Electric washing machines reduce the amount of human effort needed to achieve the result. In the old days, people beat dirty clothes against rocks or rubbed them over a washboard to get them clean. A washer is a simple machine. When things go wrong with it, there’s a good chance even a layman can make repairs if he understands the basic operation and types of common problems that can occur.
Washer Won't Do Anything - If the washing machine won't work at all, there are a couple of areas to investigate. The first is the power supply. Check to see that the washer is plugged in and that a fuse has not been blown or a circuit tripped. Also verify that the power cord has not been pinched or damaged enough to impede proper electrical current conduction. Another common problem on a non-working washer is that the lid switch isn't working. This is located inside the main housing near the lid. If it goes out, it will need to be replaced, which you should be able to do fairly easily. Talk to a plumbing supply house for a new part and installation advice.
Clogged Hoses - A common problem sometimes easily remedied is when the washing machine won't fill or drain properly. If this is the issue you're observing, take a look at the incoming water hose and drainage line behind the machine. Even if they look good from the outside, it might be worth your while to disconnect and blow them out with high pressure air or water. Over time, sediment and junk can build up on the screens inside, causing this issue.
Agitation - When a washing machine is working right, agitation is a good thing, but if the agitator just sits there you have a problem. The first component to investigate for lack of agitating motion is the belt. Depending upon your model, it shouldn't be difficult to remove the panel that allows access to the belt that drives the motor. Like a radiator belt on a car, washing machine belts can fray and break. If the belt looks good, checking the motor is the next step. Confirm that the wires leading to the motor are connected and not broken. A simple electrical repair might be all that is needed. If the wires are in good shape, you may have bum motor, which can either be taken to a specialist for rebuilding or you can simply order a new one.
Final Tips - There are, of course, a bundle of other problems that can occur with a washing machine. You can always ask a supply house representative for information about other issues. As long as you buy parts from them, they shouldn't mind helping out with needed knowledge and advice on performing simple repairs yourself.