How to Fix a Broken Toaster

Toasters are uncomplicated appliances with heating elements, a thermostat, switches, and plugs and cords. Most of the time when they malfunction, they just haven’t been cleaned thoroughly enough. Of course the heating elements can burn out after time, and plugs, cords, and switches get faulty, but if you maintain your toaster as suggested below, the toaster should give you years of service before the electrical parts wear out.

If you get a shock when you touch the toaster, it’s not grounded. Get a replacement from the store or take it to a professional for repairs.

What to do when your toast won’t stay down

The latch that locks the carriage in place may be blocked by crumbs. To clean them out, you need a screwdriver, canned air or a handheld pump, and lubricant, which you can get at an appliance service center. Now follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the toaster.

  2. Remove the carriage lever and unscrew the front cover.

  3. When the cover is off, blow any crumbs from the latch assembly.

  4. Test the latch to make sure it moves up and down easily. If it still sticks, apply a little lubricant.

  5. Look at the heating coils too to see whether all the crumbs have been removed. If not, blow them out with the forced air.

  6. After cleaning and lubricating the toaster, put the cover back, plug it in, and fix yourself some toast.

    If the toast still won’t go up or down, buy yourself a new toaster.

What to do when the toast won’t pop up

Your toaster’s thermostat may be set incorrectly. To reset it, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the toaster.

  2. Take off the carriage lever and front cover and look for a knob, screw, or nut located near the toast light-to-dark control on the outside of most toasters.

  3. Turn the knob, screw, or switch to the left, as on the lighter-control position.

  4. Replace the cover, plug in the toaster, and test it by toasting a piece of bread.

If the toast still burns, then the thermostat has to be reset. This is controlled either by a dial or lever usually on the front of the toaster. You can reset the thermostat. Here’s how.

  1. If you turn a dial to make the toast light-to-dark, take the dial knob off.

  2. Readjust the screw behind it, turning it toward “lighter” on the toaster — or darker if the bread won’t toast.

    You’ll probably have to turn the screw only slightly, not a full turn.

  3. Put the knob back on and test the toaster with a slice of bread.

    If the toast is still dark, then adjust the screw a little again.

If your toaster has a lever controlling light and dark, bend it slightly up or down. For instance if you want your toast lighter, and the display for lighter is at the top of the lever channel, then you will bend the lever up.

What if your toast won’t stay down and the toaster buzzes?

This usually happens because the toaster hasn’t cooled off. You can correct this problem by setting the control to dark or just depressing the lever again. If waiting or resetting the control doesn’t work, then the solenoid switch needs to be replaced, a moderately difficult repair. Call for a service estimate and if it’s too high, buy a new toaster.

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