My Washing Machine Won't Spin and I Smell Rubber

Written by christie gross
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My Washing Machine Won't Spin and I Smell Rubber
Always shut off your washing machine before you inspect it. (Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Although a faulty washing machine might cause you to run out to the store to purchase a new one, odds are the issue is with a minor part that needs replacing. It's not uncommon for washing machine components to break, and when they do, your machine might temporarily stop working. In some cases, a defective part might cause your washer to stop spinning and produce a rubber smell. Before you haul your washing machine to the curb, complete a preliminary inspection to determine whether or not it's salvageable with repair.

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Frozen Pump Pulley

The pump pulley is a mechanism that pumps water in and out of your washer's tub and makes it spin. If it breaks, the tub usually stops spinning or won't fill with water or empty it, and sometimes both. When you turn on your washer and the motor runs, but the machine fails to operate, it's often means something is wrong with the pump pulley system. Refer to your washing machine's manual for instructions on where to locate the pump pulley. Once you've found the pump pulley, manually operate the pulley by moving it in a circular fashion. If it doesn't rotate easily, replace it.

Pump Belt

The pump belt is part of the pump pulley that helps the mechanism rotate and agitates the tub. It's usually made of rubber. If the belt snaps or slips, it prevents the pump pulley system from operating properly, and as a result the tub can't spin. Friction caused by a pump pulley that tries to operate without a functioning belt pump can create a rubber smell. Refer to the washing machine manual for instructions on where to find the pump pulley system. Upon locating it, check to make sure the rubber belt hasn't become loose or snapped. Change out a faulty pump belt for a new one.

Broken Rotation Belts

Washing machines either have one or two rubber belts, depending on the manufacturer, that allow the tub to spin. If either of them breaks or slips, then the tub no longer turns and a rubber smell is sometimes evident, especially right after one breaks. Contact a washing machine repair person to replace the failing belts; most appliance companies sell belts specifically for their appliance brand.

Worn Clutch

Certain washing machine brands, such as General Electric (GE), are equipped with a clutch that controls the tub's spin speed. The tub might not reach its set speed or might stop working altogether when the clutch stops working. Contact a washing machine repair person to change out the damaged clutch.

Broken Lid Switch

Most operational washing machines have a lid switch that prevents someone from opening the lid in midcycle while the washer is spinning to protect against injury. It's located along the interior door frame. The switch can break over time from normal use, and, when it does, the washer generally won't spin as a precaution. The switch should make a clicking sound when the door closes. The machine needs a new switch when you close the washer door and don't hear it snap shut.

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