Why is My Craftsman Shopvac Not Working?


A Craftsman shopvac is designed to pick up debris that a traditional vacuum cleaner would balk at. Shopvacs are able to suction both wet and dry materials, which is why they are commonly found in garages and workshops throughout the world. While Craftsman shopvacs are designed to withstand continual use, if you find your shopvac isn’t working there are several steps you may take to troubleshoot this issue.

Check the Outlet

  • If you’ve noticed your Craftsman shopvac isn’t working, check the wall outlet the shopvac is plugged into. Make sure the outlet is working by plugging in another device. If the device doesn’t work, make sure the wall outlet is activated as some outlets require a wall switch to be turned to the “on” position. If the wall switch is in the “on” position, you may have a malfunctioning wall outlet. If this is the case, plug the shopvac into another wall outlet.

Check the Outlet Breaker

  • Review the circuit breaker box, and make sure all the breakers are in the “on” position. If a breaker is in the “off” position it is possible the breaker was tripped. Flip the breaker to the “on” position, and plug in the shopvac. If the shopvac still does not work then the issue may be with the actual shopvac and not the wall outlets.

Check the Shopvac Cord

  • Review the cord extending from the shopvac motor. While this cord is designed to resist stripping or damage, over time the cord may become twisted and the internal wires damaged. Make sure the shopvac is disconnected from a wall outlet, and inspect the entire length of the cord. Look for tears in the cord and feel the cord for small bumps, which will inform you if the internal wiring has been damaged. Check the connection from the cord into the motor. Make sure the cord does not show signs of damage. If the cord is damaged, you will need to order a new head piece from Craftsman.

Defective Motor

  • Once you have ensured the wall outlet and shopvac cord are in proper working condition, and the shopvac still will not start, the actual motor is most likely defective. To determine if the motor is factory defective or if the motor was damaged, remove the lid and review the filter. According to Craftsman, the shopvac should never be used unless there is a filter. If there is no filter in the shopvac, then the motor was more than likely damaged during operation. If the filter is in place, and it appears to be in proper working condition, the motor is factory defective. Contact Craftsman, and request a new motor.

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