Washing machines have come a long way in terms of technology. They have made life much easier, to say the least. But one of the most annoying things is when your washer is facing issues and you don’t know the reason behind it or what to do about it.
This is especially irritating when you have recently bought a new washer and it is facing some issues. One of the issues I recently encountered was when my washer was getting stuck on sensing mode.
So I had to go digging. Why exactly is my kenmore washer stuck on sensing?!
I have found that some of the most common reasons for a Kenmore Washer getting stuck on Sensing Mode and not moving to the Wash Cycle can be
- issues with the water inlet valve (Inlet Valve is in the OFF position)
- problems regarding the shift actuator
- issues with the control board
- loose fittings
- wiring issues or corrosion
No need to be intimidated, I’ll walk you through each of these issues and what to do in case you are facing any of them. Let’s dive right in…
What Is The Sensing Cycle?
To start, let’s understand what the sensing mode or sensing cycle actually means. The first step to solve any problem is to understand the actual problem.
Kenmore washers usually have an auto sensing mode which takes place before the actual washing as a method of calculating the amount of water to be used for this particular load.
Whenever you put in the laundry in the washer, usually the basket will test whether the lock on the door is solid or not.
After this step, the machine usually begins the sensing mode by spinning the load a few times to check the amount of clothes present in the basket while sometimes also adding water slowly until the machine senses that there is a correct amount of water present in the basket.
How Long Does the Kenmore Washer Sensing Take?
The entire process including adding of water to the load while determining the correct amount can take anywhere from 4-5 minutes to 10-15 minutes depending on the model and the amount of load.
The water addition process usually begins after a couple of minutes of starting the washer.
5 Reasons Your Kenmore Washer Is Stuck In Sensing
There are usually five common reasons for the washer to be stuck on sensing mode. Luckily =, most of these are easy fixes!
Issues With The Water Inlet Valve
As the name suggests, this part is responsible for the flow of hot and cold water into the washer. Any issues with this can lead to the water not being filled with the right amount of water or in some circumstances not have any water at all.
The usual reasons for any fault with the water inlet valve can be blockage in the filter of the valve because of heavy or hard water (calcium carbonate deposits).
One way to check for this is to disconnect the washer from the power source and checking the filter screens using a flashlight after unscrewing the supply hoses.
This is a very easy fix but you have to make sure you have the correct parts for your specific Kenmore washer.
How to check for calcium deposits:
- Disconnect the washing machine from the power supply
- Turn off the cold and hot water supply
- Once both are off, unscrew the supply hoses from the washer using pliers (notte: water will leak at this point, have a bucket of towels handy)
- Check the filter screens
- Look for any debris that has accumulated on the filter screens inside the water inlet valve
- Carefully clean out any debris inside on both screens. Be careful not to damage them as they cannot be replaced
If you can’t find any blockages or calcium buildup present, you will need to test the solenoids inside the water inlet valve using a multimeter.
How to test the solenoids:
- Remove either the front or back access panel (this depends on your model of Kenmore washer)
- From here, you should be able to see the valve
- There will be two wires on the solenoid that need to be disconnected (note where they go!)
- Set the multimeter to ‘OHM X1’ to test for continuity
- Connect a probe to each terminal
- The reading will then show some resistance. If the reading is zero or infinity, the solenoid on the inlet valve has burned out
- Test both solenoids separately. If either one is faulty you;’ll have to replace the water inlet valve
Problems With The Motor Shift Actuator
This issue is usually present in the top load Kenmore washer models. A motor shift actuator is responsible for changing the cycles between washing and spinning.
One of the ways to identify if there is some issue with this component is to look for the ‘lid locking’ light which can start to blink. If this occurs there might be some issue with the shift actuator.
If there is a scenario when the actuator hasn’t been able to shift the transmission from spin to wash, then the control board will keep trying to fix this problem. this problem can occur either due to some mechanical issue or some electrical failure.
Another way to confirm that this is the issue behind the washer being stuck on sensing mode is to go to the diagnostic mode of the washer.
Look for the error code which shows up, it should be corresponding to the shift actuator.
Failure Of The Main Control Board
This is one of the rare reasons for the washer being stuck on sensing board.
If this happens then the washer will stop responding to any commands, this can happen due to loose wiring, software issues or any other electrical reasons.
If this is the case, you will have to replace the control board entirely.
Loose Wiring or Fitting Issues
One of the most common reasons for this problem is the wiring of the washer being loose in some places.
This can usually happen in case you have moved the washer recently or if some mouse or rodent has chewed off or accidentally bumped into one of the wires in the back (happens more often than you’d think!).
The best method to pin point this problem would be to look around the back of the washer to check if any wire is hanging or loose.
You should also check the basket door if it is fitting properly or not.
Corrosion or Damage
If the washer you have been using is quite old or has seen its fair share of usage, then it can result in corrosion or damage to some of the connectors or plugs in the machine.
Usually machines involving regular water flow can lead to corrosion if there is some leakage nearby.
How To Fix Your Kenmore Washer When Stuck In Sensing?
The first thing you should do is use the diagnostic function of the washer, then check the error code on the manual to pin point the exact issue.
If this doesn’t work then I would suggest calling for a professional to help diagnose and fix the issues.
If after the diagnostic cycle any one of the above issues appear then there are some steps which you can take to try fixing it yourself.
In case there is a blockage in the water inlet valve, then you can try to carefully clean the filter to let the flow resume (as explained above) as the replacement can be pretty expensive.
Although be careful here, if your product is still under warranty then I would definitely recommend calling for professional help.
In case of loose wiring or any other loose fitting, for example if there is an issue with the door, then there is no options but to ask for a replacement from the service centre.
The same reasoning applies to any control board issues as well.
You can also try resetting the Kenmore Washer to see if it solves the issue. Sometimes if there is some software issue then a simple reset will do the trick.
How Do You Reset The Sensor On A Kenmore Washing Machine?
The process might differ from model to model, so if you are not sure, you should take a look at the user manual which came with your model or just search for it on the official website.
But there are usually two ways of resetting the system. Don’t worry! Both of them are pretty easy.
The first method is to switch off the washer and unplugging it from the power source completely.
Ideally you should wait for a good few minutes before plugging it back and restarting the machine. This should do the trick for a simple reset.
The second method is also equally simple, all you have to do is push the stop button a couple of times and then push the power button.
After this you need to select any wash cycle, I would recommend ‘normal’, and at the end push the start option. After this all you need to do is restart the washer.
If even after this the problem doesn’t get solved, I would recommend contacting the official service centre or the company.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It can be a real headache trying to solve some issue which your washer is facing and no professional help is available at the moment.
During these situations you don’t want to do anything which might further ruin your washer.
It’s important to have all the doubts clear in your mind before you do anything. Let’s take a look at some of the most common queries that people have related to this issue.
Does Kenmore Washer Dryer Have A Reset Button?
Kenmore washers don’t have a direct reset button per se but there are ways to reset them through the start and stop buttons.
How Can You Reset A Kenmore Washer Sensor?
As I mentioned, the two easiest methods are to either unplug the machine and switch it back on after a couple of minutes or press the stop button a couple of times before running a cycle and pushing the start button again.
How Do I Know If My Shift Actuator is Bad?
Some of the most common signs of a faulty shift actuator is excessive grinding noise before the actual washing cycle begins or a slow tub and agitator.
One way to further find out is to run a diagnostic tool if there is an issue and check the error code with the company.
Is There A Difference Between Precise Fill and Auto Sensing?
These two terms are often used interchangeably with each other, precise fill is basically when a washer is determining the exact amount of water to be used with each load.