Like all washing machines, Kenmore washing machines will not operate when the lid is open. Check out the lid switch mechanism by starting your washer and letting it run for a few minutes. When you open the lid you will notice that the spin cycle or water filling will quickly come to a stop. This is a safety mechanism to prevent overfilling, damage to the machine, and injury to nearby children, pets, or others. Note this article refers to top loading Kenmore washers.


However if your Kenmore washing machine will not spin, will not rinse, or will not drain there may be a problem with the lid switch. There may also be a problem with the washer such as a stuck or broken agitator. However troubleshooting can be hindered by the safety lid switch that stops the washer’s operation when the lid is opened. 


Note that if your Kenmore washing machine will not start at all the problem may be the lid switch in which case you’ll be replacing the lid switch for the Kenmore washer model that you own. Usually you can get a replacement lid switch direct from Kenmore. Otherwise, follow the steps below to bypass washing machine lid switch mechanisms so you can determine what is causing your washer to function improperly.


To begin, unplug the washer and ensure it is off. Take off the screws that hold the top front control panel onto the washer. Some models lack visible screws, instead remove the small plastic cover over each screw to reveal them. Unscrew the screws on the Kenmore washing machine and tilt the front panel cover up and back. If it does not move, use the tip of a screwdriver to remove any plastic clips securing the front control panel cover. Pop off the dials by gently pulling them straight off the washer if there are physical dials. Bypass a Kenmore Washing Machine Lid Switch to TroubleshootCredit: Dave Murr 2010


Once the control panel cover is tilted back you will be able to see the wires and wiring harnesses including the lid switch wiring. Look closely for an off white colored wire harness in the right end section of the controls compartment. 


Use your hands to carefully grasp each end of the wiring harness and gently pull apart until the harness disconnects. Take a small insulated wire piece and strip each end of the wire piece to expose about 1/2 inch of bare wire. Bend the wire piece in a horseshoe shape.


Carefully insert the tips of the bent wire into the two outer contact openings on the section of wiring harness that connects directly to the wires going into the control panel. Be sure not to connect the wire to the harness section that connects to wires running to the lid switch. Use a small amount of electrical tape to insulate the new connection.


Replace the control panel cover and any clips and screws. Plug the Kenmore washing machine back in and turn it on to a normal cycle. Open the lid and watch the washer continue to operate with the lid open! You will be able to clearly see if the problem is the agitator, the water supply, or drainage as the washer attempts to run.


This will now help you troubleshoot a Kenmore washing machine that won’t rinse, drain, spin, or agitate. Remember once you are done troubleshooting to reverse the steps to disable the bypass washing machine lid switch setup you have used.