A microwave is a surprisingly complex piece of machinery with many small parts crammed inside. There are the magnetron and the stirrer, the vent and fan, the high-voltage capacitor, the light, and much more. But one of the simplest and most important parts is the turntable motor.
This is the motor that ensures the plate inside turns in an even circle while your food cooks. The turning plate is what helps your food to cook evenly and without the turntable motor, your microwaved meals will be hot and cold. You know the turntable motor has seen its last days if you start to hear excessive rattling, a loud roar when the plate turns, or of course if the plate stops turning entirely.
Whatever the reason, we’re here to help you replace that turntable motor so that you don’t have to replace your entire microwave. These instructions are for the average design of microwave and steps can vary by model number.
Gather Your Supplies
Always start by gathering your supplies before beginning a repair. This way, you can be certain that you have everything you need and won’t need to stop partway through to go find something. The most important part, of course, is your replacement motor. Match your make and model of the microwave to identify the right replacement motor to order.
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Flat Screwdriver
- Work Gloves
- Replacement Motor
Unplug the Microwave
Replacing the motor is, naturally, an electrical repair. This means your hands will be working with live wires so you’ll want to cut the power. This is easy for most microwaves, simply pull the plug out of the wall. If you can’t reach the plug, you can flip the kitchen breaker instead.
Wear Work Gloves
The next safety step to take is to wear work gloves. The inside of any appliance has sharp edges of metal and tips of wires. There is a surprising risk of getting cut when working inside appliances (or computers) and work gloves are always a good idea. Look for gloves that fit you well, that aren’t oversized or too bulky to work with tools.
Remove the Turntable Pieces
Take Out the Plate and Roller Guide
In order to replace the drive motor, you’re going to need to flip your microwave over and pull out the thing that turns the plate. This means you’ll want to remove the plate, the roller guide, and the coupler. The plate and roller guide sit loosely on the coupler, so will rattle and possibly break when you flip the microwave. Take out that plate and roller.
Shimmy Off the Drive Coupler
The drive coupler is fitted tightly and sometimes sealed or glued to the drive shaft of the motor that you are about to replace. So you’ll want to remove the loose pieces, then shimmy off that drive coupler. Use the flat-head screwdriver to help leverage it off, working all the way around to avoid cracking it.
Remove the Microwave Cabinet
- Remove Mounting Screws from Back Panel
- Now it’s time to take off the microwave cabinet. The cabinet wraps the top and sides of the microwave, while securing the front, back, and bottom elements at the same time. Start removing the cabinet by taking out the mounting screws on the back panel.
- Remove Additional Mounting Screws on Cabinet
- Turn your microwave around and look for any additional cabinet screws, especially near the edges and bottom. Remove these as well and set them aside with the other screws.
- Release Locking Tabs
- If there are locking tabs holding your microwave cabinet into place, fit a flat-head screwdriver into the space and press firmly until the tab releases.
- Remove the Cabinet-Wrap
- Now carefully (wearing gloves) unwrap the microwave cabinet from the appliance body inside.
- Turn the Microwave Over
- Flip your microwave on it’s back. You should be able to see the motor in the underside of your microwave. If there is a bottom panel, remove this as well.
Remove the Old Motor
- Snap a Photo
- If you’re worried about installing the new motor exactly like the original, snap a quick phone photo of the old motor before you take it out.
- Remove the Mounting Screws
- Spot the mounting screws that hold the motor into place and remove them. Set each screw aside nearby and hold the motor as you remove the last screw.
- Disconnect the Wires
- You will see a wire connection, clipped in a wire harness. Release the clip and disconnect the two halves of the wire harness.
- Remove the Drive Shaft from the Body
- Carefully pull the drive shaft out of the hole in the microwave floor.
- Test the Old Motor
- If you’re so inclined, use a multimeter to test the old motor to confirm if it is fully broken or just malfunctioning.
- Discard the Old Motor
- It is now safe to throw away the old motor.
Install the New Turntable Motor
- Test the New Motor
- If you’re worried, use a multimeter to confirm that your new motor is in working order.
- Align the New Motor Into Position
- Fit the new motor’s drive shaft into the hole in the microwave floor and align the mounting elements with the body.
- Attach the Wires
- While the motor is still loose, attach the two halves of the wire harness to complete the motor’s circuit.
- Resecure the Mounting Screws
- Secure the new turntable motor into place by returning the mounting screws. You do not need to over-tighten them.
- Return the Cover Plate
- If there was a cover plate, you can now return it and secure the bottom mounting screws.
Reassemble Your Microwave
- Flip the Microwave Upright
- Congratulations, you’re almost done. It’s time to put your microwave back together. Turn your microwave upright again.
- Fit the Cabinet Back Into Place
- Carefully (wearing gloves) fit the flexible cabinet back over the body of the microwave. Press it into place and align the mounting points.
- Return the Mounting Screws
- Retrieve your pile of mounting screws and resecure the cabinet. You should be completely out of screws now.
- Plug the Microwave Back In
- Finally, you can plug your microwave back in and test for success.
For more great appliance repair guides or assistance in your home, contact us today!