My Shark Vacuum Won't Turn On: Complete Troubleshooting Guide
Shark manufactures a broad range of vacuum cleaners, ranging from ultra-light handheld units and cordless stick vacuums to intelligent robot vacuums and full-size upright units.
Shark also provides instructions on how to maintain these vacuums, but from time to time, they tend to fail, with some problems being easy to solve while others requiring the users to let the specialist repair them.
Published: September 10, 2022.
When a new vacuum cleaner arrives, always read the Owner's Guide/Instructions that come with the unit in order to get accustomed to your new vacuum, regardless if it is a Shark vacuum or not.
Also, it is a good idea to keep the Instructions easily accessible, just in case.
While modern vacuums are designed to be as reliable units as possible, they are not maintenance-free appliances. Fortunately, most problems that occur can be solved with some little common sense. But, having the vacuum manual can be of great help.
Here are the most common reasons why Shark vacuums won't start when turned On:
Plugged in Incorrectly
Although it is rather simple to plug the power cord into the wall power socket, it is possible that the unit is not plugged properly or at all.
So, if your corded Shark vacuum won't start, check if the unit is plugged into the wall and if it is, check if it is plugged correctly.
Circuit Breaker/Fuse Is Tripped
If the vacuum cleaner is plugged in correctly, check if the circuit breaker/fuse is tripped or not. This can be done visually safely.
If the electric breaker is tripped, return it to the On position and if the fuse is blown, replace the old fuse with the new one (same amperage!).
If everything is alright with the electric breaker/fuse, try to plug the vacuum cleaner and one or two more devices/appliances in several other wall power outlets. If none of them work, You have a more serious electric issue at your home. If only the vacuum cleaner doesn't work, then it is a problem with your vacuum cleaner.
Power outlets are very reliable parts of an electric system, but they may also fail occasionally.
If You have a power outlet where several appliances don't work, but they work when plugged into other power outlets, check the problematic power outlet or even replace it.
Note: If You are unsure how to do it, contact the certified electrician (or company) and let them do that for You - in the long run, that is the easiest, cheapest, and safest method!
Damaged Power Plug/Wires
The proper way of unplugging the power cord from the wall socket is to pull the power cord plug from the wall and NOT the power cord itself.
If the power cord is pulled enough times, it may get damaged, especially between the power cord plug and the power cord.
So, if everything is alright with the wall power socket and electric breaker/fuse, inspect the power cord visually for any possible damages.
If the vacuum cleaner is out of warranty, it is possible to take it apart and test the power cord using an electric multimeter - check the impedance (electric resistance) of each wire in the power cord. Also, if present, check the vacuum's internal fuse, it may be blown.
Note: Disassembling the vacuum during the warranty period renders its warranty void.
Vacuum Battery Discharged
Cordless Shark vacuums depend on the energy stored in the onboard lithium battery.
In order to protect the batteries and increase their lifetime, cordless vacuums don't start when the battery voltage (and remaining battery charge) are below a certain level.
So, if your cordless vacuum doesn't want to start, check the remaining battery charge and charge if needed.
Battery Charger Not Working
Before starting the charging process, most lithium battery chargers analyze the battery; if there is any issue with the battery, they don't start the charging process.
These issues may include overheated battery, too cold battery, over-discharged battery, and similar. Also, there may be an issue with the charger, including tripped/blown electric breaker/fuse, unplugged charger, or the charger is simply broken.
On/Off Switch Isn't On
Sometimes the biggest problems have the simplest solutions - if your Shark vacuum won't start, check if the On/Off switch is actually On.
Shark vacuums are made to be intuitive to use, but more versatile units simply have more buttons and sliders to press. If unsure, check the manual.
It is also possible that the On/Off switch is broken and must be replaced.
The easiest thing to do is to let the specialist replace the On/Off switch and check the rest of the unit.
Motor Thermostat Needs Resetting
If your Shark vacuum doesn't want to start, but it was used minutes ago, the motor protective thermostat may be tripped - as the suction motor spins, it generates heat and is being cooled down via sucked air (hence the importance of having high-quality air filters).
If that is the problem, unplug the vacuum from the wall or remove the battery from the unit (if possible) and check the cleaning wand, cleaning hose, main cleaner head, and other parts of the unit for potential clogs and blockages.
Clean the unit internally, assemble it and let it cool down for 30-60 minutes; this is usually more than enough for the thermal protection to reset itself.
If this doesn't help, consider taking the vacuum to the specialist (or call the support) - if the motor is damaged, it must be replaced, but it may be very expensive if out of warranty. In that case, consider buying another Shark vacuum cleaner.
Dirty filters are common reason for having decreased suction and decreased cooling of the suction motor.
Most Shark vacuums feature washable felt/foam pre-motor air filters and post-motor HEPA exhaust air filters.
Depending on the model, use and type of debris, felt/foam pre-motor air filters are washed every 1-3 months and reassembled back into the unit after being completely air-dried.
HEPA exhaust air filters are washable ONLY if explicitly stated by the Shark - they differ from vacuum model to model.
However, every HEPA vacuum filter can be taken out, tapped onto the hard surface in order to remove dirt, and gently vacuumed using another vacuum cleaner.
Note: never operate a vacuum cleaner without air filters. Also, for exact maintenance procedures of your Shark vacuum, check its manual.
Full Dust Cup/Dirt Bin
Dust cups have limited capacity, especially in handheld models. Since most vacuums feature an easy-to-empty dust cup, it is recommended to empty the dust cup/dirt bin after each cleaning task.
To help the users, most dust cups are made from transparent materials, allowing the users to see the amount and the type of vacuumed dirt.
Also, the so-called "Max Fill Line" is usually clearly visible - even if the cleaning task is not over yet, but the dirt is reaching the Max Fill Line, stop the cleaning, empty the dust cup/dirt bin and continue with the cleaning task.
Note: if the dust cup is filled above the Max Fill Line, it may lead to decreased suction, motor overheating, fully clogged pre-motor air filters, etc. Max Fill Line is there for a good reason...
Brushroll, Hose, Wand, or Accessory Tool Blockage
In order to check other parts of the vacuum for clogs and blockages, remove the brushroll from the main cleaner head, hose, and wand, and check any additional tool that is being regularly used.
If there is any visible dirt that may cause or is causing clogs and blockages, clean it properly. Again, if You are unfamiliar with the cleaning procedure of your Shark vacuum model, check the manual.
Shark ION Robot Vacuum Factory Reset Button
Shark robot vacuums are tough units; when maintained regularly, they may last for a long time.
However, even such units can act weirdly from time to time - in such situations, it is perhaps the best thing to do a factory reset.
Note: Factory reset erases any custom data from the Shark robot's memory.
There are two ways of doing the factory reset, including:
Factory Reset Using the Smartphone App
Open the Shark robot smartphone App, go to the Settings, choose the Factory reset, and confirm it.
The Shark robot vacuum will start the reset process - wait until You get a notification about the finished factory reset, after which You will have to set the robot vacuum again.
Factory Reset Using the On/Off Switch
Sometimes factory reset via smartphone App doesn't work.
In that case, turn the robot vacuum upside down and press the power switch for ~10 seconds - this starts the factory reset process.
After the factory reset is done, set the robot vacuum again.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some of the most common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about troubleshooting Shark vacuums and vacuums in general.
Is there a reset button on the Shark ION robot vacuums? How do I reset my Shark vacuum?
No, there is no dedicated factory reset button on the Shark robot vacuums.
But, pressing the power button for ~10 seconds initiate the factory reset process.
Why did the Shark vacuum suddenly stop working?
There are many reasons why shark vacuum would stop working, including tripped/blown electric breaker/fuse (corded units), discharged battery (cordless units), tripped thermal motor protection, detected clog/blockage, blocked brush roll, and similar.
If/when that happens, turn off the unit and unplug it from the wall (corded units) or remove the battery if possible (cordless units).
After that, check the unit for power issues, blockages, dirty air filters, full dust bin, etc. If unsure how to do it, check the manual for the exact procedures.
How long should Shark vacuums last?
Depending on the model, Shark vacuums feature a 1 to 5-year limited warranty. When maintained properly, they commonly last longer than their warranty period.
How do you fix a Shark vacuum that loses suction?
The most common reasons for the suction loss are dirty air filters, full dust bins, and clogs in the air pathways.
Thus, it is very important to keep the air filters clean and to empty the dust bin after each cleaning task.
Few Final Words
Shark vacuum cleaners are very popular units due to their combination of excellent features, affordable prices, and new cleaning technologies that improve the cleaning of various types of dirt from different types of surfaces commonly found in homes.
However, no matter how advanced the vacuum is, it MUST be maintained properly according to the recommendations by the Shark.
While smaller issues with the vacuums can be fixed at home quickly, some more serious issues require specialists to check the unit.
Also, tampering with the vacuum during the warranty period can void the warranty.
Modern vacuums are easy to use and maintain but keep their manual nearby and if unsure, call the Shark's support.