How to Diagnose Microwave Oven Problems

Written by ehow home & garden editor
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Once you become dependent on such a timesaving appliance, you'll need to know how to fix common problems. Avoid opening the microwave cabinet; doing so can be dangerous, and many manufacturers will void your warranty. See also How to Get Rid of Microwave Smells.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

    Microwave doesn't activate

  1. 1

    Make sure microwave is plugged in properly.

  2. 2

    Check that door closes completely and its latch is aligned.

  3. 3

    Check that interlock switch in door works properly (required for activating microwave).

  4. 4

    Replace a blown fuse if it's accessible, or contact a service technician.

    Carousel won't turn

  1. 1

    Inspect plastic coupling beneath tray.

  2. 2

    Check ring and roller assembly for misalignment or debris.

  3. 3

    Make sure that tray is sitting properly on turning mechanism.

  4. 4

    If carousel motor is broken, contact a service technician.

    You see lightning inside the oven chamber

  1. 1

    Make sure there's no aluminum foil or metal trim on dishware.

  2. 2

    Food residue or burned spots can cause electrical arcing. Clean chamber thoroughly. Replace wave-guide cover if burned or carbonized.

  3. 3

    Sand away burn spots, and smooth rough metal edges.

  4. 4

    Touch up spots with microwave interior paint if necessary.

  5. 5

    If chamber has burn holes, contact a service technician.

    Touch pad does not work or works erratically

  1. 1

    If touch pad has gotten wet, then allow to dry for several days. Avoid spraying cleaning liquid near touch pad.

  2. 2

    Check for insect infestation. Insects (cockroaches most frequently) will appear under clear surface of touch pad or under readout window; they like the warmth of the circuit boards.

  3. 3

    Place window mesh over vent to keep insects out.

    Microwave activates but won't heat food

  1. 1

    If you hear an unusual buzzing noise, the magnetron (the component that actually generates the microwaves) or other electronic module may be broken. This is not easily fixed; contact a service technician.

Tips and warnings

  • Microwave ovens are high in voltage and can seriously shock you, even after you've unplugged them. Do not open the microwave cabinet or other sealed areas; contact a service technician or consider buying a new microwave oven.

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