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Why is my microwave plate not spinning?

You rely on your microwave to quickly and conveniently cook or reheat food for your family, and it can be frustrating when it isn’t functioning properly. There are a few possible causes for a microwave turntable that isn’t spinning, and understanding the cause can help you determine the best possible solution. 

Use this guide to learn more about microwave turntables and ideas on what to do if your microwave malfunctions.

How does a microwave work?

Microwaves work by using electromagnetic waves to create heat that causes a vibration in the molecules in your food. A magnetron first generates the waves inside the microwave, then the waves bounce back and forth throughout the interior and heat the food.

Several internal parts of a microwave work together to cook food, including the magnetron, voltage transformer, waveguide, cooling fan, cooking cavity and turntable.

Does the microwave turntable need to spin?

The turntable inside your microwave is a round plate or tray that spins to promote even heating. If your microwave plate isn’t able to spin properly, the heat may not be distributed evenly throughout the interior, which may lead to hot or cold spots in your food.

However, some types of microwaves have turntables that don’t spin or have cooking modes that keep the plate in place.

Person selecting a cook setting on a Whirlpool® microwave Person selecting a cook setting on a Whirlpool® microwave

What causes a microwave to stop spinning?

There are a few possible causes for a microwave turntable that won’t spin, including improper installation, an obstruction on the roller track, the turntable function has been turned off or the motor has malfunctioned.

How to fix a microwave that’s not spinning: possible solutions

The fix for a microwave plate that won’t rotate depends on what’s causing the problem. Some problems can be resolved on your own, while others may require the help of a professional. Explore possible solutions to problems with your microwave turntable below.

Microwave turntable icon

1. Check the turntable installation

If the turntable isn’t installed correctly inside your microwave, it may not spin, and you might hear a thumping or rumbling sound from the appliance. Make sure the turntable is placed right side up and securely on the turntable support hub.

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2. Clear any obstructions

Many microwave turntables sit on a roller track to aid in rotation. These roller tracks sit on small wheels that can become blocked by obstructions on the bottom of your microwave. Make sure that the microwave interior is cleared of any packaging material, food or debris that can prevent the wheels from moving freely.

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3. Turn the turntable function on

Depending on the type of microwave you have, you may be able to shut the rotation function off to accommodate larger plates or multiple dishes at once. Following the instructions provided in your owner’s manual, turn the rotation function on.

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4. Repair or replace the turntable motor

If you’ve attempted all other solutions and the turntable still won’t spin, there may be a malfunction in your microwave’s turntable motor. Repairing or replacing a turntable motor is a challenging task that should be left to a professional, so you may need to schedule.

Get help with your Whirlpool® microwave

If you have a Whirlpool® microwave and need a repair or replacement part, you can visit the Service & Support Owner Center to learn more about your appliance, troubleshoot issues and schedule service for maintenance and repairs.

Tips for using a microwave:

You can help preserve the functionality of your microwave turntable by following these tips and tricks:

  • Keep the interior of your microwave clear of food and debris that can obstruct your turntable’s rotation.

  • Understand your microwave settings to know when your turntable is supposed to rotate and when it stays in place.

  • If you remove the turntable to clean it, place it back securely on the rotation hub before running your microwave again.

Shop Whirlpool® microwaves

Whether you’re looking for a low-profile, countertop or over-the-range microwave, Whirlpool brand has the options to help you care for your family. With features on select models like Steam Cooking and Sensor Cooking, Whirlpool® microwaves offer convenience and powerful technology.

Learn more about microwaves with Whirlpool brand

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