How to Repair a Washing Machine Lid Switch

Person adding clothing to a washing machine
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25
What You'll Need
Flathead and Philips screwdriver
Wrench set
Replacement switch
What You'll Need
Flathead and Philips screwdriver
Wrench set
Replacement switch

There are a number of things that can cause a washing machine to stop working. One very common problem is a broken washing machine lid switch. This culprit for top-loading machines is responsible for several functions of the machine. When the lid switch fails, the washing machine does not function properly. A washing machine lid switch is usually made of plastic, which is an item that can and does break. The lid switch indicates to the washing machine when it is safe to proceed to the next cycle, particularly when that cycle is possibly hazardous, such as the agitate or spin cycle. If the switch is broken, the machine interprets that as the lid is open, and will not progress to the next cycle. This safety feature was added to machines after several injuries occurred due to operators reaching into the tub of the washing machine during the agitate or spin cycles. Replacing the lid switch does not require much time or expense and is a more practical solution to replacing the entire machine.

Occasionally, depending on the model, the lid switch will be made of different materials such as metal. Either way, most replacement parts can be found online or in local appliance part supply stores. Make sure that the part you order is the correct lid switch for the make and model of your particular washing machine.

You will want to gather your tools and replacement part in preparation for the job. Make sure that you unplug the electrical supply to the washing machine. It may be easier to maneuver if you move the machine out of a tight spot, such as a closet, as you will need to be able to access all sides of the washing machine.

Step 1 - Turn Off Power

Unplug appliances before beginning work

Double check to make sure the electrical supply has been disconnected and there is no power going to the machine.

Step 2 - Remove the Top of the Machine

Unscrew the top of the washing machine. There will likely be both screws and bolts. Make note of the placement of the screws and bolts. It is helpful to work in a clockwise pattern when removing them. Place the screws and bolts on a surface or sectioned container in the order they are removed. Liftoff the top of the machine. Some lids have a lip on one side and may need to be slid forward and tilted up for removal.

Step 3 - Replace the Switch

Examine the lid switch. Some switches are attached to electrical sensors using clamps; others are attached with small bolts. Loosen clamps or screws and remove the old switch. Replace with the new switch and tighten clamps or screws.

Step 4 - Replace the Lid

Washing machine

Replace the machine lid. If the lid required sliding and lifting, replace it in the reverse order that it was removed.

Step 5 - Replace Remaining Hardware

Replace screws and bolts to refasten the lid of the machine.

Step 6 - Test the Machine

Plug the machine in and test the function by starting it on different cycles.