Why Is Sewing Machine Handwheel Hard to Turn: Answered! 

Thread tangling, a jammed small wheel, and an unlocked inner knob are mainly responsible to make the handwheel hard to turn. To resolve these issues, rethread the machine, check and fix any jams, and ensure the inner knob is unlocked. Also, the machine overheating, and tangled upper thread can cause the problem. So, allow the machine to cool down, and rethread the machine if upper thread tangles are present.

There is more to it. For a complete understanding of the information, read the entire article.  

Is Sewing Machine Handwheel Hard to Turn?

Yes, a sewing machine handwheel can be hard to turn. If the handwheel is hard enough to turn, it’s an issue to take into account. Because you can’t continue running the machine 

Why The Handwheel Is Hard to Turn: Reasons And Solutions

There are some specific reasons behind happening this. Let’s get to know them in a quick manner. 

Tension in the wheel Thread the sewing machine again 
Jammed small wheel Clean the small wheel 
Locked inner lob Make sure to unlock the inner lob 
The machine is too hot Unplug the machine when not in use
Tangled upper thread Make sure the upper thread is not tangled 

How to Make the Handwheel Turn Smoothly?

If you’re struggling with this problem, there is nothing to worry about. To make the handwheel of your sewing machine turn smoothly, follow the guidelines below.

How to Make the Handwheel Turn Smoothly?

Adjust Thread Tension:

Ensure that the thread tension is set correctly for your project. Incorrect tension can lead to difficulties in turning the handwheel. Consult your machine’s manual for proper tension settings.

Apart from this, the upper thread can get caught on the shuttle hook. You need to fix this as well to avoid the situation.

Lubricate the Inner Wheel:

To enhance the smoothness of the handwheel’s movement, apply a small amount of sewing machine oil or lubricant to its moving parts. This will reduce friction and facilitate easier turning. 

For specific instructions on lubrication points and the type of oil to use, consult your machine’s manual for guidance.

Clean the Dirt And Lint Buildup:

Examine the handwheel and its vicinity for any accumulation of lint, dust, or debris that might be causing resistance. 

If you find them, make sure to utilize a soft brush or cloth to carefully clean the handwheel and eliminate any obstructions. That will ensure smoother operation.

Loose or Bent Needle:

Select the perfect size of the needle. Using the right needle will help the machine handle the fabric smoothly and prevent unnecessary strain on the handwheel.

Also, replace the needle if it is bent or damaged.  

Untangled the Thread:

Check that the upper thread is free from tangles and not caught on any part of the machine. Tangled thread can create tension in the handwheel, leading to difficulty in turning it. 

If there are any tangles, rethread the machine to release the tension and enable smoother handwheel movement.

Bobbin Case Issues:

A displaced bobbin case can cause the handwheel to turn unevenly. Make sure to correctly insert and position the bobbin case to ensure smooth handwheel movement.

Also, over time, the bobbin case can gather lint, leading to handwheel resistance. To resolve this, clean the bobbin case and the surrounding area thoroughly, removing any lint or debris. This will promote smoother handwheel operation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why Won’t My Sewing Machine Hand Wheel Turn?

Excessive heat can cause the handwheel of your sewing machine to become stuck. Older machines may not have an automatic shut-off feature, so it’s essential to unplug the machine when not in use and allow it to cool down before resuming sewing. This precautionary measure will help prevent handwheel issues due to overheating.

How Do You Loosen A Sewing Machine Wheel?

To loosen a sewing machine wheel, apply a small amount of sewing machine oil or lubricant to its moving parts. This reduces friction and facilitates smoother turning. For specific instructions on lubrication points and the type of oil to use, consult your machine’s manual for guidance.

Why Is My Sewing Machine Wheel Not Moving The Needle?

Disengaged clutches may cause the needle to not move. When your machine has a clutch, engage it to enable proper needle movement. Also, if the wheel fails to move the needle, a broken drive belt might be to blame. If the drive belt shows signs of damage or wear, replace it if necessary.


I hope you got the answer to your question “Why is sewing machine handwheel hard to turn”. 

There are multiple reasons responsible to make your handwheel hard to turn. You can solve the issue yourself just by going through the article. If the problem still persists, don’t hesitate to take help from professional experts.

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