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Signs of a Broken Motor Coupler on a Washing Machine

Mitchell Brock

A washing machine motor coupler attaches the transmission to the drive-shaft of the motor. The coupler is generally made of plastic and rubber, and mounts on one side of the drive-shaft. Different symptoms appear when the motor coupling is beginning to fail or breaks.

Wet Clothes

Different symptoms arise when a motor coupling is bad in a washing machine.

A washing machine uses the spin cycle to remove a lot of the rinse water from the clothes. When clothes come out with excessive water, the machine isn't spinning out most of the water. This a sure sign the motor coupler has broken or been damaged.

Agitator Doesn't Work

Once the washer fills with water, the center agitator shakes or rotates back and forth so all of the clothes can be pushed around in the water. If the washing machine fills with water but the agitator doesn't begin to rotate back and forth, the motor coupler could be broken or worn.

Motor Spins but Drum Doesn't Rotate

The motor controls the transmission and rotates the drum. These two washing machine components are connected by the motor coupling. If you can hear the motor turning or spinning but the drum doesn't rotate, the motor coupling is worn or broken.


When a loud noise can be heard in the washing machine as it runs through its cycles, the motor coupling can be worn or the plastic cracked. The coupler can crack over time or the rubber can deteriorate, creating a noise inside the washing machine. The noise becomes louder when the washing machine operates on the spin cycle. The noise is created by the motor coupler slapping against the transmission and motor drive-shaft. Not all washing machine noises are caused by the motor coupler. Other signs accompany the noise when the motor coupler is bad.