Electric can openers offer convenience. This Fix-It Guide on electric can opener repair tells how an electric can opener works, what often goes wrong, how to identify an electric can opener problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble an electric can opener, how to service the on-off switch, and how to service the gears. This Fix-It Guide also refers to electrical cord repair and motor repair for specific electric can opener problems.
How Does an Electric Can Opener Work?
An electric can opener is a motorized small appliance. Electric can openers come in countertop, under-cabinet, and cordless models. On most models, clamping the cutting blade to the edge of the can also activates the motor and the feed gear that turns the can. Once the lid is cut all around, on some models, a switch automatically shuts off the motor.
What Can Go Wrong with an Electric Can Opener?
As with other small appliances, most problems are either electrical or mechanical. Electric cords and switches can become inoperable. Motors can be defective. Motors, wheels, or grinding wheels can become jammed. The cutting wheel can become worn. The feed gear can become worn or dirty. The feed gear may be damaged or filled with debris (labels, food, metallic bits.)
Regular maintenance can dramatically increase the functional life of an electric can opener. Occasionally detach the cutter and its shaft and clean in hot, sudsy water using a clean rag or brush to make sure you don’t get cut by the blade.
How Can I Identify an Electric Can Opener Problem?
- If the can opener won’t run at all, make sure the power is on to the outlet and that the electrical cord is not faulty.
- If the motor stops after extended use, or if it won’t start again after it has started, the motor’s internal overload protector may be tripped. Wait 10 minutes for the motor to cool, then try using it again.
- If the cutting wheel rotates but does not cut properly, replace it.
- If the feed gear rotates but doesn’t turn the can, clean residue from the gear teeth with a knife or stiff brush. Replace the feed gear if necessary.
- If the motor runs but the feed gear does not turn, disassemble the unit and check for worn gears inside. If either gear is defective, replace both.
Larger cans may cause an electric can opener to slow down or to stall. Rather than burn out the electric can opener’s motor, use a mechanical can opener.
What Do I Need for Electric Can Opener Repair?
Electric can opener parts are fairly standard between models and manufacturers. If you need parts, try the manufacturer, aftermarket parts suppliers, and larger hardware stores in your area or online. Here are the tools you may need:
- Electric contact cleaner
- White lubricant
What Are the Steps to Electric Can Opener Repair?
Disassemble an electric can opener:
- Unplug the power cord. Lift or slide off the cutter assembly depending on the model.
- Unscrew the housing screws and remove the housing from the back plate.
- Use a screwdriver or socket wrench to remove the motor screws, then carefully lift the motor out of the housing.
- Unscrew or un-clip internal gears (see the Motor Fix-It Guide and replace as needed).
Service an electric can opener on-off switch:
- Unplug the power cord and remove the housing.
- Unscrew the switch cover, if there is one on the unit. Clean the switch contacts with an emery board or fine sandpaper. Next, remove any sanding residue with electrical contact cleaner.
- As needed, use pliers to bend the switch contacts to ensure firm contact between leaves only when the switch is pressed.
Service electric can opener gears:
- Unplug the power cord. Inspect the feed gear and clean or replace as needed.
- Open the appliance case and carefully removing the gears. Look for missing or warped teeth that need replacing. Lubricate dry gears with white lithium grease.
- If the gears need to be replaced, make sure that you use exact replacements. They must match in every way, including circumference, width, and number of teeth.
Never immerse the can opener in water because you will damage the electrical components.