When a washer malfunctions, you might anticipate that it will just stop working altogether one day. It simply will not turn on at all. However, more frustrating is when a washer actually does start and may even seem to go through the cycles but actually stops in the middle. It can leave soapy clothing, standing water, and a really frustrating situation behind.
However, this is actually kind of a boon to you. By actually performing some function before it stops, it can help you get down to the root cause faster than if the washer does nothing at all. If your washer seems to stop mid-cycle, there are quite a few potential causes to check, but each cause comes with its own unique signs in most cases.
Your washer uses a timer to tell it when to advance to the next cycle in the wash. However, if that timer is malfunctioning, it won’t tell the control board to switch cycles. This can result in a washer that runs the same cycle indefinitely due to the timer never telling it to stop or it can manifest in a washer that just stops in the middle because the timer thinks the cycle is complete when it is not. By removing the back of your washer or the control panel in some models, you can access and check the timer for continuity. This is not a part easily damaged, but it can simply go bad over time. Testing it with a multimeter is the only sure way to find fault.
Similar to the timer, the control board in your washer can also go faulty and cause a washer to stop in the middle of its wash. Even if the timer is sending the correct signals, the control board may not be receiving or processing them correctly. As the control board is the brain of your appliance, this malfunction can come out in dozens of different problems from the door not latching to the tub not agitating.
The control board should be checked for wear such as any potential scorching, corrosion, or rusted or damaged wiring. However, even if visible damage cannot be found, the control board should be tested with a multimeter. This becomes especially true if you noticed a lot of other different problems before it started stopping in the middle of the wash. Control board problems in any appliance rarely come with just one symptom. Instead, you will notice many, probably easy to ignore, symptoms before something major gets in your way.
Lid Switch and Door Lock
Both the lid switch and the door lock on your washer are two different parts that play the same role – they won’t let your washer run when the door is open. In the door lock’s case, it keeps the door closed during the wash cycle when clothing may be able to push an unlocked door open during agitation. Regardless, if either is faulty then they may prevent the washer from either starting or could end the wash prematurely because it thinks the door is open or not locked.
You will want to check to see if the door can be wiggled when closed. This can be a sign that it is not locking properly as an engaged lock will make it quite secure. You will also want to make sure that the lid switch is actually being hit properly and it not obstructed in any way. There are ways to bypass the lid switch so that the cycle will finish, and by doing so it can concretely tell you if it is faulty.
In most cases, the lid lock bypass method involved placing a magnet between the lid lock and the solenoid so that the washer will complete the cycle. As this may need to be done when there is still standing water in your washer, you will want to unplug the washer for your own safety. To access the area of the washer you need, you will also likely have to remove the top panel. In many cases, it is just easier to remove the clothes and rinse them in other ways, but this can still be a pretty good diagnostic tool.
Water Inlet Valve
If you find that your washer is routinely stopping during the rinse cycle, then it may be caused by a faulty water inlet valve. As it stops during the rinse cycle, the washer will stop in the middle of the wash. It will not advance likely because it reads that the water level is too low. You will want to look into why the water inlet valve is not letting in water. It could be faulty, or it could simply be an obstruction that needs to be removed in the valve. If you have hard water, this can be quite likely as mineral build up on the filters. You will also want to check where the water comes into the washer as well. You may need to clear away build-up from the wall inlets. Otherwise, you will want to test it with a multimeter to see if the water inlet valve in the washer has just gone bad.
If the drain hose in your washer becomes clogged, it can stop the washer mid-cycle as it activates a pressure switch. This prevents more catastrophic problems by just shutting off the washer until the clogged hose is fixed. You can check for clogged hoses quickly by disconnecting them and blowing air through to make sure that everything flows properly. You will first, however, want to get as much water out of the washer as possible before disconnecting the hose.
Pump and Motor
If a washer stops mid-cycle, it could be because the pump or the motor that runs it has failed. When this happens, it cannot remove the water efficiently, pump water in, and thus the sensors won’t allow it to move to the next cycle. When either of these parts goes bad, typically you will be able to hear it making sounds. This should be a good indicator of where to check there first.