Fixing a Microwave Turntable That Won’t Turn

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In order to heat food efficiently, your microwaves uses directed heat waves generated from the magnetron. While the waveguide in the microwave cabinet directs the heat towards the center of the food, that same food needs to be rotated for efficient coverage. This is where the turntable, or rotating glass plate, comes in. The turntable is not there to look pretty, it serves and important purpose. If you allow a broken turntable to remain non-functional, you will soon find out just how important it is. Your food may come out hot on one side and cold on the other, which is fixable, but kind of annoying. If your turntable has stopped in your microwave, here is how you fix it.

In order to turn the turntable, there are three parts that all work together. If one fails, then the whole system fails. In order to check all the parts, you will need to unplug the microwave and remove the bottom panel to access everything that you need to.

Drive Motor

In order to rotate the turntable, your microwave uses a drive motor. If your turntable doesn’t work anymore or made a grinding noise at any point, it is likely a motor problem. This part is accessed through the bottom of your microwave and looks like a round disk in the center.

If the motor was grinding, it definitely needs replaced. However, if you are unsure that the motor is responsible, you can test it at the terminals with a multimeter. Thankfully, this is not a very in-depth repair. You simply need to remove the mounting screws and unplug two wires in order to replace it.

Coupler

If the drive motor has checked out, you should next look to the coupler. The coupler is the three-pronged device that sits under your glass tray and does all the heavy lifting. The motor turns the coupler and the coupler turns the tray. However, if a prong is broken off your coupler, it will not be able to turn the tray. In many models, you can simply pull the coupler up from within the microwave cabinet. However, depending on your model of the microwave, you may first have to remove the motor.

If the exterior of your coupler does not look damaged, you will still want to remove it and check the connection to the motor. The couple slips onto the motor via a “D” shaped alcove. Over regularly use, this “D” shape can turn into an “O” shape from wear. This means it will not be rotated by the motor and it needs to be replaced. If the area where the coupler attaches to the motor is any other shape than a tight “D” then it needs replacement. Unfortunately, there is no more conclusive test other than a visual check.

Roller Guide

This part is probably something you should check first, but probably won’t be. The motor turns the coupler that turns the glass tray. The roller guide, however, supports the tray and ensures even turning. That doesn’t seem like an important role in the process, but it is. Some roller guides are pronged and sit directly on the coupler and others consist of a circular hoop with rollers. Regardless of which you have, you will want to check for damage. If the rollers are worn or missing, or the part that connects to the coupler is worn, it can cause your glass tray not to spin at all. This should be checked first because it is also the easiest part to replace. You simply need to take it out and purchase a new one for your specific model of microwave.

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