Kenmore Washer Won't Go Into the Wash Cycle

The typical Kenmore washing machine features four phases in a full washing cycle: filling, agitation or washing, draining and spinning.

Lid or Door

Although a properly functioning washing machine will automatically transition from phase-to-phase as part of completing a routine washing cycle, there are times when the washer may fail to advance. If the washer fills but won’t move on to the wash cycle, perform a basic inspection of the machine to ensure one of the components isn’t impeding this transition.

Ensure that the washing machine’s lid or door is completely closed. A top-loading Kenmore washing machine will automatically stop, after it fills, if its lid isn’t shut all of the way. A front-loading washing machine normally won’t fill unless its door is closed, but for smaller wash loads some filling might take place before the washer pauses. Close the lid or door so the washing machine can continue the wash cycle.

Lid Switch

Most top-loading Kenmore washing machines have a lid switch. This automatically stops the washing machine’s operation, if you open the lid, while the washing machine is running. The switch must operate properly for the washer to begin the wash cycle. Locate the lid switch on the top interior of the cabinet. If you don’t hear the switch click when you move your hand gently over it, the component is probably broken. You must change out the defective switch for your washing machine to perform correctly again.

Dispenser Drawer

Most Kenmore front-load washing machine models have detergent dispensers -- drawers that you pull out and fill with detergent, fabric softener or bleach. Sometimes if one of the drawers isn’t closed all of the way, it can cause the washer to stop after it fills. The washer won’t advance to the wash cycle until you close each door completely.

Water Hoses

After you hit start on a Kenmore washing machine, the washer begins to fill with water to either the water level or load size you selected or to the water level the washer senses, depending on the model you own. If one of the water supply hoses is kinked, the washer may start to fill with water; but if a certain water level isn’t reached, the washer won’t begin the wash cycle. Inspect the washing machine’s water hoses at the back of the unit to ensure that the hoses aren’t twisted. Straighten out any bent hoses.

Air Dome

The air dome on a Kenmore washing machine monitors the air pressure in the drum and sends a signal to the timer to initiate the next phase of a washing cycle based on the air pressure level the air dome detects. However, if the component breaks, it cannot effectively measure the drum’s air pressure and never alerts the timer to advance. Contact an authorized Kenmore service technician to evaluate the washer and swap out the air dome if it’s defective.

About the Author

Christie Gross has been writing since 1998. Her work writing public policy platforms for elected officials nationwide has been featured in national and local newspapers under various client pen names. Gross has a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science, as well as a Master of Public Administration from the University of Delaware.