Ice Maker Not Dispensing Ice

Ice Maker Not Dispensing Ice

nicO and 2 contributors
Last updated on

Both stand-alone and fridge-freezers experience issues dispensing ice. Let's figure out what's wrong by following the troubleshooting guide below. Be careful moving ice blockages before thawing the ice — plastic parts are brittle and easily broken when cold.

Consider resetting your ice maker first.



Most devices will refuse to dispense ice (or water) if the door isn't completely closed. Check that the doors can close correctly and aren't ajar. There may be an object preventing the closure, an issue with the seal, or faulty door sensor.


If the display has become locked — accidentally or intentionally — it will not dispense ice. Press and hold the lock key for three seconds to unlock. Verify the child lock is not enabled either.


Continual usage of the ice maker may result in an automatic shut-off to prevent the motor from overheating (just throw some ice on it!). If you think this might have been the case, reset the device by releasing the dispenser paddle and allowing a few minutes of rest.


When ice cubes are exposed to heat which allows them to move out of the tray, or due to a door not closing, the ice melts into a continually larger mass — an iceberg. Clearing your system from these ice blockages will likely remedy your dispensing issues.

  • Check the chute where ice cubes are made and see how large the blockage might be.
  • Remove the stuck ice with a chisel, steamer (as a hairdryer or heat gun may melt the plastic), or warm water and rag while making sure not to break the plastic bits. Ice may have built up in the ice molds.
  • Remove and pour warm water through the molds so the old ice will melt and new ice can form.

Compact ice makers frequently experience motor failure. This motor can be the auger motor, or the ice maker's internal motor.

  • Disconnect the motor from power and test for continuity.
  • A value between 400-600Ω is acceptable. Even though your measured resistance value may be appropriate, the gears inside may be jammed.
  • Danger: Wire the motor leads to a spare 115 AC (or regional) power cord. Mark a reference line on the gears and gearbox before plugging in power. Return after 10 minutes to see if the marks have moved. If this test or the resistance test fails, replace the motor.

If your ice maker is making ice but won't trigger automatic harvest cycles then it's likely your points have too much carbon buildup. Each time your machine dispenses ice a spark jumps across the switch. After hundreds of sparks, the contacts are properly charred. To diagnose this issue, initiate a manual ice harvesting cycle.

Remove the plastic cover of the ice maker control module. This should expose a white or metal timing gear labeled with "DO NOT TURN MANUALLY". Use a jumper wire — an insulated 12 gauge copper wire that's stripped at the ends — and jump points 'T' and 'H' on the front of the unit. If the ice maker is working, it will respond to the jumper wire, turning the timer wheel. Leave the jumper in for 5-10 seconds until a click is heard. The manual harvest cycle has been initiated.

If the ice falls down from the ice maker, that's a good sign. Your motor switch is dirty. Locate and rub 1200-grit sandpaper between the points to clean carbon or corrosion off the contact surfaces. Fun fact: Points were the standard — and constantly failing components — in pre-80s automobile ignitions!


During the ice maker's harvest cycle, a heater melts the ice cubes and allows them to eject. Disconnect the electrical connections and test for continuity. A resistance value between 60-80Ω is fine. Replace if the reading is out of specification and the mold heater isn't hot.


The thermostat is a temperature-activated switch that signals the start of a harvest cycle. Test for continuity while the thermostat is at 10F or lower. Continuity suggests the thermostat doesn't need replacing.


When the internal temperature of the freezer is too low and moisture is allowed into the compartment, the auger motor can freeze and will not be able to dispense ice.

  • Test your auger motor for continuity. Values should read between 5-50Ω.
  • By holding down the dispense lever, the motor will warm up and melt the ice stopping its rotation. This is not ideal and wears your motor due to hard starting conditions.
  • You may be able to use a hairdryer to heat your motor or allow your freezer to return to room temperature.

Locate the holding switch, and test for continuity between "C" and "NO" terminals. If there is no continuity with the switch open or closed, replace the switch.


In the event that your ice maker isn't making ice, then your machine will not be able to dispense anything. Follow this guide to troubleshoot that problem.

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