Why a Washing Machine Will Not Agitate but Will Spin and Drain

Often, a washing machine will not agitate but will spin and drain because of a failed component. The question, however, is, what component? What part of the washer could be defective?

A washer may spin and drain but fail to agitate if the agitator repair kit is damaged. If not, it could be due to a faulty drive block, motor coupling, timer, lid switch, selector switch, transmission, water-level switch, u-joint kit, direction cog, or drive motor.  

So, the agitator process depends on several components; if one fails, the washer won’t stir. So, regardless of the washer brand, you’ve to consider all these components as it’s highly probable that one of them is why your washer won’t agitate. 

I’ll discuss all of them, indicating what might have gone wrong, how it affects the water’s agitation, and how to fix it.

Let’s jump into it!   

washing machine will not agitate but will spin and drain

In haste? Below are quick DIY fixes for your non-agitating washing machine.

How to Quickly Fix a Washing Machine Will Not Agitate But Will Spin and Drain

Probable ReasonRecommended Fix
1.Damaged Agitator Repair KitReplace a damaged agitator repair kit
2.Worn-Out Drive BlockReplace the drive block if it shows signs of wear
3.Broken Motor CouplingReplace the motor coupling if it looks broken
4.Bad Timer Replace the washer’s timer if it won’t show continuity while testing with a multimeter
5.Faulty Lid Switch Test the lid switch’s continuity using a multimeter and replace it if it doesn’t show it
6.Defective Selector SwitchReplace the selector switch if it doesn’t show continuity
7.Failed TransmissionReplace the transmission if the agitator’s input shaft won’t turn when you start the washer
8.Failed Water Level SwitchReplace the water level switch if it doesn’t display any continuity on a multimeter
9.Faulty U-Joint KitConsider getting a new washer as a u-joint kit replacement is often expensive
10.Bad Direction Cogs Replace the direction cogs if they are worn out or missing
11.Failing Drive Motor Consider replacing the drive motor if its noisy or won’t run when you power in the washer

11 Reasons Your Washer Will Not Agitate but Will Spin and Drain

I remember mentioning that the washing machine won’t agitate but will spin and dry due to a failed component. Let’s go through the parts and their fixes now:

1. Damaged Agitator Repair Kit

The agitator repair is probably the most important component regarding the washing machine’s agitation. This kit which features the agitator cam and other parts, directly facilitates the agitation.

Sometimes, however, the agitator repair kit components may break, thus unable to enable the washer to stir. 


Carefully examine the agitator repair kit for damage. You can even try to rotate the agitator manually to see if it’s broken. If it is, replace the entire agitator repair kit. 

washing machine won't agitate or spin

2. Worn Drive Block

The drive block is what connects the agitator and the washer’s transmission. Over time, it wears, but that doesn’t prevent the transmission shaft from moving back and forth. 

So, your washer may still spin. However, the agitator may slightly move, thus unable to agitate the wash load. 


Examine the drive block for wear or damage and replace it if that’s the case. Note that the drive block is sometimes known as the drive bell. 

3. Broken Motor Coupling

While the drive block connects the agitator and the washer’s transmission, the motor coupling connects the transmission with the motor. Over long-term repetitive usage, the motor coupling weakens and breaks. Once that happens, the washer may spin or drain but will not agitate. 


Examine the washer’s motor coupling to note any signs of damage. If any, replace it. 

4. Bad Timer 

The timer directs power to the drive motor to enable it to run. Once faulty, the timer cannot correctly relay power to the motor, and so the engine may malfunction. Sometimes the washer may spin but fail to agitate as a result. 


Using a multimeter, you can test the timer’s continuity to determine if it’s faulty. But first, unplug the washing machine from the power and then touch the timer with the multimeter probes. A negative continuity result means you should replace the washer’s timer. 

5. Faulty Lid Switch

Often overlooked, the lid switch is essential to a washer’s agitation. Its faultiness means the inability to properly lock the washer’s lid if it’s a top loader. 

And as you know, if the washer’s lid won’t shut, the washer may not run. That means no agitation, even though the washer may spin and drain. 


Test the lid switch’s continuity with a multimeter. If it lacks continuity, replace it. 

6. Defective Selector Switch

Since not all washing machines have the selector switch, this is probably the last thing you could consider checking. If you are sure your washing machine contains the switch, you can check it immediately.

The switch controls the washer’s drive motor speed, so you should check if the motor doesn’t run or spins slowly.


Test the selector switch like every other switch using a multimeter. Replace it if it doesn’t show any continuity.

How do you fix a washer that is not agitating

7. Failed Transmission

The transmission is what drives the agitator back and forth to enable the washer to agitate. If it’s faulty, the agitator won’t move. So, your washing machine won’t agitate. The laundry machine, however, may continue spinning and draining. 


The easiest way to examine the transmission for fault is to look at the agitator’s input shaft. If the shaft doesn’t turn, the transmission is bad and thus needs replacing. 

8. Failed Water-Level Switch

The water-level switch, at times known as the pressure switch, is another component that could fail and prevent the washing machine from agitating. 

This switch will fail to detect the water level and signal the drive motor to supply power for agitation if it’s damaged. So, you need to inspect it for damage.


You can tell if you have a damaged water level switch if it fails to show continuity while testing it with a multimeter. Once that’s the case, replace the switch.

9. Faulty U-Joint Kit

The U-joint kit is another provision that enables the washer to agitate. Once it fails, perhaps over time due to heavy washer usage, the washer won’t agitate. The part is, however, hard to diagnose DIY, and you may need an expert’s help. 


Have a washing machine expert check the u-joint kit for faults. Since replacing the kit is often expensive, you may consider replacing the washer. 

10. Bad Direction Cogs

The top loading washer dual action agitator upper part may disengage from the bottom. That happens when the direction cogs which drive the upper part wear out. 

As a result, the agitator cannot move and will make a grinding noise when the machine runs. 


Unplug your washing machine and visually examine the cogs for wear. If they are worn out or missing, replace them.

11. Failed Drive Motor 

A failing drive motor could also be why your washer won’t agitate despite spinning, though weakly. But the drive motor doesn’t fail quickly compared to most of the dryer components on this list. So, it’s essential to check the other parts first. 


To be sure that the drive motor is at fault, confirm that it’s getting power but won’t run or is noisy. If so, the drive motor is faulty, and you should replace it. 

How do you reset the agitator on a washing machine

Washing Machine Won’t Agitate or Spin

If your washing machine won’t agitate or spin, likely, one of these components has failed:

  • Drive belt
  • Drive motor
  • Lid switch
  • Motor coupling
  • Stator assembly
  • Rotor assembly

You’ll need to inspect each of the six components for wear or damage and replace whatever is faulty. If none of the components is defective, consider checking the transmission, door latch, or main control board. 

Maytag Washing Machine Will Not Agitate but Will Spin and Drain

Your Maytag washer may spin and dry but fail to agitate because of a broken agitator. If the agitator is okay, the most likely explanations are a faulty motor coupling, drive block, drive motor, or transmission. 

So, check all these components for wear, and if they are okay, consider that you might have a defective selector, water-level, or lid switch, which you should replace. 

Whirlpool Washing Machine Will Not Agitate But Will Spin

The first thing to check when your Whirlpool washing machine won’t agitate is the agitator. If it’s loose, damaged, or just worn out, you’ll need to replace the agitator repair kit as a whole. 

If the agitator is not the issue, you might have a failing transmission, motor coupling, lid switch, pressure switch, or selector switch. But if you can’t fix the washer, give Whirlpool a call.

GE Washer Will Not Agitate But Will Spin and Drain

GE washing machines will fail to agitate but spin and drain if the agitator is faulty. It could be that the agitator is loose, broken, or just worn out and needs a replacement. 

Remember, however, that a failing transmission, motor coupling, direction cog, u-joint kit, or drive motor could also cause the washer not to agitate. Other issues include a faulty lid, water level, or selector switch.

People Also Ask

1. How Do You Fix a Washer That Is Not Agitating?

You can fix a washer that is not agitating by replacing the agitator if it’s broken or the entire kit. If the agitator is okay, check the drive block, motor, selector switch, door switch, water level switch, timer, and transmission for fault and replace the faulty one. 

2. How Do You Reset the Agitator On a Washing Machine?

You can reset not only the agitator if your washing machine doesn’t agitate but spins and dries; the agitator is loose or noisy or moves slowly. If you have a broken agitator, you’ll need to replace its entire housing. 

Closing Remarks

Now you know why a washing machine will not agitate but will spin and drain. Start with checking the agitator repair kit and replace it if any components are damaged.

If the kit is okay, check the lid switch, water level switch, selector switch, transmission, motor coupling, drive motor, u-joint kit, timer, and direction cog for faults.

Also Read: