Troubleshooting the Microwave: Potential Problems


    Most everyone has a microwave in their home these days and we depend on them for many different things. But what do you do when your microwave goes on the fritz? How can you tell what is wrong with your microwave and how to fix it when it isn’t working properly? Nobody wants to pay a lot of money for a good microwave only to have problems with it later and have to spend a lot of money taking it to the repair shop. Some people don’t want to spend the expense of a repair so they just go and buy a new microwave, often purchasing a cheap one that only later has more problems. If you can learn some simple troubleshooting issues with your microwave, you may be able to save yourself a lot of time and money.


Often there are simple problems that occur with your microwave that can be fixed without a lot of time or money and you can have your microwave oven working like new again. Here are some troubleshooting tips and guidelines to help you if you are having trouble with your microwave or you find that it is not working properly.
First it is important that you learn the proper safety precautions because repairing a microwave can be very dangerous. You should always be sure:

  1. The appliance is not plugged in
  2. You don’t touch any wiring or components until you discharge the high voltage capacitor
  3. Don’t work alone
  4. Remove watches and other jewelry

How to perform an RF leakage test
It may be needed for you to perform an RF leakage test. Most amateurs and even many professionals do not own an RF leakage meter. You can get one at appliance and electronic parts suppliers, costing from about $10.00 up to many hundreds of dollars for the certified models used at the professional level. You can find inexpensive RF detection devices at many retail stores such as Wal-Mart and Radio Shack.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
If your microwave does not work at all and you know everything is plugged in properly and the outlet is functioning, then check your fuses and your door switch. If the internal fuse or thermal fuse is blown you will need a professional to help you replace it. You should also check the door hooks and the door release button. If they are broken, your microwave will not work.
If your microwave looks and sounds normal but isn’t producing any heat, you should check the internal door switches, the high voltage circuitry and the circuit board for problems. You will need a certified technician to help you make these repairs.
If you are unable to adjust the power level, there may be a defective triac or a problem with the circuit board. If the carousel inside your microwave won’t turn when you run it, the small motor that operates it may be broken.
If the display flickers but it does not affect how the microwave heats, then you don’t need to worry about it. But if you are having display flickering and it is affecting the way your microwave operates, you may have a more serious problem in the microwave cabinet.
If your microwave buzzes loudly and produces no heat you probably have a defective power diode, magnetron or high voltage capacitor. These are all things that can be replaced or repaired by a qualified technician.
These are just a few common microwave problems that you may face and what the likely cause is. You will ultimately need to take your microwave to a qualified, certified repair shop to have it fixed if there is something seriously wrong with it that is causing it not to heat or function properly.

31 Responses to “Troubleshooting the Microwave: Potential Problems”

  1. jeff elms Says:

    JVM1653SHO1 Runs for 5 seconds then shuts down and asks me to reset time , date etc. continues to ask me this evertime I reset. This unit is a little over 1 year old. The problem is not in the troubleshooting section of the manual. I bought this unit a little over one year ago at home depot in Eugene ore a little over 1 year ago. My wife Sandra De Board paid for it. Serial # ZG901234B.

  2. appliancejournal Says:

    Jeff, I’m afraid it sounds like the power control module is bad. The new module retails for about $155, APP has it for $129:

    I believe mfg warranty on this microwave is only one year, so I don’t think GE will pick up the tab on this one, but do check with them just in case. You can try replacing the module, or purchase a new microwave. Over the range microwaves start at about $280-$350 and can go up to $1000 depending on brand/features. Microwave installation is typically $35-$50.

    Hope this helps.


  3. John Berry Says:

    I have a fairly new whirlpool microwave that runs find except it doesn’t heat. I took it to the repair shop and they said that it worked fine, He replaced a few things and I brought it home and it worked on a couple of items and I went to use it the next day and it ran but didn’t heat any suggestions Thanks John

  4. appliancejournal Says:


    - What’s the microwave model number?
    - What was replaced at the repair shop? Check your receipt.


  5. Cheryl Hibdon Says:

    I also have a GE JVM1653SHO1 which would shut down after about 5 seconds and I would have to reset everything. My problem is this unit sat in my garage for about 6 months before we had it installed. It quit on us after about 7 months, which was past the one-year warranty. Is the part something that we can order and install ourselves or do we need to pay for the part and labor to install it? This really stinks.

  6. appliancejournal Says:

    Cheryl, check out the appliance repair forum

  7. Sandra Barnett Says:

    I have a Whirlpool microwave. yesterday it started just coming on by itself when the door is closed. And if it won’t come on, I can push up on the door and it will. If I leave the door closed, it will at times, just come on by itself. Can you tell me what’s wrong? Thank you

  8. Rachael Herring Says:

    I have Whirlpool Gold microwave, Model GT4175SP that I purchased from Appliances Connection, June, 2012. Also, bought the trim kit for installing above wall oven, plus paid to have it installed. Total: $563.
    Knew was expensive, but expected it to last for at least 10yrs as other microwaves have always lasted much longer than that.
    Unfortunately, began smelling something burning. Double checked to be sure no food on surface or turntable. Kept smelling, more investigation showed the spindle looks charred and the part of the plastic turntable support is melted. Help?

  9. lowest installation fee Says:

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  10. ge small microwave Says:

    They also bring 1-year warranties on parts as well as labor,
    and also an exclusive 10-year guarantee on its
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    These guys undertake a collection of clinical exams in order to
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  11. Says:

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  12. Felicity Says:

    I have LG Microwave. Only 4 years old.
    Everything works except doesn’t heat up.

  13. lowell Says:

    I have Kenmore above stove microwave and it worked until last nite when the power went off. after the power came on 2 hours later it would not work only the lite in the door would work. now today there is no power in it at all. There is power to the outlet . could a power surge have done the damage? Can you help me?

  14. Tina Says:

    I have a whirlpool oven range and it’s less than a year old. When I set my micro and then press start the display window says door and wont run.

  15. Paula Says:

    Have a Kenmore over stove Microwave S/N 401.80092700. The hight bulb bruns out about once every 3 months………What can I do to stop this from happening over and over again.

  16. Tom Says:

    Rival microwave shuts down by itself every 30 min without use then beeps then turns of then does again

  17. Mort Says:

    Rival microwave shuts down by itself every 30 min without use then beeps then turns of then does again

  18. Gabby Says:

    GE JVM1400Wh01. After cooking on the stove and not using the exhaust fan, the microwave stopped working and I broke the glass dish after washing it. I
    I replaced the ceramic fuse, it started right up, but the fuse blew out after I test ran it for 3 minutes.

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  20. Sherry McCullen Says:

    I have a Whirlpool over range microwave 2 years old TR01017538 recently was cooking on the stove steam was going up when I went use the microwave it made a loud noise and a sparking sound I unplugged it just recently plugged it back in the clock and exhaust fan still work microwave doesn’t……..Do you think it shorted out and can it be fixed or cheaper to get a new one.

  21. Pamela Says:

    I have a Frigidaire Microwave, Model FFCE2278LS. A few days ago, it would run every time I opened the door. Researched this issue and it may have been a Door Switch issue. Now all of a sudden, the button panel works but nothing happens inside the microwave except that the light inside turns on. Have a feeling that it might be cheaper to purchase a new microwave. This is very sad because my son bought this for me 3 years ago. It replaced an original, huge microwave that I had that was about 30 years old (never had any issues with this one). So can someone please let me know if it’s cheaper to purchase a new microwave? Thanks so much!

  22. GE convenince microwave Says:

    my microwave won’t start all the time. some times it starts and other times it doesn’t. Is there a reprogramming I should do?

  23. will Says:

    my whirlpool microvave is beeping and we are not using it. we open the door and we unplug it but it is still beeping. It is only 2 yrs old

  24. Larry Linville Says:

    I have a whirlpool over the range microwave. After setting the time to heat and I press
    the start button it says door and wont do anything. Its only 13 mo. Old. Any suggestions?

  25. Jim Says:

    I have a GE lvm1750dp2ww Microwave and the start/pause and the 30 second button on the keypad stopped working. Everything else seems to work.

  26. Gary Wheeler Says:

    I have a G.E. microwave Model JVM1640BJ 03 and it does not heat. It comes on and sound likes the magnetron is working but doesn’t heat I replaced it and the capacitor,High voltage and diode and it still doesn’t heat and has a hot burning smell please help.

  27. James Price Says:

    I have a Kenmore Elite Model 88523 Microwave. The light is on within the unit that would suggest the door is open. While the clock functions work, the unit will not turn on to heat.

  28. JR Says:

    I have a Kenmore over the range micro wave, model 40185053310. The problem im having is the unit doesn’t stop cooking when the timer reaches 0, I can hear the fan shut off, but the unit keeps buzzing and continues cooking. Ive tested this with a cup of water. It stops buzzing when i open the door. but soon as i close the door it starts buzzing and cooking without pressing start. any suggestions?

  29. Says:

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    son bien difíciles de batir.

  30. Eric Says:

    I have a maytag over the range microwave. went to bed with light on. the light was off in the morning. keypad seams to be working properly. but nothing turns on. no fan,no heat,no light. you can set clock and all controls work. if set cook timer it will count down two seconds and go back to time of day.i check fuse. its good.

  31. Mary Mc Connell Says:

    My granddaughter gave me a GEProfile microwave,but not the instruction book. I can’t figure out how to defrost or cook or anything. Any suggestions? Thanks

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