Singer Sewing Machine Troubleshooting: Handwheel Won’t Turn | Fix Guide

Are you experiencing frustration with your sewing projects due to a stubborn handwheel that just won’t budge? You’re not alone. Many sewing enthusiasts encounter the dilemma of a Singer sewing machine troubleshooting handwheel won’t turn. But fear not!

With a bit of guidance and troubleshooting, you can swiftly get back to creating your masterpieces. Whether you’re a seasoned seamstress or a beginner diving into the world of stitching, understanding why this issue occurs and how to resolve it will keep your sewing journey smooth and enjoyable. Let’s unravel the mystery and regain control of your sewing machine’s handwheel effortlessly.

Salient Points

  • Ensure Proper Power Connection: Check that the sewing machine is plugged in correctly and the power outlet is functional.
  • Verify Bobbin Winding Mechanism: Ensure the bobbin winding mechanism is disengaged to allow the handwheel to turn freely.
  • Check Thread Tension and Cleanliness: Verify thread tension and clean any thread tangles, lint, or debris that may be causing obstructions.
  • Inspect for Damage and Lubricate: Look for bent needles or broken parts, and ensure proper lubrication according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

How to Do Singer Sewing Machine Troubleshooting Handwheel Won’t Turn?

Facing issues with your Singer sewing machine can be frustrating, especially when the handwheel won’t turn. This problem can halt your sewing projects, but with some troubleshooting, you can often resolve it on your own.

  1. Check Power Source:
    • Ensure that your sewing machine is plugged in properly.
    • Verify that the power outlet is working by trying another device.
  2. Bobbin Winding Mechanism:
    • Make sure the bobbin winding mechanism is disengaged. When engaged, it can prevent the handwheel from turning.
    • Locate the bobbin winding knob usually on the right-hand side of the machine and turn it back to its original position if engaged.
  3. Thread Tension:
    • Check the thread tension. Incorrect tension can cause thread jams, which might prevent the handwheel from turning.
    • Re-thread your machine following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, ensuring correct threading through all the tension discs and guides.
  4. Obstructions:
    • Look for any thread tangles, lint, or debris that may be caught in the machine’s mechanisms.
    • Clean the bobbin area and the feed dog area using a small brush or compressed air to remove any obstructions.
  5. Bent Needles or Broken Parts:
    • Inspect the needle for any bends or damage. A bent needle can cause the handwheel to jam.
    • Check other moving parts such as the presser foot and bobbin case for any signs of damage or obstruction.
  6. Lubrication:
    • Ensure that the machine is properly lubricated. Lack of lubrication can cause friction, making it difficult for the handwheel to turn smoothly.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for oil application, using only the recommended oil for your machine.
  7. Professional Inspection:
    • If the issue persists after performing these troubleshooting steps, it may indicate a more serious mechanical problem.
    • In such cases, it’s advisable to seek professional repair services to avoid causing further damage to the machine.
Singer Sewing Machine Troubleshooting Handwheel Won't Turn

Let’s discuss these troubleshooting steps in detail now.

Checking Power Source:

Ensuring that your Singer sewing machine is properly connected to a power source is the first step in troubleshooting when the handwheel won’t turn.

  1. Verify Connection: Begin by checking the power cord of your sewing machine. Ensure that it is securely plugged into a working power outlet.
  2. Test Outlet: To confirm whether the outlet is functioning correctly, plug in another device, such as a lamp or phone charger, and see if it works.
  3. Reset Machine: If the outlet is working, but the handwheel still won’t turn, try unplugging the machine and plugging it back in after a few moments. This can sometimes reset the machine and resolve minor electrical issues.

Bobbin Winding Mechanism:

The bobbin winding mechanism of a sewing machine can sometimes be inadvertently engaged, causing the handwheel to become stuck.

  1. Locate Bobbin Winding Knob: Look for the bobbin winding knob, typically situated on the right side of the machine.
  2. Check Position: Ensure that the bobbin winding mechanism is in the disengaged position. If it is engaged, the handwheel may be unable to turn.
  3. Turn Knob: If the mechanism is engaged, turn the bobbin winding knob back to its original position. You may need to apply slight pressure to release it from the engaged position.

Thread Tension:

Incorrect thread tension can lead to various sewing machine issues, including a stuck handwheel.

  1. Inspect Thread Path: Carefully examine the threading path of your sewing machine, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure that the thread is properly inserted through all the necessary guides and tension discs.
  2. Re-thread Machine: If you suspect that the thread tension is incorrect, re-thread your sewing machine. Start by removing the existing thread and re-threading the machine from the beginning.
  3. Adjust Tension: Some sewing machines allow you to adjust the thread tension manually. Consult your machine’s manual for guidance on adjusting the tension settings to achieve the correct balance for your fabric and thread type.
Singer Sewing Machine Troubleshooting Handwheel Won't Turn in 2023 - Resolve Now


Obstructions such as thread tangles, lint, or debris can hinder the smooth operation of your Singer sewing machine’s handwheel.

  1. Inspect Machine: Begin by visually inspecting the various components of your sewing machine, focusing on areas where lint and debris commonly accumulate, such as the bobbin area and feed dog.
  2. Remove Obstructions: Use a small brush, tweezers, or compressed air to gently remove any visible thread tangles, lint, or debris from the machine’s mechanisms.
  3. Clean Bobbin Area: Pay particular attention to the bobbin area, as accumulated lint and debris can interfere with the rotation of the handwheel. Remove the bobbin case and clean out any lint or debris using a brush or compressed air.

Bent Needles or Broken Parts:

Bent needles or other damaged components can cause the handwheel to jam and prevent it from turning smoothly.

  1. Inspect Needle: Carefully examine the needle for any signs of bending or damage. A bent needle can easily catch on fabric or other components, causing the handwheel to become stuck.
  2. Replace Needle: If you notice any damage to the needle, replace it with a new one. Be sure to use the correct type and size of needle for your sewing project and fabric.
  3. Check Other Parts: In addition to the needle, check other moving parts of the sewing machine, such as the presser foot and bobbin case, for any signs of damage or obstruction. Replace or repair any damaged parts as necessary.


Proper lubrication is essential for ensuring smooth movement of the sewing machine’s internal components, including the handwheel.

  1. Refer to Manual: Consult your sewing machine’s manual to determine the recommended type of oil or lubricant to use.
  2. Apply Lubricant: Apply a small amount of oil or lubricant to the designated areas as instructed in the manual. Focus on areas where metal parts come into contact with each other, such as the handwheel shaft and bearings.
  3. Avoid Over-Lubrication: Be careful not to over-lubricate the machine, as excess oil can attract dust and debris, leading to further issues. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the frequency of lubrication and the amount of oil to use.

Professional Inspection:

If you’ve tried the previous troubleshooting steps and the issue persists, it may indicate a more serious mechanical problem that requires professional attention.

  1. Seek Professional Help: Contact a qualified sewing machine technician or repair service to assess and diagnose the issue. Look for authorized service centers recommended by the Singer company or reputable sewing machine repair shops in your area.
  2. Describe the Problem: When reaching out to the professional technician, provide a detailed description of the issue you’re experiencing with your sewing machine. Mention any troubleshooting steps you’ve already taken to help them understand the problem better.
  3. Avoid Further Damage: Continuing to use the sewing machine when it’s experiencing mechanical issues could exacerbate the problem and potentially cause more damage. It’s best to stop using the machine until it has been properly inspected and repaired by a trained professional.
  4. Follow Technician’s Recommendations: Once the technician has examined the sewing machine, they will provide recommendations for repairs or adjustments needed to resolve the issue. Follow their advice and authorize any necessary repairs to ensure your machine is restored to proper working condition.
  5. Regular Maintenance: After the issue has been resolved, consider implementing a regular maintenance schedule for your sewing machine to prevent future problems. This may include cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting the machine’s components according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular maintenance can help prolong the life of your sewing machine and prevent the recurrence of similar issues in the future.

What is the Cause of No Fabric Movement?

No fabric movement in a sewing machine can occur due to several reasons. One common cause is improper threading. If the thread is not correctly passed through the tension disks or guides, it can lead to tension issues and subsequently result in stalled fabric movement.

Another factor could be bobbin problems, such as incorrectly wound bobbins or tangled thread in the bobbin case, which hinder the smooth rotation necessary for feeding fabric. Additionally, dull or damaged needles can cause fabric jamming, preventing seamless stitching.

Incorrect presser foot pressure can also impede fabric feed, as too much pressure can compress the fabric, while too little pressure may not provide adequate traction. Regular maintenance and proper adjustment of machine components are crucial to ensure smooth fabric movement during sewing operations.

For instance, a practical example could be when the needle is bent or damaged, it may not properly catch the fabric, resulting in stagnation of the sewing process.

Troubleshooting Common Sewing Machine Issues

Sewing machines are essential tools for crafting and repairing clothes, but like any device, they can encounter problems. Below, we’ll discuss common sewing machine issues and how to troubleshoot them.

ProblemPossible CauseSolution
Machine Not StartingCheck if the power cord is plugged in properly. Ensure the power switch is on. If still an issue, examine the fuse in the plug.Replace the fuse or try a different power outlet. If the problem persists, consult a professional.
Uneven StitchesThe needle may be bent or dull. Incorrect threading or tension issues can also cause this.Replace the needle regularly and ensure proper threading. Adjust the thread tension according to the machine manual.
Thread Bunching UnderneathIncorrect bobbin threading or tension settings are common culprits.Rethread the bobbin, ensuring it follows the machine guidelines. Adjust the bobbin tension if necessary.
Breaking NeedlesIncorrect needle size for the fabric or a bent needle can cause breakage.Use the appropriate needle size for the fabric being sewn. Replace bent or damaged needles promptly.
Machine JammingAccumulated lint or debris in the bobbin area may be causing the jam.Clean the bobbin area regularly, removing lint and debris. Ensure the machine is properly lubricated as per the manual.
Skipping StitchesA dull or bent needle, incorrect thread tension, or improper threading can lead to skipped stitches.Replace the needle, check and adjust thread tension, and ensure correct threading following the machine manual.

Remember, regular maintenance and proper usage significantly contribute to a sewing machine’s longevity and performance. If issues persist, consult the machine’s manual or seek professional help.

Maintenance Tips for Sewing Machines

Here are some practical tips to help you maintain your sewing machine:

  1. Clean the Machine Regularly:
    • Lint buildup is a common issue. Use a small brush or a vacuum attachment to remove lint from the bobbin area and around the feed dogs.
    • Wipe down the exterior with a soft, lint-free cloth to prevent dust accumulation.
  2. Change Needles Frequently:
    • Replace the needle after 8-10 hours of sewing or when switching to a new fabric type.
    • A dull or bent needle can lead to uneven stitches and potential damage to the machine.
  3. Oil Moving Parts:
    • Lubricate your machine as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Typically, every 8-10 hours of sewing.
    • Use a small amount of sewing machine oil on designated areas to reduce friction and prevent wear.
  4. Check Tension Regularly:
    • Ensure the thread tension is balanced. Incorrect tension can result in loose or tight stitches.
    • Refer to your machine’s manual to adjust the tension settings correctly.
  5. Keep Bobbin Area Clean:
    • Remove the bobbin and bobbin case regularly to clean any accumulated dust or lint.
    • A clean bobbin area prevents thread jams and ensures smooth stitching.
  6. Inspect and Replace Belts:
    • Check the belts for signs of wear or damage.
    • Replace worn-out belts promptly to maintain consistent speed and prevent motor strain.
  7. Store Properly:
    • When not in use, cover your sewing machine to protect it from dust.
    • Store it in a cool, dry place to prevent rusting of metal parts.
  8. Follow the Manual:
    • Always refer to your sewing machine’s manual for specific maintenance instructions.
    • Manufacturers provide guidelines tailored to the machine’s model and design.

Regular maintenance ensures that your sewing machine remains in optimal condition, providing you with reliable and high-quality stitching for years to come.

If interested you can read how many watts is a stitching machine here. Moreover, you can read the power rating of a sewing machine motor here.


In conclusion, conquering the Singer Sewing Machine Troubleshooting Handwheel Won’t Turn problem is within your reach. By following our expert advice, you can swiftly regain control of your sewing machine and resume your projects with confidence.

Remember, regular maintenance and knowing the right troubleshooting techniques are key to preventing future hiccups. So, don’t let a stubborn handwheel slow down your creative endeavors. Implement these solutions and watch as your Singer sewing machine works like a charm, allowing you to sew with ease and precision. Say goodbye to frustration and hello to a seamless stitching experience!


  1. Mechanisms of sewing machines
  2. Association of individual and work-related risk factors with musculoskeletal symptoms among Iranian sewing machine operators
  3. Reduction of work-related musculoskeletal risk factors following ergonomics education of sewing machine operators
  4. A randomized controlled trial evaluating the effects of new task chairs on shoulder and neck pain among sewing machine operators: the Los Angeles garment study

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Thread the Singer Sewing Machine?

To thread a Singer sewing machine, start by raising the presser foot and turning the handwheel towards you. Then, guide the thread through the tension discs and thread guides, ending with the needle. Ensure the handwheel turns smoothly for optimal performance.

What Are Some Common Sewing Machine Problems?

Common sewing machine problems can range from thread tension issues to needle breakage. Troubleshooting tips for sewing machines include checking for proper threading, cleaning the machine regularly, and using the correct needle size for the fabric being sewn.

How Do I Adjust the Stitch Length on the Singer Sewing Machine?

To adjust the stitch length on a Singer sewing machine, locate the stitch length dial on the machine’s front panel. Turn the dial clockwise to increase the stitch length and counterclockwise to decrease it. Ensure the machine is properly threaded and the tension is adjusted correctly to avoid any issues with the bobbin.

What Are the Different Types of Sewing Machine Needles and When Should I Use Each One?

There are different types of sewing machine needles with specific uses and advantages. Understanding these variations is crucial to achieve desired results. However, it is important to avoid common mistakes while using different needle types.

How Often Should I Clean and Oil My Singer Sewing Machine?

Regular maintenance and lubrication are essential for optimal performance of Singer sewing machines. To ensure smooth operation, it is recommended to clean and oil the machine every 8-10 hours of use or at least once a month.

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