Sears Experience Bad Relay


May 1, 2012
I just joined because have just been through the "Sears Experience" and it ain't pretty. Had your very same trouble 3 weeks ago and just returned a stop-gap table top fridge after installing a new overload relay. Mine did not burn out but died by other means. Test the 3 prongs on the compressor for continuity and if that's OK you test the compressor by scratching a spot to remove paint. Now use the probe on each of the three prongs, this time it should NOT light up.

If those two tests work out, you do NOT need a new fridge. Getting a new compressor is a criminally high expense. Now call Sears and give them the part number of the dead relay. My experience was that if the Kenmore is more than 5 years old, they have purposely or "accidentally" discontinued relays for your model and will send you a wrong one and will continue to do so until you complain to their research dept. You'll be told there's no diff. relay available. If what they send you does not take the plug at the end of the wiring harness but the relay fits on the three compressor prongs, do this:

Cut off the plug on the harness, search your car's ashtray for a quarter and get 2 female spade adapters - one a bit wider than the other. Crimp them onto the naked wire ends and make sure that the thicker one fits onto the wider blade in the relay. You may need to order a capacitor but don't open the package so you can return it for credit. Since you seem to have had some "frying" in the switch, the black capacitor may also be burned out.

I have written a very searing snail mail letter to the Sears CEO in Illinois with regard to the lengthy run-around I got from their repair people plus the fact that I had to pay for the wrong part twice (they'll not ship replacements even when it was their fault...) but you will enjoy the elevator music and multiple questions they ask when you call for an RMA, be forewarned. If you get Bangladesh, you're in luck, you'll learn a second language gratis. Seriously though, the compressor is not usually the culprit but a marvelous enhancer of the Sears bottom line since a new one costs about one half of a new refrigerator. I had already picked out a new one when I thought I'd do this unscientific repair after getting two wrong switches.

I don't know how this forum works but I hope I get notified if you have another question. I feel I must share this experience even if it only saves one fridge owner the
expense of a new appliance.