I have a Kenmore 796-4116 front load washing machine. It's <2 years old. It powers on and there are no error codes or indicators of trouble on the display.

I turn the knob to select a wash cycle and press Start/Pause to begin but it never starts the cycle. The door latches as it always has and there are no broken parts on the door or on the machine where the latch goes. I see no obvious physical damage of any kind anywhere on the machine.

I have power cycled the machine, unplugged and replugged from the wall. The manual's troubleshooting section does not have an entry for this issue. The chime works and I can turn the knob to designate any of the wash cycles but none of them will start.

  • Does it think it starts? Meaning does it start the timer and count down. Does it do anything other than lock the door, and how long after it locks the door, does it unlock the door. Could be that the door sensor is not working right, or lock sensor. Could be any number of things. It should give an error code of some sort to indicate what it failed to do.
    – Jeff Cates
    Feb 1, 2017 at 21:06
  • The door does not lock so the cycle never begins, the timer does not count down. The door latches shut but pressing the start button does not start the cycle which should then lock the door.
    – Pangea
    Feb 2, 2017 at 5:49
  • Without seeing the machine, I would guess the first place to look is the door latch switch and lock mechanism. It sounds like it doesn't think the door is shut, therefore not allowing it to start a cycle.
    – Jeff Cates
    Feb 2, 2017 at 23:09
  • Door Lock Motor and Switch Assembly If the washer door won't lock the lock and switch assembly might be defective. This is a very common problem. The lock and switch assembly can fail either mechanically or electrically. Test any electrical switches with an Ohm meter for continuity. The switches should have continuity according to their design. Main Control Board If the washer door won't lock, the problem might be the main control board. This is not common. Normally the problem is with the lock mechanism.
    – Jeff Cates
    Feb 2, 2017 at 23:13
  • Also, can you change any of the settings? Load size, water temp, wash type? If none of that will change, it could be the main control board. You might be able to find a machine reset procedure to reset it back to manufacturer defaults. This is one that may work: Press and hold in the select and start/pause buttons together until def appears in the window. That will reset the machine to the factory settings.
    – Jeff Cates
    Feb 2, 2017 at 23:17

3 Answers 3


It's possible the door switch has gone bad. Next possible is a bad panel. My money is on the door switch. Occasionally slamming the door will make it work once or twice. If this works, it's definitely the door switch. There are videos to show how to replace the switch. Be sure to unplug the machine before attempting any repairs !


Kenmore h.e. top-load washer- about seven years old- Mine would not start and when turned off the door lock light would not turn off but the door was still unlocked...Was about to remove the door lock mechanism but unplugged the machine until the door lock light turned off- plugged back the washer in again and it rebooted itself and is working fine- hope this might help anyone dealing with a similar scenario. You might want to try it before tearing into the machine. ( this is the first time i have ever had a problem of any sort with this machine ) Good Luck!

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know the details of contributing here. Aug 9, 2020 at 16:21

This just happened to me - a 10-yr old Sears Kenmore.... was thinking about throwing in the towel and getting a new one. The control panel was lit up and working - you could select any cycle but when I hit the "start" button I would get a quick error signal "beep beep beep beep" but no error code (F22, F23 etc...). I noticed that the clicking sound made when the door latch was locked was not occurring (this is the first thing you should hear after a 2-3 second delay once you hit the start button...). So I found a video on repair-clinc.com that showed how to replace the door locking mechanism ($75.00 part). I simply pulled the locking mechanism out and did a quick "unfasten / refasten" of the three electrical connectors on the locking mechanism and reinstalled it.... IT worked!!!! that simple... It took less than 5 minutes and it saved me $1000.00 I was going to spend on a new on...

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. Aug 12, 2019 at 15:29

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