Why Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing (13 Reasons Fixed!)

You expect your Whirlpool washer to stay in sensing mode for 2-3 minutes. But once it goes past 5 minutes, you have to worry about your machine. So, is your Whirlpool washer stuck on sensing and cannot explain or fix it?

Your Whirlpool washer won’t go past sensing due to a clogged drain, faulty cable or timer, electric failure, shut valve, load imbalance, or failing inlet valve. Other reasons include wrong setting or washer temperature, a defective sensor, shift actuator or drive motor, or a dying control board.

Interestingly, some issues lean more towards the Whirlpool Duet while others are common on the Whirlpool Cabrio. On that note, I’ll categorize them to help you identify the cause depending on the kind of Whirlpool washer you have.   

More importantly, we’ll discuss what you should do to unstuck the washer and how you can run a diagnostic in case you cannot find fault with your Whirlpool washer.


You don’t have to try fixing your Whirlpool washer if it’s brand new and under warranty. Just call Whirlpool and explain your issue, and they’ll pick it from there.

But if your machine is old and out of warranty, you can try fixes in this guide.

Let’s get started.

Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing

In a rush? See a summary of the 13 possible reasons your Whirlpool washing machine won’t go past sensing mode.

Quick Troubleshooting Guide for A Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing

 Possible Reason Fix 
1.Clogged drainClean your washer’s drain pump and supply line
2.Faulty (burnt/broken) cable Replace the faulty cable
3.Faulty timer Replace the timer if faulty
4.Electric failureTest the control board for over-voltage and replace it if defective
5.Shut valveOpen both the cold and hot water valves properly
6.Load imbalanceSpread the laundry load evenly but don’t overload
7.Faulty inlet valveTest the inlet valve for continuity and replace it if faulty 
8.Wrong setting Reset and restart your washer
9.Wrong washer temperatureTry a different temperature before restarting the washer
10.Faulty sensor Reset the sensor but if that doesn’t work, replace it
11.Failed shift actuatorReplace the shift actuator if it’s faulty
12.Failed drive motorGet a new drive motor if the old one cannot spin the washer
13.Dying control boardReplace the dying control board

So, Why Is My Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing?

Your Whirlpool washer is stuck in sensing mode because something is malfunctioning. The drain, cable, valves, timer, sensor, shift actuator, drive motor, and control board are parts to look at.

You also cannot overlook issues like an electric failure, load imbalance, and wrong setting.

Let’s explore all these reasons further, depending on the type of Whirlpool washing machine that you have. 

Here we go!

Whirlpool Duet Washer Stuck On Sensing

1. Clogged Drain

Your Whirlpool washer may fail to go past the sensing mode if the drain is clogged. You must check the drain pump and supply line for blocking and unclog them.


You should clean your drain pump if dirt-clogged and try unblocking the water supply line if it has the same challenge. If the drain pump is faulty, replace it.

2. Faulty Cable 

A burnt or broken cable could be why your whirlpool washing machine cannot go past sensing. The washer cable should pass signals properly for the washer to move from one cycle to another. That’s not possible if the cable is faulty.


Test the cable for fault using a multimeter and replace it if faulty. Also, replace it if burnt or broken.

3. Faulty Timer 

If your timer cannot detect any signal because it’s faulty, your washer won’t move to the next cycle. So, test it using a multimeter to see if it’s defective.

Whirlpool Cabrio Washer Stuck On Sensing


Replace the timer if it’s faulty.

4. Electric Failure

Your Whirlpool washer may remain on sensing mode if there’s an electrical fault. Ordinarily, the washer will display an electric fault error, but you can run a diagnostic to view it if it doesn’t.

Overall, if the voltage on the control board is over 120v, the washer may stay on sensing mode.


Use a multimeter to measure the amount of voltage passing through the control board. If it’s above 120v on p1-3-p1-5, replace the control board.

Whirlpool Cabrio Washer Stuck On Sensing

In addition to the clogged drain (discussed earlier), your Whirlpool Cabrio washer won’t go past sensing mode for any of these reasons.

5. Shut Water Valve 

If either the cold or hot water valve is shut, the washer sensor may fail to detect the changes when moving to a new cycle. In turn, the washer may stay in sensing mode until you properly open the affected washer valve.


Ensure you open both the cold and the hot water valves not to confuse the sensors. While at it, ensure you’ve enough water.

6. Load Imbalance 

Your whirlpool washer may refuse to move beyond the sensing cycle if the load is not well balanced or too much. So, you should look at your laundry load to see if it spins. If it doesn’t, then that’s the problem.


Double-check your laundry load to ensure it’s even and the correct size (not overfilled). If the laundry overloads the washer, reduce it and spread it evenly.

7. Faulty Inlet Valve 

You want your washer inlet valve to open fully to control water flow into your Whirlpool washer properly. If it is clogged, which is likely to happen over time, your washer won’t fill up with water, and the water sensor won’t have anything to sense.

So, your Whirlpool washer will stay in sensing mode.


Use a multimeter to test your water inlet valve for continuity. If it doesn’t show continuity or looks clogged, replace the inlet valve.

Whirlpool Duet Washer Stuck On Sensing

8. Wrong Setting (Washer Confusion)

Your Whirlpool washer quickly gets confused when you pick the wrong setting or do not select anything. If that happens, the washer may remain on the sensing mode until you choose the right setting.

Sometimes, you need to reset the washer to get it into the right gear and clear the error code.


Reset the washer if the problem is due to an incorrect setting, and here are your options:

Option 1 – Power Cut Off

Unplug your Whirlpool washer from the power for 3-5 minutes. Plug it back and power the machine on. If that doesn’t work, try unplugging it for 15-20 minutes and then re-plug and restart it.

Option 2 – Cabrio Reset

If you have a Whirlpool Cabrio, consider resetting it using these steps:

  • Press’ pause/cancel’ on the display pad to clear any error codes
  • Pick the cycle you want to run and press the ‘start’ switch
  • If the washer doesn’t reset, unplug it for 5 minutes
  • Then power it back, pick a cycle, and select ‘start.’

Option 3 – Recalibration Technique

This washer reset technique requires you to:

  • Power your washing machine off
  • Choose the ‘normal’ setting using the selector dial
  • Turn the selector counter-clockwise (once), clockwise (thrice), counter-clockwise (once), and clockwise (once) in the same order
  • Choose ‘start’ for the calibration to initiate
  • Once all the indicator lights come on, press start-stop simultaneously
  • Turn the selector to light up the wash, rinse, and stop LEDs
  • Unplug the washer for 10 seconds and then switch it on

9. Wrong Washer Temperature

Sometimes, confusion in the wash temperature confuses the washer causing it to stay on the sensing cycle. But unlike most issues, changing the temperature is all it takes to troubleshoot the problem.


Try switching to a different temperature and rerunning the washer depending on your current wash temperature.

Other Reasons Your Whirlpool Washer Is Stuck On Sensing

10. Faulty Sensor 

You cannot overlook the washer sensor, as its role is paramount in moving between cycles. A faulty sensor means the washer cannot move to the next cycle as the control board won’t detect any signal changes.


You can run a diagnosis (see the steps below) to see if the sensor has a fault. If it’s not, consider resetting the sensor using any of the three options shared earlier. However, replace the sensor if it’s faulty and doesn’t work after the Whirlpool washer sensor reset.

Whirlpool Washer Sensor Reset

11. Faulty Shift Actuator

The shift actuator comes in handy for your Whirlpool washer when it comes to switching between spin mode and wash mode.

If it’s faulty, your washer will likely stay in one cycle. It won’t be able to move to the next cycle and may remain in the sensing mode. 


Before you can rule out that the shift actuator is faulty, run a diagnostic on your washer. If the error code indicates that the shift actuator is defective, replace it.

12. Malfunctioning Drive Motor

Your washing machine’s drive motor employs electricity to spin the drum. If faulty, the washer won’t spin and may not move to the next cycle. That may happen due to wear or electrical damage.


Check the drive motor to see if it’s moving. If not, it’s likely to be faulty, and the only fix for it is a replacement.

13. Failed Control Board

Lastly, you should consider that your control board is failing if none of the other components is faulty. But before jumping to a conclusion, run a diagnostic (using the steps below) to see if the error code relates to a failing control board.


Replace it once you confirm that your washer’s control board is faulty.

Can’t Find the Fault? Try Entering Your Whirlpool washer into Diagnostic Mode

So, you cannot find the fault in your whirlpool washer? If so, try entering it into the diagnostic mode to see the error code. 

Here’s how to run a diagnostic on a Whirlpool washer:

  • Locate the big dial and turn it 360 degree
  • Rotate it anticlockwise (once), clockwise (thrice), anticlockwise (once), and clockwise (once) in the same order – ½ second between the clicks
  • Wait for the dials to flash and then rotate the knob to get to the ‘SPIN’ cycle
  • Now press ‘START’ to enter your washer into diagnostic (or self-test)
  • Wait for 3-5 minutes for the self-test to complete to see the error code
  • You can then turn to your washer service manual to see what the error code means and the suggested solutions.

How can you troubleshoot and fix a dead capacitor issue?

To troubleshoot and fix a dead capacitor issue in a washing machine, follow these steps:

1. Identify the problem: If your washer does not start or complete the sensing process, a dead capacitor could be the culprit.

2. Safety precautions: Ensure that the washing machine is disconnected from the power source before attempting any repairs.

3. Accessing the capacitor: Locate the capacitor, which is typically found near the motor. Consult the user manual or look for online resources specific to your washing machine model for guidance.

4. Inspect the capacitor: Check the physical condition of the capacitor. Look for signs of bulging, leaking, or any other visible damage. If the capacitor appears damaged, it is likely the cause of the problem.

5. Testing the capacitor: Use a multimeter to check the continuity of the capacitor. Set the multimeter to the capacitance testing function and touch the probe leads to the appropriate terminals. If the multimeter reading shows zero or significantly lower than the capacitor’s rated capacitance, it is faulty and needs to be replaced.

6. Replacing the capacitor: Once you have confirmed the capacitor is dead, disconnect it from the wiring harness. Take note of its position and orientation for proper placement of the new capacitor. Purchase a compatible replacement capacitor from a reputable supplier or the manufacturer.

7. Installation: Align the new capacitor correctly, ensuring the polarity is matched. Reconnect the wiring harness, taking care to connect each wire to the corresponding terminal. Double-check all connections to ensure they are secure.

8. Final checks: Before powering on the washing machine, carefully inspect the surrounding area to ensure there are no loose objects or tools. Reconnect the power supply, and run a test cycle to verify that the capacitor replacement resolved the issue.

Note: If the motor has additional issues such as worn brushes, blockages, or faulty connections, addressing these problems may also be necessary. However, if the motor has severe damage like damaged windings, seized bearings, or is entirely worn-out, replacing the motor may be the only viable solution. In such cases, it is recommended to seek professional assistance or contact the manufacturer for further guidance.

How can you troubleshoot motor problems?

To troubleshoot motor problems in a washer, there are several steps you can follow:

1. Observe the tub movement: If there is no tub movement after pressing the start button, it can indicate a problem with the motor.

2. Inspect the motor: Check for loose or damaged connections, as well as seized bearings, worn brushes, overheating, a bad capacitor, or worn-out motor couplers. These issues can contribute to motor problems.

3. Perform visual inspection: Look for any visible signs of damage, loose wires, or burning smells.

4. Measure resistance across motor windings: Using a multimeter, measure the resistance across motor windings. This can help determine if there are any issues with the electrical continuity of the motor.

5. Test the motor bearings: Spin the motor shaft manually to check if the bearings are functioning properly. If there is any resistance or roughness, it could indicate seized or damaged bearings.

Based on the findings from these troubleshooting steps, the appropriate solution can be determined:

– If the issue is due to worn brushes, blockage, or faulty connections, these problems can typically be repaired.

– However, if there are damaged windings, seized bearings, or a worn-out motor, it will be necessary to replace the motor.

Remember, safety is paramount when working with electrical devices. Always ensure the power is turned off and follow manufacturer instructions or seek professional assistance if needed.

What are some common problems with the motor in a washer?

The motor in a washer can experience various problems that can lead to the appliance getting stuck on sensing mode. One common issue is loose or damaged connections, which can disrupt the proper functioning of the motor. Another problem that may occur is seized bearings, where the rotational movement of the motor becomes compromised. Worn brushes are another common culprit that can cause issues with the motor, resulting in the washer getting stuck on sensing.

Overheating is yet another problem that can affect the motor in a washer. Excessive heat can cause damage to the motor and prevent it from operating correctly. A bad capacitor, which helps to regulate the motor’s electrical charge, can also lead to malfunctioning and the washer getting stuck on sensing.

Motor couplers, which connect the motor to the drum, can wear out over time and cause the motor to fail. This can result in the washer being unable to move the drum, which is necessary for determining the weight of the load and the appropriate amount of water to add.

It is worth noting that some motor issues are repairable. Problems with worn brushes, blockages, or faulty connections can often be fixed. However, if the motor has damaged windings, seized bearings, or is completely worn out, it will need to be replaced.

How can you identify control board problems in a washer?

To identify control board problems in a washer, there are specific steps you can take. Begin by checking for any error codes related to the control board. These codes can provide valuable information about potential issues.

Next, conduct a visual inspection of the control board. Look for any blown capacitors, burn marks, or loose connections. These can be visible signs of a control board problem.

To further diagnose the issue, utilize a multimeter. With this device, you can test for continuity across various components such as fuses, relays, and capacitors. Inconsistent continuity readings might indicate a fault within the control board.

By following these steps, you can effectively identify control board problems in a washer and begin troubleshooting accordingly.

How can you troubleshoot water inlet valve issues?

To troubleshoot water inlet valve issues, you can follow a step-by-step approach:

1. Begin by visually inspecting the water flow during the sensing phase. Check if the water appears normal or if there are any obstructions or restrictions.

2. Run the washer in diagnostic mode if available. Look out for any error codes displayed on the screen that could indicate a problem with the water inlet valves.

3. Listen closely for any hissing sounds coming from the water inlet valves. This could indicate that the solenoids, which control the valve operation, are experiencing difficulties.

4. Ensure that your home’s water supply has adequate pressure. Low water pressure can impact the proper functioning of the water inlet valves. Also, make sure that the water valves supplying the washer are fully open.

5. Inspect the hoses connected to the water inlet valves for any twisting, kinks, or other forms of damage. These issues can restrict the water flow and affect the performance of the valves.

6. Check the washer’s display or control panel for any error codes specifically related to the water inlet valve. These codes can offer insights into the specific problem.

7. Physically examine the water inlet valves for any cracks, leaks, or general damage. If you notice any of these issues, it is likely that a replacement is necessary.

8. Use a multimeter, set to the appropriate range, to test the resistance on the solenoid terminals of the water inlet valves. Abnormal readings may indicate a malfunctioning solenoid and the need for a replacement.

By thoroughly following these steps, you can effectively troubleshoot water inlet valve issues and identify any necessary repairs or replacements.

What are some common problems with water inlet valves in a washer?

Common problems that can occur with water inlet valves in a washer include malfunctioning valves that fail to allow the correct amount of water as instructed by the control board. Some specific issues that may arise include obstructions or blockages within the valves, loose connections leading to poor functionality, damaged wiring causing electrical issues, faulty solenoids which control the valve’s opening and closing, and valves that simply do not open properly. These problems can result in inadequate water flow or complete failure of the water inlet valves, affecting the washer’s performance and potentially hindering the cleaning process.

What is sensing in a Whirlpool washer?

In a Whirlpool washer, the sensing function plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate settings for each load. When you close the lid and press the start button, the washer enters into sensing mode. This process begins with the lid locking, accompanied by a distinctive clicking sound. The washer then initiates slight movements of the basket. Following that, the lid unlocks and locks again. To assess the load, the washer performs short, slow spins for a duration of 2-3 minutes. Furthermore, water is gradually added to the load during this stage of sensing.

The sensing process in a Whirlpool washer involves several integral components and sensors. These components work together to gauge the weight of the load and determine the precise amount of water required. By accurately assessing the load weight, the washer ensures optimal water usage, avoiding wastage and promoting efficient operation. This intelligent sensing system not only contributes to the overall performance of the washer but also helps to maintain the quality of your fabrics by providing them with the appropriate amount of water for the washing process.

Closing Remarks On Whirlpool Washer Stuck On Sensing!

Generally, it’s worth checking your washer setting, drains, valve, and components like the sensor, timer, drive motor, and control board for faults when your Whirlpool washer won’t go past sensing.

Other culprits are load imbalance, electric failure, wrong washer temperature, and burnt cable.

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