Food processors are food mixers on steroids. This Fix-It Guide on food processor repair tells how a food processor works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a food processor problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives simple step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble a food processor, how to service a food processor gear, how to adjust or replace a food processor drive belt, and how to service a food processor drive shaft. This Fix-It Guide also directs you to electrical cord repair, motor repair, fuse repair, and switch repair if needed.
How Does a Food Processor Work?
A food processor is an appliance that mixes dough and chops, slices, dices, and liquefies food. It has a larger capacity and a larger motor than either a blender or a mixer and can replace both smaller appliances.
There are two types of food processors: direct drive and belt drive. A direct-drive food processor is similar to a food blender, with the motor underneath the food bowl. A belt-drive food processor places the bowl and motor side by side, connecting the two with a drive belt and wheels.
What Can Go Wrong with a Food Processor?
Because they can do more, food processors may require more repair than other small kitchen appliances. Even so, there are many similarities. The electrical cord, motor, motor fuse, and switches may fail. The blade can become dirty or damaged. The gear or drive belt can become worn or broken. Seals can fail. One of the most common problems is a belt that needs adjusting or replacing.
Every time you wash a food processor’s bowl and blades, take time to inspect them for obvious cracks or damage.
How Can I Identify a Food Processor Problem?
- If the food processor won’t run at all, be sure power is on at the outlet and check the electrical cord. Check the motor and the fuse.
- If the unit runs intermittently, check the wire connections and repair any that are faulty. Also check the motor and, on belt-drive models, check the belt for condition and correct tension. Replace or adjust as needed.
- If the unit doesn’t run at some speeds, check the multi-speed switch and the wire connections using a multimeter.
- If the motor turns, but the blades don’t, clean and lubricate the blade and repair or replace if damaged. On direct-drive models, check gears for wear and replace if worn or broken. On belt-drive models, check the drive belt and replace it if it is broken, or adjust tension if needed.
- If the bowl leaks, make sure the bowl is tightened onto the base; check the seal and replace it if it is damaged.
About once a year, apply a small amount of white lubricant paste (available in tubes) on gears, bearings, or other moving parts to reduce friction. Make sure the lubricant doesn’t touch or rub off on electrical components, where it can conduct electricity.
What Do I Need for Food Processor Repair?
What Are the Steps to Food Processor Repair?
Disassemble a food processor:
- Remove the control knob and remove any screws that hold the body together.
- Remove plugs as needed to disconnect the circuit board from the electrical source. Remove other components that restrict access to the internal parts.
- Turn the processor upside down and remove the base. In some cases you’ll first need to pry off some feet.
- Remove the drive belt and/or the drive gear.
- Remove the motor. Typically, this means disconnecting the cord and removing any motor mounting screws.
Service a food processor gear:
- Remove the processor’s housing and components as needed to access the gears (see motor).
- Clean the gears with a toothbrush and inspect them for wear or damage.
- Replace any damaged gears. If the gears are in good condition, lubricate them and reassemble.
Adjust or replace a food processor drive belt:
- Remove the housing as needed to access the drive belt.
- Move the drive belt by hand to determine if the belt is too loose or too snug.
- Loosen the adjustment wheel setscrew or nut and adjust the belt tension as needed.
- If necessary, replace the belt with one of the exact same dimensions.
- Make sure the adjustment screw or nut is tightened so it does not work loose.
Service a food processor drive shaft:
- Disassemble the unit to expose the drive shaft.
- Turn the drive shaft by hand; if it turns easily, it is probably worn and requires replacement.
- Remove the drive shaft following instructions in the owner’s manual. Some units pry off while others are held in place with standard fasteners.
- Inspect the old drive shaft for the cause of the problem. Repair or replace as needed.