Maytag Refrigerator Relay [Problem Solved]

A relay keeps the refrigerator running because it powers the compressor. Without it, the refrigerator cannot run as it should because the compressor will not work optimally. This article explains solutions to Maytag refrigerator relay problems.

Maytag Refrigerator Relay Clicking – Fixed

If you hear a clicking noise coming from a Maytag refrigerator relay, it may indicate the relay is faulty. Disconnect the refrigerator from electric power and move it a little. Create enough space behind it so that you can check the relay.

It is a small device attached to the side of the compressor at the bottom back of the refrigerator. Remove the relay and shake it. If you hear a rattling sound, you need a new relay. A more complex or electrical type may require testing. So, get a multimeter and run a continuity test on it. Place the multimeter’s probes on the start and run terminals and check the continuity. 

If the relay registers no continuity or the value does not correspond with the value on the tech sheet for the refrigerator, replace the relay. Typically, the relay is quiet while providing a power boost to start and run the compressor. However, if there is an overheating problem or electrical problem, the relay begins clicking and eventually stops working.

How to Test a Maytag Refrigerator Start Relay

One way to test the start relay of a Maytag refrigerator is to shake it. You can detect faults with most relays through this method. If the relay rattles, it may show that the relay is bad and you need a replacement. A start relay should not rattle, so if there is a sign of a problem with the refrigerator, the rattling relay may be the source. Replace it as soon as possible and check the refrigerator.

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If the start relay has copper windings, get a multimeter and test it. Set the multimeter to Ohms X 1 and fix the meter’s probes to the female terminals on the relay. When you do so, the meter’s display should show 0. If it is an analog multimeter, the needle should go to the far right and rest on 0. Next, turn the relay over without removing the probes. 

The display on a digital multimeter should show 1, but the needle should go to the far left on an analog multimeter. Turn the start relay over again to return it to its original position. Now, pull the black probe out of the terminal, leaving the red probe in the terminal. Touch the black probe to the male terminal and check the display or face of the meter. 

The display should show 0 or the needle should go to zero on an analog meter. Turn the relay over again and check the multimeter. The display should read 1 or the needle should sweep to the far left. Turn the relay on the right side up and move the red probe from the left terminal to the right terminal, leaving the black probe in the male terminal. 

Zero should show on the display or the needle of the analog meter should move to the far right. Flip it over and check the meter; the needle should move to the left while the display of a digital meter shows 0. If you do not get this result while testing the start relay, you may need a new part.

Refrigerator Relay Working Principle – How the Component Works

The compressor in a refrigerator typically uses a single-phase compressor and it has two windings; the start winding and the run winding. The compressor has a hard time drawing the electric power it needs to start and run; it usually needs a lot of voltage to start but less to maintain a steady running phase. 

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So, the start relay provides the power boost necessary to start the motor. Once it starts and stabilizes, the relay removes the start winding from the circuit, leaving only the run winding. That way, it helps the compressor to maintain a steady operation.

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What Causes a Refrigerator Relay to Go Bad?

A refrigerator relay can stop working due to a power surge. The wires do not have the capacity to handle high currents, so when there is a surge, the wires overheat and melt. Another possible cause of a failed refrigerator relay is a faulty compressor. The compressor should run and stop at specific times as the refrigerator runs cooling and defrosting cycles. 

But if the compressor short cycles, turning off and on too often, it strains the refrigerator and other components, especially the relay. Age can also cause the relay to stop working. When you use a relay for a long time, it may start weakening and eventually go bad. Other factors such as overheating and possible moisture can damage the relay.


Check and replace a Maytag refrigerator relay if you suspect it is not working. But before doing that, test the relay using a multimeter. The compressor needs the relay to run and while a compressor may start and run without the relay, it cannot remain functional for long without it. 

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Therefore, it is crucial to find relay faults and fix them. If you have to replace the relay, use the refrigerator’s model number to purchase a new one. Contact Maytag to find suitable replacement parts or find an authorized dealer near you.

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