How to Bypass a Washing Machine Relay Switch

Megan Mattingly-Arthur

Residential automatic washing machines have an internal safety device known as a relay switch that prevents the appliance from operating when the lid is open. If your washing machine suddenly stops working, a faulty relay switch might be responsible.

You can bypass the relay switch in your washing machine.

Fortunately, you can bypass the relay switch to determine whether it's still functional. However, because the relay switch is an important safety component, bypassing the switch should only be done briefly for diagnostic purposes.

  1. Disconnect the washing machine from the electrical outlet before servicing it. Never disassemble the machine while it's connected to a power source.

  2. Remove the screws on the washing machine control panel; the type and number of screws varies by brand and model. To access the relay switch, fold the control panel cover down or back, depending on the design of the machine.

  3. Unplug the wiring connector from the relay switch. Grab the plastic connector and pull firmly; do not pull the wires themselves.

  4. Cut a 6-inch piece of insulated wiring to use as a jumper wire. Strip a quarter inch of insulation off each end of the wire, using a pair of wire strippers.

  5. Plug the washing machine into the electrical outlet.

  6. Insert the stripped ends of the jumper wire into the receptacles on the plastic wiring connector. Connect the gray and white or gray and tan receptacles, depending on the relay switch model. Wrap electrical tape around the jumper wire to insulate the connection.

  7. Replace the control panel cover. Reinsert and tighten the screws to secure the control panel cover to the washing machine.

  8. Tip

    Set the appliance to run a regular washing cycle. Replace the relay switch if the washing machine operates while the switch is bypassed.


    Troubleshooting or repairing any of the internal components could void the protection plan on your washing machine. Consult the terms of the manufacturer's warranty for more information.