Troubleshooting Brother Sewing Machine (Fix & Repair Guide)

One of the problems with modern sewing machines is that many models are now computerized. They give out error messages when something is wrong, The problem is that sometimes those error messages are wrong or do not go away. When that happens you are in bigger trouble.

The common problems that arise in Brother sewing machines can often be fixed by you. All you need are the right tools, the right information, and the right parts. Fortunately, Brother still makes spare parts and has lots of owner’s manuals available to help you fix your machine.

To find out how to troubleshoot your Brother sewing machine just continue to read our article. It presents a very good fix and repair guide you can follow for most simple repairs. Sometimes you can’t avoid taking your machine to a professional sewing machine repairman.

Common Brother Sewing Machine Problems


These little problems show up often in almost all Brother and other brands sewing machines. They happen a lot because they are used the most. For example, many common problems start and stop with the needle.

If it is not threaded, put in place correctly, bent, or broken your sewing machine will not work right. Replacing the needle is a common repair and will get you back on track.

Other places that are a source for these common problems are the bobbin area and the threading of the machine. Double-check how you threaded both can solve simple problems and get you sewing again rather quickly.

All you may need to do is re-thread or check the tensions to solve a lot of the issues that come with these two sections of your sewing machine. This applies if your machine stops sewing.

If the sewing machine does not start make sure you turned the power switch to on. It is a simple problem with a simple repair but it is left off on more occasions than you think.

How To Take Apart Brother Sewing Machine

Before you take your Brother sewing machine apart you better check to see if the warranty is still valid. If it is, then you do not touch it but take it to an approved repairman for Brother sewing machines and let them handle the task.

Some Brother sewing machines, like the Brother LS-2125, come with 25 year or similar length warranties. To start make sure to remove the thread and needle after unplugging the machine.

Next, you need to remove the bobbin, bobbin case, and shuttle hook. A standard screwdriver should loosen the two screws on the needle plate. Now remove the screw holding the needle housing face plate and the 3 screws holding the cover on the machine. Those are located at the back of the machine.

After that unscrew the bolts holding the motor in place and remove it. Pull the connector holding the wires to the power supply. Once that is done remove the thumb and grub screws that hold the presser foot bar and the spring.

Loosen the thumbscrews on the tensioner and use a standard screwdriver to remove the tensioner and its spring. After that unscrew the belt guard screws and remove the belt and the guard from their places.

Finally, remove the screw holding the knob of the handwheel in place. Take out the knob and the washer and you are done. Hopefully, you remembered all those steps and can do them in reverse when it is time to put it all back together again.

Troubleshooting Brother Bobbin


The key to fixing issues with the bobbin is to make sure you have wound it right and that you have put it in the correct position. Also, you cannot use metal bobbins in Brother machines that are not made for metal bobbins. If the machine comes with a plastic one that is what you replace it with.

Top loading or Quick Set bobbin system on Brother machines cannot receive a metal bobbin at any time. If you do they will not work right. Then make sure to use Brother made bobbins as other brands may ruin the stitch quality or worst-case scenario damage your machine.

Your owner’s manual will help you thread the bobbin correctly so make sure you do not lose it.

Brother Sewing Machine Not Feeding Fabric

If the Brother sewing machine you own comes with a drop feed, then check to see if that feed has been lowered. If it has, then you need to raise it up to the right position. Then if you have a mechanical feed, check to see if the foot has been lowered to the correct position. If it hasn’t, then lower it.

After that check your stitch length. Some Brother machines will not feed anything through if the stitch length is too short. It is also possible that the feed dogs have been jammed with lint, broken threads, and dirt. A good cleaning will take care of this issue in no time.

Pay close attention to the areas holding your feed dogs and bobbin case when doing your cleaning. If these areas get jammed your Brother sewing machine will not work as well as it should.

Brother Not Stitching


There are several causes of this problem situation. First, the top thread may not have been threaded correctly so stop what you are ding and double-check to make sure it is threaded right.

If it is you can move on to the next place to check and that would be the needle bar thread guide. The needle thread has to be behind the needle bar thread guide. Third, you need to check the thread to see if it is knotted or tangled. Fourth, the thread may be too large for the needle.

Untangle the thread or replace the thread to one that will fit the needle. After that check the needle and see if it is bent or the tip is blunt. Then check for scratches around the needle hole. Replace the needle if those are present.

Finally, check your presser foot and bobbin to see if they are the source of the problem. You are looking for scratches and if the bobbin has them you have to replace it.

Not Picking Up The Thread

It is possible that you are holding on to the needle thread too tightly and you would need to relax your grip to solve this problem. Or the top thread could be tangled and you would have to stop and untangle it.

Then the needle could be bent or threaded incorrectly. Replace the needle for the former situation and re-thread if the latter is the problem. If the needle is not inserted right then that may be the problem and you would have to re-insert it correctly for the machine to function.

Then the bobbin may not be threaded right or the bobbin area is not clean. Redo the bobbin and clean its area if this is where the problem lies. These are just some of the sources of this problem.

Not Picking Up The Lower Thread


The very same sources found in the previous section will be the main suspects here. Always check the bobbin area to make sure it is threaded correctly through the shuttle race and its area is nice and clean.

Next check the needle to see if it is bent, broken, or not inserted correctly. Replace the needle for the first two problems and re-insert for the last one. Make sure you have the correct spool cap on your spool of thread. The wrong sized cap may cause the thread to get tangled and you would have to untangle it.

When trying to diagnosis these issues make sure your owner’s manual is handy. It will help guide you in solving a lot of these issues as well as show you how to re-thread the machine correctly.

Brother Sewing Machine Won't Reverse

There could be a number of reasons why your Brother sewing machine does not sew in reverse. One is that the stitch is too short. Lengthen it up a bit to see if that solves the problem.

If not, check under the stitch plate to see if it is dirty. If it is, clean it up. Then there is a design issue that may prevent your sewing machine from moving in reverse. Some stitches are not designed to work in reverse gear.

To find out which ones those are, just click here to find out which stitches are limited in this operation. Go through the chart to see which stitches will not work for you in that direction.

The Machine Won't Stay Threaded


This problem can happen on the Brother 2125 sewing machine and it may have similar fixes for your model. First, check the tensions. If the tension is too tight or even too loose, it can cause the machine to lose its thread.

Adjust your tension to 4 and see if that makes a difference. Then it may just be the thread’s fault. If you do not buy top quality thread then the low-quality brand may not stay where you put it or it breaks very easily.

If there are sharp spots on the needle and in the thread path then those may cut the thread and have the machine lose the thread. Finally, you could have misthreaded it and missed certain thread guides.

Double-check your threading to make sure you hit all the right places.

Brother Sewing Machine Jammed

One source for this problem is that the throat plate may not be very clean. You have to remove it to look underneath to see if lint and other obstacles have worked their way inside and jammed the machine.

Or try resetting the presser foot with the presser foot lifter. Then you can try to cut any tangled thread wherever it may be found. And try to reset the tension after you have re-threaded your machine.

For more ideas, turn to your owner’s guide to see what it suggests to be the problem. If you cannot unjam your sewing machine, then take it to an approved Brother repairman and let him handle the task. He should have more places to look and it may be a complicated repair after all.

Sewing Machine Hook Timing


This may be thrown off if the clearance between the hook and the needle is not set at optimum spacing. It takes a little screwdriver to make the adjustment and get the hook back in the right spot.

If your owner’s manual does not have the directions and photos to help you do this minor adjustment then click on this link. That web page has step by step instructions including drawings to help you make the proper adjustment to the hook and needle.

The basic adjustment takes tightening or loosening a couple of screws and that is about it. Also, it takes a little patience to get the job done right.

How Do I Fix E1 Error On My Brother Sewing Machine?

The E1 error code is a simple problem to fix. It is reminding you that the presser foot has not been lowered yet. When you see the code, all you have to do is lower the presser foot and start sewing again.

Computerized error codes are great as they can tell you exactly where a problem lies. The only problem is they may malfunction. When that happens you should not try to fix the problem yourself.

Take your sewing machine to the approved repairman and let them deal with the problem. They have the right parts and equipment to handle the task easily. Also, if your warranty is still valid, do not try to fix your sewing machine. Let the pros handle the repair work.

How To Fix E6 Error on a Brother Sewing Machine


The E6 error code is also another simple fix you can do on your own. When you see the E6 flashing or illuminated then it is telling you that the motor stopped because the thread got tangled.

To fix this problem, just untangle the thread, then re-thread the machine and set the tension to the right spot. This is a simple fix that should not take too long for you to do. The error codes seem to handle the simplest of problems so you do not have to take your machine into a repairman.

An E4 error code simply tells you that you hit the reverse switch when the bobbin winder shaft was over in the right position. Just move it to the left to use the reverse function.

E5 tells you that you hit the start and stop button when the foot controller was plugged in. Just unplug the foot controller to use the automatic switch function. As you can see the repairs are common sense and simple.

Repairing a Brother Sewing Machine Foot Pedal

The good news on this problem is that all you may need is a screwdriver to make the repair. There are not a lot of parts inside the foot pedal so the repair should go nice and fast.

The key here is to examine the foot pedal first to make sure the wires are not loose, frayed or the pedal itself is not cracked. Then once that is done, just adjust the screw that moves the contact points to your desired position and you should be fine.

If the foot pedal is controlled by a circuit board, then you won’t be able to adjust it and may need to take it to a repairman.

Brother Handwheel Stuck


Here is what you do. Move the handwheel back and forth to see if that frees it up. If not then one of the following may be the problem. Re-thread the machine and check the tension. If that does not free the handwheel then remove the bobbin. If the handwheel moves then follow the owner’s manual to re-install the bobbin case.

If not, then clean the machine and then turn the sewing machine back on. Once the machine is on, check to see if the handwheel moves freely. If not then your machine needs servicing.

Again, do not attempt any repairs until you check your warranty. Even simple ones may void the warranty so read the fine print to make sure you are allowed to do any repair while the warranty is in effect.

Some Final Words

Troubleshooting your Brother sewing machine is not difficult. That is if the problems are common and easily fixed. Computerized Brother machines may not be so simple and may require you to visit your Brother repairman more often.

The key to fixing your sewing machine is to make sure you do not get in over your head. If you do, the repair may be more costly than it should be.

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