If your top-load Whirlpool washer is no longer agitating, then it has a problem. While your washer will still function without an agitator, it will not be nearly as effective as washing your laundry, especially if you have a lot of mud or grass stains that need to be removed. You don’t want to let an agitator that doesn’t work go unfixed for too long. When your agitator no longer agitates, it is likely that the ratcheting pawls, often referred to as “dogs,” have gone bad. Over time, these pawls can wear down and will eventually break. However, this is a simple washing repair that homeowners can easily do themselves, especially considering replacement pawls are particularly cheap.
Once you have the replacement dogs for your Whirlpool washer, start by disconnecting it from the power. Opening up your top load washer, pry the cap off the agitator with a flat head screwdriver, careful not to damage it. Depending on your washer, you may need to remove the fabric softener dispenser. You will know it is fully removed once you can see the ratchet assembly that has a square bolt in the center. Using your socket, remove this retaining bolt and remove the assembly. Turning it upside down, you will be able to remove the old pawls and reinsert the new ones.
Once the new ones have been inserted snugly into the ratchet assembly, turn it back over the insert it back into the agitator.
Now you will simply need to re-tighten the bolt and reassemble the agitator. If you have a fabric softener dispenser, do not forget to reinsert it before putting on the agitator cap even if you don’t use it as it also serves to protect the ratchet assembly. Now when reconnecting to the power source, your washer agitator should work perfectly again.