The Complete Guide to Microwave Parts

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Microwaves are workhorse kitchen appliances that we rely on to quickly cook, reheat, and defrost foods. Over time, the components inside the microwave can wear out or fail. Understanding the critical microwave parts allows you to troubleshoot issues and potentially repair your unit yourself rather than replacing the whole appliance.

Knowing how to identify worn parts, match replacement parts to your specific model, safely handle electrical components, and properly install the new parts takes skill. This guide will cover the key microwave parts, how to select the right ones, and answers to frequently asked questions when tackling microwave repairs. Let’s get started!

The Best Microwave Parts

There are several electrical components inside a microwave that comprise the primary functioning systems. Here are the critical parts that may need replacement:


The magnetron is the powerhouse part that actually generates the microwaves that cook the food. Symptoms of a failing magnetron include low heating power, uneven cooking, and noise. When selecting a new magnetron, match the exact voltage and wattage specifications. Brands like Whirlpool, Frigidaire and General Electric make quality replacement magnetrons.

Price range: $$

High Voltage Diode

The high voltage diode works together with the magnetron to provide steady microwave generation. Signs of a bad diode include no heating or very slow cooking. Look for a diode with voltage specs that match your magnetron. Reputable brands include Supco and Frigidaire.

Price range: $

High Voltage Capacitor

The high voltage capacitor helps provide smooth, steady power to the magnetron. A failing capacitor may result in no heating or fluctuations in microwave intensity. Choose a replacement capacitor with the correct microfarad rating. Supco and General Electric make trusted capacitors.

Price range: $

Control Board

The control board houses the logic and programming that operates the microwave functions. Faulty control boards can cause malfunctioning displays, buttons not responding, or failure to start. Choose a replacement board that matches your model number exactly. Manufacturer-specific boards from Whirlpool, GE or Frigidaire are best.

Price range: $$


The magnetron, high voltage diode, capacitor, and control board comprise the key electrical components inside a microwave that most commonly fail and need replacing. Using exact replacement parts from reputable brands helps ensure proper functionality and longevity of your repair.

How to Choose Microwave Parts

Selecting the correct replacement microwave parts requires care and accuracy:

Determining which Part is Faulty

First diagnose the issue. For example, lack of heat points to a magnetron, diode or capacitor. Malfunctioning buttons indicate a control board. Use visual checks and testing to pinpoint.

Understanding Part Function

Research what each component does so you understand the technical specifications needed. This ensures you buy a compatible and high-quality part.

Matching Specs Like Voltage, Wattage, Dimensions

Choose parts that exactly match the original specs like voltage, wattage ratings, physical size, microfarad measurements, and connector types.

Assessing Quality and Durability

Stick with microwave-specific parts from reputable brands made from sturdy materials built to handle kitchen conditions. Don’t risk cheap knockoffs that can quickly fail.

Choosing Reputable Brand Name Parts

Trustworthy microwave part manufacturers include Whirlpool, Frigidaire, General Electric, and Supco components designed specifically for the appliance.

Finding Correct Part Number

Use diagrams and owner’s manuals to locate the part number and specs for your microwave model’s parts. This ensures an exact replacement. Jot down all identifying numbers.

Considering Cost of Repair vs New Microwave

Compare the part cost plus labor to the price of a new microwave. For expensive premium models, repairing older units can be worthwhile.

Using Manuals and Diagrams

Consult exploded view parts diagrams in manuals to properly identify each part and ensure you order the correct one.

Safely Handling Electrical Components

Exercise caution when working with capacitor discharge to avoid shocks. Never energize the microwave without the cover in place.

FAQs About Microwave Parts

What are the most common microwave parts that need replacing?

The magnetron, control board, high voltage diode, and capacitor are most likely to fail and require replacing over time.

How can you test a microwave part to see if it’s faulty?

Use a multimeter to check parts like the diode, capacitor, and transformer for continuity. Check the magnetron for correct ohm reading. Remove parts and visually inspect for damage.

What safety precautions should be taken when working on a microwave?

Always unplug and discharge the capacitor correctly. Never operate with the cover off. Use insulated tools and wear gloves when testing components.

How difficult is it to install replacement microwave parts?

Intermediate do-it-yourself skills are needed. Following diagrams carefully makes it manageable if you are comfortable handling electrical appliances. Hire a technician if unsure.

What tools are needed for microwave repairs?

Typical tools include a Phillips and flat head screwdriver, pliers, voltmeter, stud finder, and soldering iron in some cases along with work gloves and safety goggles.

Can generic unbranded parts be used?

It’s best to use brand-name OEM parts or reputable aftermarket brands designed specifically for microwaves. Generic parts often don’t last and have poorer performance.

Is it worth fixing an old microwave or better to buy new?

If the microwave is less than 5-7 years old and uses quality replacement parts, repairing it can be worthwhile. Beyond that age, replacement may be a better option.

Where can you find microwave part diagrams?

Exploded parts diagrams with part numbers are found online and in owner’s manuals to aid in properly identifying the parts you need.

What are signs that the magnetron needs replacing?

Low or uneven heating, buzzing or humming noises, visible damage, and the microwave not heating at all point to a failed magnetron.

How long should replacement microwave parts last?

High-quality brand name parts should have a lifespan of 5-7 years or longer in most cases, at least matching the expected lifespan of a full microwave.

Key Takeaways on Microwave Parts

  • Diagnose issues accurately to determine which part needs replacing.
  • Match the replacement’s specifications precisely to your model.
  • Only utilize brand name OEM or aftermarket microwave parts.
  • Follow diagrams to locate the proper part numbers.
  • Exercise safety with all electrical components.
  • Weigh cost of repair vs new microwave based on age.
  • Allow significant time for proper installation of new parts.

With some electrical know-how and diligence, many microwave repairs can be performed DIY. But don’t hesitate to call in a professional if you lack the skills and knowledge to safely handle electrical repairs. Investing in quality replacement parts maximizes the lifespan of your trusted microwave.

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