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How To Tell if Washing Machine Control Board Is Bad

How To Tell If Washing Machine Control Board Is Bad

Washing machines have become impressively sophisticated these days. Able to perform various functions, today’s washing machines let you fine-tune settings to achieve a perfect wash cycle for your family.

Even better, all of these functions are available to you at the press of a few buttons.

But what happens when that intricate control board goes haywire? Because it gets quite a lot of interaction, a washing machine’s control board is particularly prone to damage.

But how can you tell if the control panel is broken and not something else? Here’s a quick guide.

  • A control board may become worn and deteriorate over time, causing malfunction and errors.
  • A broken control board may turn your machine on and off.
  • The settings of your washing machine may also change without you having to press any buttons.
  • Flickering and blinking lights on the control panel also indicate problems with the board.
  • For some washing machines, it’s possible to see an error code on display indicating a malfunctioning control board.

A washing machine’s control panel typically uses a plastic panel with electric circuitry underneath. You interact with the plastic panel, which also showcases symbols and settings to make using your washing machine a little more intuitive.

Over time, the constant pressing and exposure to moisture can damage a washing machine control board, causing it to malfunction or to stop working entirely.

Signs That Your Washing Machine Control Board Is Broken

How do you know that the problem is your control board and not the motor, pump, or wiring?

While some of these parts overlap in terms of the symptoms they present when damaged, there are specific signs that point more specifically to a damaged control board.

1. Washer Won’t Turn On

Washer Won’t Turn On

One marker of a broken control board is that it won’t allow you to turn on your washing machine even when it’s plugged in.

Check if your circuit breaker has been tripped and your washing machine is properly and securely plugged into the outlet.

If all is well on the electricity front, a damaged control board should be your next bet.

2. Settings Change on Their Own

Settings Change On Their Own

So maybe your washing machine turns on just fine. But as soon as you do, it starts changing the settings and starting cycles without you having to push any buttons.

These ‘phantom button presses’ result from a faulty control board. Some of the buttons underneath the plastic panel may have become worn, causing them to touch, which the machine registers as a press.

3. Sudden Shut Off

Sudden Shut Off

Another common sign of a broken control board is that the machine might suddenly turn off after you turn it on.

Again, this could have something to do with the circuitry under the plastic button panel. If the ON/OFF button is particularly worn (and it is, in most cases), the broken board can turn the machine off without you having to press anything.

4. Blinking Lights

Blinking Lights

Most washing machines incorporate several different lights on the control board to make using your machine more visual and intuitive.

But because these lights are directly connected to wires just underneath the plastic control panel, any damage sustained by the control board can trickle down into the lighting wires.

This can cause erratic flashing and blinking whether or not you’re pressing any buttons.

5. Error Code on Display

Error Code Display

Depending on your specific washing machine model, it could have a dedicated error code just for a damaged control board. So when you turn it on, the machine will show the specific error that pertains to issues with the control board.

When this shows, it’s possible that you won’t be able to use your washing machine until the problem is resolved.

Check your manual for the list of error codes your washing machine is programmed to display.

There’s No DIY Fix

When it comes to controlling board repairs, there’s no DIY fix. Although you might want to try restarting your washing machine, a physically damaged board will require much more than that.

See that you call a professional to repair or replace your control board. Attempting DIY repairs could exacerbate the problem and void your washing machine’s warranty.


The control board lets you interact with your washing machine, allowing you to fine-tune its settings to achieve a wash that matches your preferences.

You may have to ask a professional to repair it if it’s damaged. But before you call a pro, see that you check the signs and make sure you’re dealing with a broken control board and not a minor malfunction that you can resolve on your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Washing Machine Control Board?

The replacement part itself could cost between $99 to $250. In addition, the labor is a separate charge and may increase the total cost of the job to $400 (replacement parts included.)

How Do You Reset a Washing Machine’s Circuit Board?

You can try a hard reset to resolve the issue before you call a professional. But first, turn off the power and unplug the machine for up to a minute.

Then plug it back in and turn it on to see if the buttons on the control board are working again.

You can also try to use the dedicated reset function on your machine (if it has one.) Finally, read the manual to find instructions on restarting your unit.

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