How to Test Washing Machine Motors

Lisa Wampler

A washing machine motor runs the drum and pump in your washing machine. If the motor fails, the machine simply will not work. However, just because your washing machine stopped working does not mean the issue is related to your motor. In fact, there are multiple items on a washing machine that could result in the same symptoms. The only way to know if your motor is faulty is to test the circuits. Before you can do so, you must remove the outer shell so you can access the motor. This process differs with every brand and model of washing machine. In most cases, the unit is held together with a series of screws and retaining clips.

All washing machines have a motor.
  1. Disconnect the washing machine from its electrical outlet if you did not already do so while disassembling the shell.

  2. Locate the two wire leads that connect to the motor housing and remove them by unplugging them from the motor.

  3. Turn the dial on your multimeter or select the appropriate button for the RX1 setting on your multimeter. This tests resistance.

  4. Place one probe from your multimeter onto each of the metal tabs on the motor that were exposed by unplugging the wires.

  5. Read the multimeter. The multimeter should show a "0" or very low number. If it does, the motor coils are functional. If it shows a high number or it shows "infinite," it indicates the motor is defective.

  6. Remove one probe from the electrical terminal and place it on the shell of the motor to test the ground. If the meter reflects anything other than zero, this means that the motor is not grounded properly. Once you complete this test, reverse the probes on the motor and test the other lug on the electrical terminal.