What to do when microwave stops working

What To Do When Your Microwave Stops Working: Troubleshooting Guide

Microwave ovens have become indispensable in modern kitchens, making meal prep quick and convenient. However, like all appliances, microwaves can occasionally experience issues and stop working. Before you panic and consider replacing your microwave, it’s essential to know that many problems can be resolved with some troubleshooting and, in some cases, professional repair.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore common microwave issues, step-by-step troubleshooting, and when to call in a repair person to save your microwave.

Common Microwave Issues

Microwave problems can vary from simple issues to more complex malfunctions. Here are some common microwave issues you might encounter:

1. The Microwave Won’t Turn On

  • Possible Causes: This could be due to a blown fuse, a tripped circuit breaker, a faulty door switch, or a damaged power cord.
  • Troubleshooting Steps:
  • Ensure the microwave is properly plugged in.
  • Check the circuit breaker to see if it has tripped.
  • Test the outlet by plugging in another appliance to confirm it’s functional.
  • If all else fails, try a different power cord.

2. Microwave Plate Isn’t Rotating

  • Possible Causes: The plate not turning can be due to a malfunctioning turntable motor or an issue with the roller guide under the plate.
  • Troubleshooting Steps:
  • Remove the glass turntable and roller guide.
  • Inspect them for any visible damage.
  • Replace the turntable motor if it’s not functioning.

3. Microwave Is Not Heating Food

  • Possible Causes: Problems with the magnetron, high voltage diode, or thermal fuse can prevent the microwave from heating food.
  • Troubleshooting Steps:
  • Test the microwave with a microwave-safe container of water to see if it heats.
  • If it doesn’t, consult a professional, as issues with the magnetron or diode are best handled by experts.

4. Unusual Noises or Sparks

  • Possible Causes: Sparks or unusual noises can be a sign of food debris or grease buildup, damaged waveguide cover, or a malfunctioning magnetron.
  • Troubleshooting Steps:
  • Inspect the interior for any loose items or food debris.
  • Clean the interior thoroughly.
  • If the issue persists, it’s advisable to call for professional assistance.

5. Microwave Door Won’t Close or Latch Properly

  • Possible Causes: Damaged door hinges, a misaligned door, or a faulty door switch can cause door-related problems.
  • Troubleshooting Steps:
  • Inspect the door hinges for damage.
  • Ensure the door is properly aligned with the latch.
  • Test the door switches for continuity.

Step-by-Step Troubleshooting

Now that you’re familiar with common microwave issues, let’s go through a step-by-step troubleshooting process to help you identify and possibly resolve the problem.

Step 1: Check the Power Source

  • Verify that the microwave is properly plugged in, and the power cord is undamaged.
  • Test the outlet by plugging in another appliance to ensure it’s functioning.
  • If the outlet is dead, check the circuit breaker to see if it has tripped. Reset it if necessary.

Step 2: Test with a Different Container

  • If your microwave isn’t heating food, test it with a different microwave-safe container.
  • Ensure that the container is filled with water to avoid damaging the magnetron.
  • If the microwave still doesn’t heat, proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Inspect and Clean the Interior

  • Unplug the microwave and allow it to cool if you’ve recently used it.
  • Remove the turntable, roller guide, and any loose items from the interior.
  • Clean the interior, paying special attention to the walls, ceiling, and floor.
  • Inspect the waveguide cover for damage, and replace it if necessary.

Step 4: Examine the Door

  • Close and latch the door properly to ensure it’s aligned.
  • Check the door hinges and springs for any visible damage.
  • Test the door switches for continuity using a multimeter.

Step 5: Call for Professional Assistance

  • If you’ve followed all the troubleshooting steps and the issue persists, it’s time to consider professional repair.
  • Attempting to fix complex issues like a malfunctioning magnetron or high voltage diode can be dangerous and is best left to experts.

When to Call a Microwave Repair Professional

While some microwave issues can be resolved through troubleshooting, others require the expertise of a professional repair person. Here are situations in which you should consider calling for help:

1. Electrical Issues

  • If there are electrical problems, such as a blown fuse, tripped circuit breaker, or damaged power cord, it’s essential to consult a professional electrician or appliance repair technician.

2. Complex Component Failures

  • Problems with critical components like the magnetron, high voltage diode, or thermal fuse should only be handled by experienced repair professionals. These components involve high voltages and can pose a safety risk if mishandled.

3. Safety Concerns

  • If you notice sparks, burning smells, or unusual noises coming from your microwave, immediately unplug it and seek professional assistance. Continuing to use a malfunctioning microwave can be hazardous.

4. Warranty Considerations

  • If your microwave is still under warranty, attempting DIY repairs could void the warranty. It’s best to contact the manufacturer or an authorized service center for covered repairs.

Choosing a Microwave Repair Professional

When selecting a repair professional for your microwave, consider the following factors:

1. Experience and Certification

  • Look for technicians who are certified to repair microwaves and have experience working with your microwave’s brand and model.

2. Reputation and Reviews

  • Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family to find a reputable repair service.

3. Warranty and Guarantees

  • Inquire about any warranties or guarantees offered for the repair work. Reputable professionals often provide warranties for their services.

4. Cost Estimates

  • Obtain cost estimates from multiple repair services to ensure you’re getting a fair price for the repair work.


When your microwave stops working, don’t rush to replace it. Many issues can be resolved through simple troubleshooting steps. By following our guide and identifying the problem, you can potentially save money on costly repairs or replacements.

However, always prioritize safety, and if you’re uncertain or face complex issues, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. With the right approach, you can enjoy the convenience of your microwave for years to come.

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