Keeping Your Washer Running Like New With Replacement Parts
Having a working washing machine is such a basic necessity in today’s world. It’s easy to take for granted until something goes wrong! When your washer starts malfunctioning, it can seriously disrupt your laundry routine and become a huge hassle. But before you think about purchasing a brand new machine, consider that replacing just a few key parts can often get your washer operating like new again.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing high-quality replacement parts to repair your ailing appliance. First, we’ll cover the four most common washer components that fail and require fixing. Then, we’ll provide tips on selecting the right replacement parts for your specific model. Finally, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about washer part selection and repairs.
Follow along to gain the knowledge you need to diagnose washer issues and complete your own DIY part replacements. Investing in the right replacement components will have your machine running smoothly for years to come!
The Best 4 Washer Parts to Replace
Certain parts inside your washer simply wear out faster than others. Identifying which components need replacing can restore performance and prevent further damage. Here are the top 4 washer parts to watch out for:
Agitator or Impeller
This core part creates the swishing motion that cleans your clothes. Top-load models have a center agitator, while front-load washers use an impeller that spins to move water. Both styles can suffer from the same problems:
- Loud noise during the wash cycle, including grinding or squealing
- Uneven motion that leaves clothes balled up
- Leaking coming from the shaft seal
- Visible cracking or damage on the fins
To inspect the agitator/impeller, you’ll need to remove it fully from the washer tub. On top-loaders, the agitator typically unscrews clockwise. Front-load impellers will require removing the outer boot first.
Check the fins of the part for accumulated dirt, broken pieces, and smooth worn areas. Use calipers or a ruler to measure fin length – they should meet manufacturers specs. If severely damaged, replacement is required.
When selecting a new agitator or impeller, stick with OEM parts that meet your washer’s specifications. Aftermarket parts may seem cheaper but don’t last as long. Look for robust materials like reinforced plastics rather than brittle polymers. Many companies offer lifetime warranties on agitators, giving peace of mind.
Water Inlet Valve
This small but complex valve controls hot and cold water flow into the washer tub. Dripping water when the machine isn’t running? It’s likely the inlet valves. Other symptoms include:
- Longer fill times with lower water pressure
- Washing machine not filling at all
- Abnormal noises when valve activates
Start troubleshooting by tightening the hose connections at the faucet and back of the washer. Examine inlet hoses for cracks and leaks. Use a multimeter to test for continuity on the valve solenoids. No reading means faulty valves.
For replacement, note what type of connections your hoses use – either threaded or quick-connect. Make sure the new inlet valves match up. The valve housing can be plastic or metal. Metal-bodied valves are more durable in the long run.
Shut off the water supply and release any residual pressure before swapping valves. Use plumber’s tape on threaded connections for a watertight seal. Once finished, slowly turn on the water and check for leaks during a test cycle.
This safety switch disables the washer tub when the lid is open. If it malfunctions, the tub may not spin or fill with water properly. Warning signs include:
- Washer not starting when the lid is down
- Ability to open the lid during wash cycles
- Noisy grinding if switch is jammed
First, confirm the lid switch is the culprit. Bypass the switch by jumpering the electrical connections, then try starting a cycle. If the washer works properly, the switch needs replacing.
The new lid switch must have the same style mount and fit as the original. Carefully note the position of the activation button and angle of the switch body before removing the old one. Metal switches are more durable than plastic versions.
Clean out any detergent residue or grime from the switch housing on the washer frame. Position the new lid switch exactly like the original. A small alignment error can prevent the switch from connecting properly when closed.
This essential belt transfers power from the motor to turn the wash drum. Signs of a failing drive belt include:
- Squeaking, squealing noises at startup
- Slipping belt during agitation cycles
- Visible cracking, fraying, or stretching of rubber
Before replacing, determine the correct length and type of belt for your model using online lookup tables. It’s wise to purchase 2 replacement belts – increased workload can degrade the new belt faster after install.
Use a belt tension gauge tool to get the tension just right for optimal performance. Do not over-tighten or loosen too much. When in doubt, refer to the manufacturing specs.
High-quality rubber belts work well for most washers. For very heavy loads, look for nylon-reinforced belts capable of handling the extra torque. With the right replacement drive belt installed, the drum will turn smoothly for years.
How to Choose the Right Washer Parts
Finding the correct replacement part for your machine is just as important as identifying the failed component. Here are tips for selecting compatible washer parts to keep your appliance running like new:
Match the Part to Your Specific Model
All washers are not created equal! Parts often vary across makes, models and years. Start by finding the model number and serial number, located on a tag or label inside the door or console.
Use these identifiers to search accurate diagrams and parts lists on the manufacturer’s website. For uncommon models, you may need to phone customer support to verify the right replacement.
Entering incorrect model information into a parts lookup can return incompatible components. So take time to properly identify your washer before ordering.
Assess What Caused the Part Failure
Understanding why the original part failed helps avoid repeat issues down the road. Ask yourself:
- Was the part obviously worn out through gradual aging?
- Or did something abrupt happen like a broken drive belt?
Make notes of any odd sounds, leaks, or damage around the failing part. Knowing the full repair history also provides clues.
If the washer is older, replacing multiple worn-out parts at once yields longer lasting repairs. Why put in a new drive belt if the motor is already on its way out?
Addressing only sudden breakages without considering wear means further repairs will come sooner. Take a holistic view of your machine’s condition when choosing replacement parts.
Purchase High-Quality Components
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. That’s especially true for washer parts! Cheap aftermarket knock-offs seem appealing but the savings often don’t justify the poor performance and short lifespan.
Stick with parts made by reputable brands using robust materials built to last. Read product reviews and comparisons to avoid shoddy components.
OEM parts straight from the appliance manufacturer offer quality construction and correct sizing. For uncommon models, OEM may be your only option. While more costly, they come with warranties and tend to function better in the long run.
Use Detailed Instructions Specific to Your Model
Once you have the new part, it’s crucial to follow proper installation steps for YOUR washing machine’s make and model. General repair guides may overlook nuances in your unit.
Utilize detailed instructions from the manufacturer if available. Or watch online videos specific to the same model. Pausing to take photos before disassembly also helps with correct re-assembly.
Employ the specialized tools needed to avoid damage, like torque limiting screwdrivers. Rushing through installation without model-specific guidance increases the chances of installation errors. Do it right the first time!
Consider Professional Assistance for Complex Repairs
Be honest with your mechanical skill level when taking on washer repairs. Are you realistically capable of properly replacing the failing part? Or does extreme disassembly intimidate you?
Complex components like control boards, shock absorbers, even inner wash tubs often require qualified appliance technicians. Their expertise and inventory of specialty tools may save you from frustration and avoid further damage.
Evaluate whether DIY attempts make sense based on part cost vs hiring a professional. And don’t forget the value of your personal time! Paying a pro can be worth the convenience and confidence in repairs done right.
Frequently Asked Questions About Washer Parts
Still have questions about properly selecting replacement washer components? Here we answer some commonly asked questions for choosing the right parts:
What are signs I need a new agitator or impeller?
Loud grinding or squealing noises, off-balance loads, leaking from the shaft seal, and visibly cracked or broken fins all indicate replacement is needed. Pull the agitator or impeller out to inspect closely. Measure fin length and check for debris buildup or smooth wear.
How do I find the right lid switch for my model?
Begin by locating the model and serial number tag, usually inside the door or control panel. Use that info to lookup an exploded diagram of your washer on the manufacturer’s website. Verify if your type uses a direct plunger or separate latch assembly. This ensures you purchase the correct replacement lid switch.
Are aftermarket parts inferior to OEM components?
It depends. Some aftermarket brands utilize top-notch materials and engineering to produce replacement parts equal to original manufacturers. But many aftermarket parts are low-cost knockoffs and fail quickly. Check product reviews and materials used. For uncommon washer models, OEM is often the only choice.
What tools do I need to replace the drive belt?
At minimum, you’ll need a socket set, wrenches, a belt tension gauge, and a screwdriver. Refer to the service manual for your model’s specific reassembly steps and any specialty tools required. Having the proper tools for the job will make changing the drive belt much easier.
Where can I purchase washer parts online?
All the major appliance parts retailers like AppliancePartsPros, ReliableParts, and AppliancePartsMasters carry wide selections online. You can also often buy direct from the OEM websites like Whirlpool, GE Appliances, etc. Compare across sellers for the best price on your model’s parts.
Keep Your Machine Chugging Along
As you can see, choosing the right replacement parts requires some homework to match components properly to your make and model. Investing a little extra time up front saves huge hassles down the road.
With these tips for identifying and replacing failed parts, you can keep your trusted washing machine running smoothly for years before needing a complete replacement. Just take things slow, use proper instructions, and avoid shoddy knock-off parts.
Of course, repairs may not always be worth it on very old washers. But for newer models, fixing issues promptly extends the machine’s useful life at a fraction of replacement cost.
We hope these guides empower you with the confidence to tackle washer repairs yourself. No more laundry disruption from broken parts – just clean and functional wash days ahead!