If you have a microwave oven, there is a really good chance that the turntable will stop spinning at some point. This is not to say that this is a feature that often breaks down, but there are “human error” issues that will prevent it from spinning. There is no need to panic or toss it in the dumpster. We are going to walk you through some basic troubleshooting that an appliance repair technician would use if he or she were making a call for a microwave turntable not turning.
Check the Basics
From experience, you will often find the problem is often one of two things. Either the plate had become unseated or there is a buildup of food and/or debris in the turning mechanism. Most plates have to be seated properly in order to rotate and it is very easy to knock the plate off of that seating.
If everything is lined up properly, pick the plate up and check the area around the turning mechanism. If you are not cleaning your microwave regularly, it is very easy for food to build up from spills and such while it is in use. If these spills are not cleaned up immediately, they can cake up, eventually causing performance issues for the microwave. There is also a health issue to consider here, so we advise you to give the inside of the oven a quick wipe after every use, especially if something has boiled over.
If you have seen the microwave making jerky movements, it could be the drive motor. Think of someone that does not know how to drive a stick, where the car goes a few feet then jerks very quickly. This fix is a bit more involved and you are going to need to be handy with a screwdriver to fix it. If you have a multimeter, use it to check the continuity of the motor (they are available on Amazon for less than $15). Disconnect from the power source, remove the bottom panel, then disconnect the two wires attached to the bottom of the motor. If they register zero, the motor should be fine. Any other number and the motor probably has to be replaced.
If none of these fixes finds the problem, it is not the end of the world, especially if you do not use the microwave very often. Believe it or not, there was a time when microwaves did not have a turntable. That technology was not introduced until the 1980s. You can tough it out without the turntable, or maybe the oven is a bit older and it is just time to replace it and get one with all the latest gadgets.