, the issue could be the agitator itself. If the agitator is cracked or broken, then you'll have to replace the entire piece. Once you've checked the agitator dogs and ruled that out, then replace the agitator if the ratcheting teeth are worn or broken.


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washer agitator