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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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