I decided to dedicate an entire article to address issues with the lid lock feature on new generation Whirlpool top load washers. The lid lock is there for safety reasons. Another reason is to allow higher spin speeds as part of the HE washing process.
There is a learning curve for these new washers, especially if you’ve been using a conventional top load washer for some time. The sounds, actions and features are different. In some cases, very different. One example is the lid lock now incorporated on these washers. Some people hate them, others try to disable them (and ultimately break them!), still others get frustrated and force the lid open (big mistake). Until we all understand that even washers and dryers are moving into the “high tech” arena, we’re going to have to learn how to run these new machines.
The reason for the lid lock in the first place
Granted, the lid lock at times is annoying but it’s an important part of the washing process. A higher spin speed means a much better spin overall. Because of the higher spin speed with the new washers, locking the lid is about safety more than any other reason. I’m sure you agree it’s better to lock the lid instead of creating the possibility of someone losing a finger or worse, by opening the lid during a high speed spin! Another, less talked about reason is cost. With a locking lid, the manufacturer doesn’t need to include a brake to stop the spin when the lid is opened.
The lock can’t be disabled or otherwise bypassed
Unlike other lid locks in the past, this one cannot be jumped or disabled. The lock and strike work together using a magnetic strike and sliding lock. The operation is flawless unless the lid is forced in any way. This will damage the sliding mechanism making the lock useless and the machine inoperable. Here is a few of the more common issues with these locks.
- Strike is stained with rust. This is a direct result of moisture in the lock mechanism. The placement of the lock itself should have been moved, because it sits right below the area exposed to moisture when damp clothes are removed from the washer. When the strike begins to rust, it starts to bulge, making the lid hard to shut.
- Lock jammed due to moisture or slamming the lid closed. If the strike is bulging, it’s likely the lock will be damaged as well. If you can’t close the lid smoothly, check how the strike enters the lock. If it isn’t smooth, the lock and strike should be replaced.
- Lid lock light flashes constantly. Anytime the lid lock light is flashing, it’s an indication that either the machine is still seeing movement of the basket, or the lid lock is broken. In either case, you won’t be able to operate the machine until the lid unlocks and the light goes out.
Reset the flashing light.
Luckily, there is an easy way to unlock the lid (assuming the lock is OK). This works in almost every case barring other malfunctions. With the lid lock light flashing, unplug the machine. Wait 10 seconds or so, then press and hold in the START/PAUSE button while you plug the machine back into the outlet. Hold the button in for about 5 seconds then release. Within about 15 seconds, the lid will unlock.