Save money by replacing a faulty Kenmore Elite lid switch yourself.

How to Change a Lid Switch on a Kenmore Elite Washer

by Ian Kelly

The Kenmore Elite washer is a sturdy appliance offering years of trouble-free service; however, individual components such as electric motors and switches can wear out after extend use. The lid switch on a top-loading washer is a safety device that prevents the motor from starting when the lid is open. If your washer fails to start or if you have to slam the lid down a couple of times to get it working, the lid switch has failed. If you have basic DIY skills, you can save money by replacing the switch yourself.


Before starting work on your washer, unplug the power cord and move the control panel out of the way. Depending on the year of manufacture, there are two ways of doing this. On some models, the control panel is secured by screws on each side of the panel – either visible or covered by plastic end caps. If your machine has end caps, pull the tops forward to unclip the caps and expose the securing screws. Undo the screws with a Phillips screwdriver and rotate the panel upward and back. Other models are fitted with spring clips instead of screws. Slide a putty knife under the ends of the panel between the control panel and cabinet and lever upward to release the clips before rotating the panel out of the way. Once this is done, unplug the control panel wire connecter by unclipping the locking tab on the front and pulling the plug out of its socket.

Cabinet Removal

Locate the large spring clips on the upper rear corners of the cabinet. Release the clips by sliding a flathead screwdriver into the small square opening in front of the clips and levering the screwdriver handle toward the back of the machine. Unhook the clips and lay them aside. Grasp the rear corners of the cabinet, tilt the cabinet forward, slide it off the frame and lay the cabinet face downward on a large towel to access the lid switch assembly.

Switch Removal

Locate the faulty lid switch on the upper rear inside corner, close to the lid. Undo the screw securing the green ground wire to the cabinet. Go to the front, open the lid and undo the two Phillips lid switch mounting screws. Slide the tip of a flathead screwdriver under the two metal retaining clips securing the lid switch wiring harness to the inside lip of the cabinet and lever both clips from the cabinet. Adjust a pair of channel pliers so that the jaws fit on both sides of the catches securing the lid switch wire connecter to the top of the cabinet. Place the jaws on either side of the connecter, squeeze the plier handles together to flatten the catches and push the lid switch connecter through the mounting hole.

Switch Installation

Insert the new lid switch connecter into its hole from the inside and press firmly inward until the catches snap into place. Position the harness wires under each metal retaining clip in turn and slide the retaining clips onto place on the inside lip of the cabinet. Install the new lid switch by lining it up with the two holes near the lid opening from inside the cabinet. Open the lid, insert the two mounting screws through the top and into the lid switch and tighten the screws securely. Reconnect the green ground wire by screwing it back onto the cabinet.


Position the cabinet in front of the machine, tilt it forward and slide the lower edge under the base frame. Hold the bottom front in place by pushing it inward with your foot. Tilt the back downward and line up the two slots on each rear corner of the cabinet with the tabs protruding upward from the base frame. Lower the back into place and ease the rear panel forward until it matches up and fits snugly against the cabinet. Hook the cabinet retaining spring clips back into their slots on the rear panel, then lower the clips into the front, square openings. Place the tip of the flathead screwdriver on the inner front of the clips and press firmly downward to snap them into place. Plug the control panel wires back into the lid switch connecter and press downward until it clips into place. Rotate the control panel downward and secure it to the top by reversing the steps described earlier under the "Preparation" heading. Reconnect the power cord and push the machine back against the wall. Insert a load of laundry and turn on the appliance on to ensure that the lid switch is working properly.

About the Author

After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand and qualifying as an aircraft engineer, Ian Kelly joined a Kitchen remodeling company and qualified as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Kelly then established an organization specializing in home improvement, including repair and maintenance of household appliances, garden equipment and lawn mowers.

Photo Credits

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