Troubleshooting Singer Sewing Machine (Fix & Repair Guide)

Even great sewing machines have problems and break down from time to time. No matter their brand name or the tradition behind them there will always be a model with a flaw or two. Learning to fix those problems yourself saves you time and money

Singer sewing machines are like other sewing machines. There are a whole lot of problems you can fix yourself. Being a DIY sewer means you can delay those trips to the repairman and use the money saved to support your next sewing project

To learn how to troubleshoot Singer sewing machines just continue to read our article. It is filled with the tips you need to keep your Singer running in tip-top shape. Just don’t fool with the computer circuit boards though. Those may be above your pay grade and skill level.

Singer Sewing Machine Stitch Problems


Many stitch problems would qualify under this heading. One would be when your stitches are skipping. This problem usually occurs in a Singer when the needle has not been inserted properly.

To solve this stitch issue, double-check to see if the needle is inserted all the way up and that the flat portion is facing the back of the machine. Then if the stitches appear distorted as you sew, the problem is not with the machine.

It is with you trying to help the feed dogs do their work. Stop pushing or pulling the fabric through the needle. This problem also occurs when you are using the wrong presser foot. Just switch the foot to solve this problem.

Another problem that can arise with stitches is seeing the fabric pucker or tunnel under stitches. This means that the fabric needs a stabilizer attached to it to keep it firm. You can use a tear-away or a cutaway stabilizer depending on the fabric you are working on.

Finally, if your stitches are looping then you may have a bobbin that was not wound properly. Stop what you are doing and rewind the bobbin. Then check your tension and threading to make sure they are okay.

How To Take Apart Singer Sewing Machine

The first step in this process is to take out your owner’s manual. That booklet should have a schematic drawing to help guide you as you work. You may need it when you are trying to remember where all the parts go once you start putting it back together.

If you do not have a manual visit and buy the one you need. Next, you should unplug your sewing machine and start to locate all the exterior screws. Remove those and look at the motor. If it is at the back, take it off as well.

At this point, you should be able to see loose threads, lint, or other obstructions. Use tweezers to remove those items and get ready to lubricate the different parts. It is not necessary to remove every part from its positioning to take the sewing machine apart.

After you have made the necessary repairs or did the oiling retrace your steps by putting the motor back in place and screw in all the screws.

Singer Bobbin Not Spinning


The first place to look when this happens is the bobbin’s location. If it is not seated right, it will not spin. Double-check to make sure the bobbin is in the right place. Then the problem may come from the bobbin winder. If it does not have the right amount of pressure it won’t wind the bobbin.

You can fix this by loosening the screw and readjusting the bobbin tire so that it makes better contact with the bobbin winder. Then tighten the screw back up. Check to make sure you wound the bobbin thread correctly as this could be one cause as well.

Then you should check the needle. The bobbin is a passive part moving only when the thread is pulled from it. If you have the wrong needle, it is in backward, not fully inserted or if the thread is too thick or thin for the needle these will all cause the bobbin to not spin.

Make sure you are using the right needle, it is inserted properly or that you are using the right needle and it is not damaged.

Singer Bobbin Thread Not Catching

The origins of this problem are basically the same as the origins of the previous problem. If it isn’t the bobbin then it may be the needle. First, check to see if you have thread the machine correctly. Both the spool thread and the bobbin thread. These are simple chores to do but they are easy to mess up.

Then check your needle and make sure you are using the right one and that it is not bent, broken or the eye is not the right size for the thread. Or the fabric is too large for the needle. In this case and the previous ones you should replace the needle and make sure it is inserted correctly.

Two other sources for this problem could be that you forgot to clean and lubricate the machine. If you have now is the time to get that chore done. The second problem could be that the machine is out of time.

It may not be a common event but it does happen and you may need help from a professional to re-time it correctly.

Singer Bobbin Case Loose


One of the difficulties in discerning this problem is that often it is not the bobbin case that is loose. Sometimes it is the bottom plate that has come loose due to a variety of reasons. So check that first and save your self some energy and time.

If the bottom plate is tight, then your next step is to check the bobbin case. If it is actually loose, you need to check the location of the hinged latch lock. If they are not in their right spot this may be the problem.

Turn your handwheel until the needle is all the way up and pull on the hinged tap until the bobbin case comes out. Next re-install the bobbin case and make sure you hear that click. Once you do then the case should be in place and not loose.

As you install the bobbin, you ave to take care that the needle does not come in contact with anything. If everything remains loose, then repeat the process until you hear the click. Take your time and make sure you are careful as you do this.

Singer Sewing Machine Won't Turn On

This may be a simple issue to fix if the problems are limited to the bulb, the power switch, the foot control, and the power cord. Some Singer machines are designed not to work if the light bulb is burnt out or it blew a fuse. Check the light bulb first to make sure it is in fine working order.

Next, you can check the foot control and make sure it is fully inserted into its proper place. If that is not the issue, check your fuses, both in the machine and in your home. A singer won’t work without a supply of power.

Then you should check to see if you pushed the power switch to the on position. It is a stupid mistake but it happens all the time. Finally, you should check the power cord and see if there is a problem with it.

Loose or frayed wires can short out the fuses. Replace the power cord if this is the problem. Then if your Singer still doesn’t work, take it to a qualified and approved Singer repairman. They are your last stop when it comes to troubleshooting your Singer sewing machine.

Singer Foot Pedal Not Working


This may be a case where the wires inside the foot pedal are frayed, broken, or loose. Now if you know a thing or two about electronics and wiring, then this should be an easy fix for you to get done.

Or you can avoid the extra work and simply buy a new foot pedal and connect it to your sewing machine. There may be something wrong with the machine that is causing the foot pedal to stop working. In this case and in the case of rewiring the foot pedal, you should see a qualified repairman and let him look at it.

It may be that no power is getting to the foot pedal and you need an expert to determine why that is so. This is a good move to make if you are not comfortable with rewiring the device.

Another place to look before going to the repair shop is the clutch. You may have forgotten to disengage the clutch when you placed the bobbin inside the bobbin case. Always check the simple things first. They are the easiest and cheapest fix around.

Singer Machine Hand Wheel Stuck

The news is not good here. There are several reasons why this problem would come and none of those problems are DIY compatible. You need a qualified repairman to handle the task.

One reason for this is that your machine may be new enough to still be under warranty and you would void the warranty if you fixed it yourself. Also, the part may have been defective as your machine would be too new for the bobbin gear to break down.

On vintage machines, the bobbin gear is generally the part that is responsible for this problem. Replacing it is your only option and that should be done by a qualified repairman.

Another problem that may arise with your hand wheel when a couple of parts break. Your hand wheel may fly off unexpectedly. If this happens to you, you'll definitely need a repairman to handle the repair. The parts are small and could have gotten lost.

When this happens gather up all the pieces that flew out of your hand wheel location and go to a factory approved or qualified Singer repairman. This repair is tricky and even a good handyman shouldn’t touch it.

Singer Sewing Machine Stuck in Reverse


The first step in solving this issue is to set your stitch length settings, width, and length, back to their previous position before the problem began. If that doesn’t solve the problem you should check to see if there is any oil getting to the reverse button.

This is why it is so important to keep a maintenance record. That record will remind you when it is time to oil and clean your sewing machine and let you know the last time you did it.

If it has been a while then the lack of oil and cleaning may be the culprit. Just lubricate the machine and try the button again. Only lubricate once and according to the manual’s instruction.

Make sure to remove the panel so you can see what is going on. There may be some loose screws on the mechanism or they may have fallen off. If those are the cases then tighten the screws or replace them.

You may try a little WD-40 in this instance but very little. It just may be that the screws or mechanisms are tight and need a little help loosening up to move correctly.

Singer Machine Hook Timing

This is one of the more important pieces of your Singer sewing machine. It is also one of the most common places to look when you are having stitch problems. When it goes you should check the following areas involving the hook.

First, the distance between the hook and the needle eyelet should be 1 to 2 mm. To adjust it you should remove the presser foot and remove the needle plate. Next, disassemble the shuttle mechanism. Leave the feed dogs in place.

The needle has the bottom-most position and the hook has the extreme left position. Now adjust your sewing machine to the straight stitch and turn a balancing wheel till the hook almost touches the needle. This gap needs to be very small. Never let the hook touch the needle or you will cause more damage to both.

It may be best to leave this repair up to the qualified repairman as it does take a soft but firm touch to handle all the moves that need to be made. Or if you are confident you can do it, check the instructions out at this link. They are very detailed and come with photos.

Singer Sewing Machine is Knocking


If you haven’t kept a record of when you last lubricated and cleaned your sewing machine, or you have forgotten when it was done last, don’t worry. Your sewing machine will let you know you need to do it again.

That is the message you are being sent when the sewing machine makes knocking noises. Turn your machine off immediately and clean it. Or the problem may be that your needle is the problem.

Look for lint under the needle plate and clean it out. Then make sure the thread is not wrapped around the take-up lever. If so you need to take the appropriate steps to untangle it.

Then you can replace the needle or check for loose screws. Either case may solve the problem by tightening the screws or using a new needle.

Singer Sewing Machine Manuals

Earlier we gave you a website to look for a manual if you did not have one. These manuals are very important to have on hand when something goes wrong. They have a lot of information that will help you troubleshoot your Singer sewing machine.

These manuals are so important we decided to give you another website where you can retrieve one if you have lost yours or it was inadvertently destroyed. Start at this link and then if you do not find yours contact the company.

Let them know you need a replacement and where you can get another one. Make sure to have your model number handy and the name of the Singer sewing machine you own.

If you do not know where your model number is, this page should help you out. It even has photos to guide your search.

Some Final Words

Troubleshooting your Singer is not going to be difficult if all the problems are basic and easy for the DIY to do. But you must be careful as some problems although they appear simple and easy to do they are better left to professional repairmen.

The key to troubleshooting your sewing machine is to have your owner’s manual on hand. If you do not have one, do an internet search to see where you can pick one up cheap.

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