How to Replace Microwave Lights and Turntables

Maintaining your own kitchen appliances to extend their lifespan is a good way to save money. Depending on what’s wrong without microwave oven, you may be able to fix it yourself. You can replace a burned out bulb or put in a new turntable adapter even if you aren’t exactly the DIY type

Before talking about what you can do with your microwave, it’s important to know that you should never take the cover off and try to work on the inside. Microwaves have electronic circuit boards, magnetrons (generators), transformers, and capacitors. The capacitor stores energy. So even if you unplug the microwave, you can encounter high levels of voltage that pack a powerful punch if you inadvertently touch the capacitor.

Replacing the light bulb

When the light bulb burns out, you can take it out and replace it. First you have to find the cover. Depending on the brand of microwave, it’s either inside the cooking compartment under a cover-plate shielding the light, or it’s accessible from the back of the appliance. Here’s what to do:

  1. Unplug the microwave and examine the cooking area.

    If you see a cover-plate, unscrew it to get at the bulb. Then go to Step 4.

  2. If you don’t see a cover-plate on the interior wall, turn the microwave around and look for a cover on the back.

  3. Unscrew that cover to get at the bulb.

  4. When you see the bulb, turn it a quarter turn to the left and pull the base straight out.

    The bulb has two prongs, just like many automotive bulbs.

  5. Push in the new bulb and turn it a quarter turn to the right.

  6. Screw the cover-plate back on.

Putting in a new turntable adapter

Microwave turntables usually rest on a little plastic adapter that sits on a gear and connects the gear to the plate. That little piece breaks when too much weight sits on the plate or the plate hits the side wall — it’s meant to keep the motor from burning up. On some microwaves, this plastic piece is attached to the plate and you can break it off inadvertently when you’re cleaning the plate.

The adaptor, usually a 1-inch-long square or triangular piece, is replaceable. Different brands are made differently. You can get a replacement at an appliance parts service center. Now you’re ready to fix the turntable. Here’s what to do:

  1. Fish the broken pieces from the microwave.

  2. Find the serial and model number for your microwave and for the part.

    You’ll need it when you go to the store. Look at the service booklet that came with the microwave. If you can’t find the booklet, turn the microwave around and copy the numbers on the back panel.

  3. After you have the part, snap it into place and set the plate on top. That engages the turntable motor so that it once again performs just like new.

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