How to Install a Washing Machine Actuator

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When your washing machine’s actuator switch is damaged, the washer will not work at all. The actuator switch tells the washer that the lid is closed and it can begin the washing process. When the switch malfunctions, the washing machine cannot work properly. Fortunately, replacement actuator switches are available for a DIY repair. However, installing a new actuator switch may void your washing machine’s warranty. Always consult the warranty before beginning any repairs on the washing machine yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • New actuator-switch assembly
  • Disconnect the washer’s power outlet from the wall to prevent the possibility of an electrical shock.

  • Remove the screws located at both ends of the front control panel. Some make and model of washers have the screws located at the back of the front panel or covered with plastic end caps at each end of the panel. If your washer secures the front panel with clips instead of screws, insert a putty knife between the control panel and lid, and push up.

  • Grasp both ends of the panel with your hands and pull out and up. Unplug the wire connector by applying pressure to the clip and pulling up.

  • Insert a flathead screwdriver in the hole securing the snap clip -- and push back to remove the snap clip. Repeat this process on the second snap clip.

  • Grasp the washer cabinet with your hands and tilt it forward, while sliding it toward you and away from the washer. Place the washer cabinet face down on a blanket.

  • Unscrew the ground screw inside the empty washer cabinet. Remove the two mounting screws. Use a flathead screwdriver to unsnap the wire harness on the two metal retainers.

  • Squeeze the old actuator switch with a pair of pliers to remove it from the washer cabinet. Insert the new actuator switch into place and secure the wire harness to the cabinet with the two metal retainers.

  • Place the main switch in position so it lines up with the screw holes near the main opening. Secure in place with the two mounting screws. Reattach the grounding wire with the ground screw. Replace the washer cabinet and reassemble.

  • Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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