Imagine this terrifying scene: you’re ready to make some freshly baked bread, so you carefully measure out all your ingredients and put them in your bread maker. Then, you turn it on and wait for the machine to get to work when you eventually realize nothing is happening–your paddle isn’t turning! What should you do?
If your bread maker paddle won’t turn, it could be due to an excessive buildup of debris on the paddle shaft or an issue with the belt. Start with basic troubleshooting as it could be just a power issue or blown fuse. Keep the parts of your bread maker lubricated in order to prevent this issue.
Having the same issues? You’re in the right place! In this article, I’ll tell you how to troubleshoot your bread maker, discuss some common causes for paddle problems, and give you some tips for preventing mechanical issues in the future.
Diagnosing A Stuck Bread Maker Paddle
When your bread maker paddle won’t turn, you should start by diagnosing the problem. With some simple troubleshooting, you may be able to resolve the issue without too much headache.
Start With the Basic Troubleshooting Steps
Have you ever heard of “Occam’s razor?” It’s the idea that the simplest explanation to your problem or question is probably the right one. Before you begin taking your machine apart, start with the fundamental but sometimes overlooked things first.
Check for Power
Even though it may seem obvious, you should always start with basic troubleshooting first. Even a professional repair technician will always check for power first.
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Is your bread maker’s switch turned “on?”
- Is it plugged in?
- Check the outlet by plugging something else into it or plugging your bread maker into a different outlet.
- Check for a tripped or blown fuse.
Check the Delay Settings
You can set a delayed start time for most bread makers. If you press “start” and the machine doesn’t begin doing its magic, you should check to see if you’ve set the delay cycle.
This is a common problem because it isn’t always clear that a delay has been set. Some machines just have “up” and “down” arrows that are used to adjust the already programmed cycle times. Other models may have plus and minus buttons that are labeled “delay timer.”
If you’re not sure about your machine’s delay features, you should consult the manual.
The bottom line is that if your bread maker is set on delay, your paddle won’t start turning when you expect it to. You should double check the cycle time displayed after you press “start” to ensure that it makes sense.
If the time remaining is much longer than normal, or if the “ready time” is beyond what’s expected for the bread type, your delay setting is the problem.
Check the Manual
If you’re like me and you throw all your instruction booklets and manuals in a kitchen drawer, it’s time to pull it out, as there may be some FAQs or a troubleshooting guide that can give you an idea of why your bread maker paddle won’t turn.
If you end up having no luck at getting your bread maker paddle turning, the manual is also where you’ll find your warranty information and contact info for the manufacturer. Give them a call if you can’t fix the problem on your own.
Reposition the Paddle
If your bread maker’s paddle isn’t positioned into the spindle correctly, it won’t turn. It’s another potentially easy fix that you don’t want to overlook before moving on to more complicated repair work.
It’s also a good idea to see if the spindle is turning correctly or if the issue is with the paddle itself.
Follow these steps to reposition your bread maker’s paddle:
- Turn off power.
- Remove the paddle.
- Reposition paddle into the spindle.
- Turn on the test.
Check for Blockage and Debris
Another simple explanation for your bread machine’s paddle not turning is that something is blocking it from moving like it’s supposed to. There are a couple of ways to resolve this problem if it’s causing your paddle not to turn.
Paddle Shaft Buildup
Sometimes, your paddle won’t turn because the paddle shaft isn’t operating correctly. Check around the base of the paddle for any dried dough or other buildups. Once you’ve freed the paddle shaft, scroll down to read about lubricating it to prevent the problem from recurring.
Some of the experts on Ifixit suggested two tips that could help free up the paddle.
- Soak with hot water and agitate (try to turn/wiggle) until it begins to loosen.
- Try pushing down from the top while pulling from the bottom to remove the shaft.
- Repeat as needed, clean thoroughly once removed.
If that doesn’t work, or if the buildup is severe, you can try this instead:
- Add dish soap and very hot water to the bread pot and fill to the top of the paddle.
- Put the bread pot in a larger pot of water, but don’t let it float.
- Bring a big pot to a low boil to heat water inside the bread pot.
- Try to turn the paddle while water is boiling using a wooden spoon or non-scratch tongs. Be very careful of hot water splashing.
- Repeat with clean water to rinse until all soap is cleared.
Belt Problems in Your Bread Maker
If your machine is powered on and you’ve checked for obvious problems and tried cleaning it, it may be time to move on to a little more traditional repair work.
Follow these steps to check the drive belt (sometimes also referred to as the ‘timing belt’) in your bread machine:
- Unplug the bread maker.
- Turn the bread maker over or on its side, and locate the screws to remove the bottom.
This may vary depending on your make and model, so consult your manual for guidance.
- Carefully remove the screws and set them aside so they won’t get lost.
Depending on your machine type, you may have to remove the feet from the bottom.
- Look for a belt connected to two pulleys on either side, one larger pulley and one smaller pulley.
- If the belt isn’t on both pulleys, you’ve found your problem.
Carefully stretch the belt back over the pulley so that it’s connected to both.
- If the belt is broken or cracked, you’ve also found your problem.
However, it will need to be replaced before you can proceed.
- To find a replacement belt, you’ll need to check the manual or bring the belt to an auto parts store.
An associate may be able to help you find a belt that matches the size you need for your bread maker.
For a demonstration on replacing a drive belt in a bread maker, check out this video on YouTube:
Lubricating Your Bread Maker
Keeping the parts to your bread maker lubricated is key to preventing issues that cause your paddle not to turn. Let’s discuss the different parts that need a little help to ensure they’re moving smoothly.
Bread Spindle Shaft
On the underside of your bread maker is the spindle shaft. Add a few drops of the 3-IN-ONE 10038 Multi-Purpose Oil from Amazon.com to this mechanism monthly, depending on how often you use your bread machine.
Make sure that you don’t put oil on the inside of the bread pan or internal spindle, only the external spindle shaft, which is located on the underside of the pan.
You can add a few drops of food-safe oil to the paddle shaft to keep it running smoothly over time. Some tips say to use vegetable oil, but this can actually burn and cause more sticking. There are varying opinions about this on various bread maker forums, but one user recommended food-grade silicone grease for the paddle shaft and any bearings.
You can try this Haynes Silicone Grease, which is safe to use on food processing equipment based on the customer reviews on Amazon.com.
Tips on Maintaining Your Bread Maker
To prevent problems like a paddle that won’t turn, it’s vital to maintain your bread maker by properly cleaning it after each use.
Here are some things to consider to keep your bread maker in tip-top shape for years to come:
- Always unplug your machine and make sure it’s completely cooled off before you begin any cleaning or maintenance.
- Clean your bread maker after every loaf, which is the easiest way to prevent problems in the future.
- Never clean your bread maker pan or parts in the dishwasher.
- Don’t use any abrasive scrub pads or brushes to clean inside your bread pot.
It contains a nonstick coating that you can damage if you use harsh scouring pads.
- Take care of your paddle, which is the most important part of your machine!
Always clean it carefully and check for any buildup in and around the base.
Being able to bake bread at home is a luxury that many have come to enjoy, so it’s never fun when your bread maker paddle won’t turn and the machine stops working.
Before calling the professionals, diagnose the problem by checking the power to make sure it can be powered on. Then, check the settings if you’ve set a delayed start time, and consult your manual for troubleshooting tips.
There could be a buildup in your paddle shaft, which may need cleaning and lubricating. Proper maintenance is still the key to keeping your bread maker running for a long time.