How does a Washing Machine Brake Work?

by Nick Evans | Last Updated: February 26, 2021

Can you hear your washing machine brake squealing as the cycle comes to a halt? Is your washer moving around when it’s on? This might be the result of a broken washing machine brake. Keep reading to learn how a washing machine brake works.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What is a washing machine brake?
  • What does a washing machine brake do?
  • How does a washing machine brake work?
  • How to check your washing machine brake
  • Cost to replace or fix your washing machine brake
How does a Washing Machine Brake Work

What is a washing machine brake?

The brake is a component of a washing machine that ends the spin cycle. It releases to allow the tub to spin, then brakes once the process is complete.

When a washing machine brake is broken, you may hear it squeal or notice your washer moving before it shuts off.

What does a washing machine brake do?

A washing machine brake stops the tub from spinning when a laundry cycle is complete. Without a functioning brake, the tub would be unstable and would have nothing to stop it from spinning.

How does a washing machine brake work?

Your washing machine runs a few cycles after you’ve loaded your clothes inside and turned it on. 

First, the tub fills with water. Then, the agitator moves your clothes around within the tub to clean them. Once this process is complete, the water drains.

Next comes the spin cycle. This is where the brake comes into play. It releases, allowing the tub to spin the clothes. This wrings the water out so that they don’t come from the machine soaking wet.

Once the spin cycle is over, the brake stops the tub from spinning, and the process repeats once more. The rinse cycle rinses away the last of the soap, and the last spin cycle removes excess soap and water from the clothes.

How to check your washing machine brake

If your washing machine brake is broken or damaged, you may hear it squeal at the end of a cycle. The washer may also move out of place if the brake is causing the tub to stop suddenly.

Unfortunately, the brake isn’t easy to check as it’s typically located at the bottom of your washer. The process can vary depending on the brand and model of your appliance. It’s best to check your manual if you’re unsure about the location of the brake.

Before checking the brake, be sure to unplug your machine and disconnect the water supply. Working on an appliance without disconnecting its power is dangerous and can lead to electrocution.

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Cost to replace or fix your washing machine brake

Replacing a washing machine brake can be costly. Parts range from $50-$200 and the tools required are sold for over $100.

In addition to this, most people cannot fix a washing machine brake on their own. Doing so if you’re inexperienced can be dangerous.

This means you’ll have to pay for the cost of labor, which will depend on what repair service you hire.

Fixing a washing machine break may cost less than replacing it depending on how severe the problem is. However, even simple repairs require taking apart the appliance in order to get to the brake.