Washing Machine Not Finishing Cycle? (try doing this)

Where would we be without our modern appliances? And in particular, of all our electrical appliances where would we be without our washing machine? You’ve probably never asked that question, in all honesty, we don’t think about the washing machine until it stops working, or malfunctions in some way.

In this article we’re going to look at the possible causes and potential fixes to why your washing machine doesn’t finish its cycle. Some of these fixes are relatively simple and can be tackled by anyone, others will need an expert. But at least you’ll understand what’s gone wrong and the work involved in repairing it.

If you own a modern machine, it will very likely display an error code if it stops mid-program. Older machines that were made before such technology were available will either have a flashing light or maybe no indication at all. If there is no error code or your machine doesn’t support that technology, read on.

Uneven Load Distribution

Look at the laundry in the drum of the washing machine, if it’s all to one side it could have caused a sensor within the machine to shut the cycle down. This is because the machine could get damaged internally if there is an unbalanced load. The drum runs using centrifugal force which relies on an even distribution of weight.

With all of the weight on one side, the drum is likely to decentralise which can cause damage to the spindle or other working parts. If the laundry is all on one side, stop the machine, redistribute the load evenly and recommence the program.

Machine Not Draining Completely

If the machine fails to drain completely, it will not run a spin cycle. The internal sensors detect the presence of water and stop the spin cycle from activating. This is usually caused by a partial blockage either in the drain hose or drain pump.

Turn the machine off and check the drain hose and the pump filter for blockages. The drain hose should be free from kinks or bends, if the hose looks old and worn, replace it. The filter should be checked every 2 to 3 months to prevent any blockages.

Too Much Detergent

You should only use HE detergents in your washing machine. These are designed to be low on soap suds. If there are too many soap suds or foam in the machine it will stop to try to remove them which will prevent the cycle from moving on. Be sure you are using the correct detergent in the correct quantity.

Timer Fault

Older washing machines often developed intermittent timer faults. The timer would play up for no apparent reason. Resetting the machine will usually solve this issue (until next time). 


Heating Element Fault

The heater not working correctly is one of the most common causes of washing machine program interruptions. To test this, set up a wash cycle and observe what happens. If the cycle stops within the first 30 minutes it’s probably the water isn’t getting heated sufficiently.

However, if it stops after 30 minutes then the problem could be overheating. If the machine is overheating, it will shut down the program as a safety precaution. It could be as simple as a faulty thermostat, or something more serious. Whatever the cause it needs investigating by a professional technician.

Damaged Drive Belt

If the drive belt is worn or damaged it could cause the drum to slip or not turn at all. To check this, open the door and turn the drum using your hand. If there is no resistance at all, it could well be the drive belt is the problem. This is a repair best done by an expert.

Power Surge

We have no control over how much power is running through our wiring at any time. For the majority of the time, the power flows at a safe level. But occasionally there can be surges which could damage your washing machine. For this reason the machine has a failsafe system that will shut down in the event of a power spike.

To reset the machine after a power surge, you’ll need to perform what is known as a master reset. This involves removing the plug from the mains socket, after a period of no less than 60 seconds, plug the machine back in. Then you need to open and close the door 6 times in 12 seconds, so open and close the door repeatedly for 6 times.

Most modern washing machines are set up in such a way that opening and closing the door 6 times in succession signals the onboard computer to reset. This should be your first course of action if your machine stops running mid-cycle, as it is the easiest and least invasive action you can do without any fear of damaging the machine or personal injury. 

To test if this has done the trick, select the small load setting, and let it run this cycle with no laundry inside. If it completes the full cycle, the machine has successfully reset and can be safely used to wash your clothes again.

Water Leaks

In some washing machines, if they detect a leak, they will shut the program down. Others will keep running, so it depends on the make and model of your machine. If you can see a leak, and it’s easy to repair/replace the part, then try this and see if the program will run. If not, call an engineer.

Faulty Connection

If there is a problem with the electrical circuitry this can cause the machine to stop operating mid-cycle. If you can find no other fault, and you suspect it could be a connection issue, it’s time to call an engineer.

SEE ALSO: Foam In Washing Machine? Too Many Suds? (do this)

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do when your washing machine stops mid cycle?

If your washing machine stops mid-cycle, try stopping the machine, and rearranging the load, it could just be an unbalanced load causing the problem.

How do I reset my washing machine cycle?

To reset your washing machine, unplug it for at least 60 seconds, then replace the plug and turn on the power. Open and close the door 6 times in 12 seconds, this will usually reset the signal to the control unit.

How do I know if my washing machine control board is bad?

If the control board is bad on your washing machine it will not function as it should. Either stopping mid-program, not spinning, draining or even not starting in the first place.

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