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Repairing my Miele White Star S300 vacuum cleaner

I created this page because, much to my surprise, I could not find any information on the Internet for DIY (Do It Yourself) Miele vacuum cleaner repair. Sure, there are plenty of sites out there advertising repair services (more about this later) but nothing for the do it yourselfer. Well, here you go. I hope this helps others who are as confused about disassembling their Miele as I was.

We have owned our Miele S300 canister vacuum cleaner since 1998 and I will admit that it has a hard life. My wife is a neatness nut. She is vacuuming constantly and she is not as careful as she should be with the machine, often bumping it and thumping it up and down stairs. That the Miele stands up to this heavy use and abuse day in and day out is a tribute in itself, and I would not hesitate to buy another Miele if this one were to someday die beyond my ability to fix it.

The Miele canister vacuum cleaner is similar in many ways to a fine imported sports car. It is expensive, it has superb German engineering, and sleek, sexy good looks, and when it works, it works extremely well.

Unfortunately, like an imported sports car,  maintenance is problematic. Parts are expensive and repairs, in addition to being expensive, seem to require long periods of time in the shop. This is probably why there are so many sites listed when you Google Miele vacuum cleaner repair!

With kids in the house and the endless mess they generate, and considering that the vacuum cleaner is my wife's favorite appliance, we cannot afford to be without the Miele for an hour, let alone a week or two, and buying a second vacuum cleaner kind of defeats the purpose of having the expensive Miele in the first place.

Our Miele has been plagued over the years by a number of minor but annoying problems. The cord winder recently broke (again) and this time I decided I would repair it myself. I have repaired nearly every appliance in the house at one time or another, so I figured how hard could it be to repair a vacuum cleaner?

I ordered a new cord winder online from Potomac Vacuums and they shipped it to me promptly and free too! When the part arrived, I put the Miele up on my work bench (the kitchen table) little realizing that I was about to be humbled by the simple act of taking this Miele vacuum cleaner apart!

After struggling with it for a while, I swallowed my pride and picked up the phone and called the guys at Potomac who walked me through the process. It turned out that the repairs were surprisingly easy, but there is a trick to the disassembly. Watch and learn, and then you too can repair your Miele. All you need is a Phillips head screwdriver.

Click on any of the images for a larger view.

This should go without saying, but the first step is to unplug the machine.

Next, open it up and remove the bag.

Now you will need to remove the lid. There are white plastic clips on either side that you must carefully disengage by pushing them towards the center of the machine. Click the picture above and you can see that the right side clip has been disengaged.

Once the clips are disengaged, the lid can be lifted clear of the body. Note the thin black plastic tabs on the lid that insert into slots in the body. Set the lid aside someplace safe where nobody will step on it. As an aside, I have twice replaced the dust channel, the fragile black piece of plastic visible at the top of the lid. Fortunately it is not a terribly expensive part and it is very easy to replace because it is only secured by four screws. Go back to the vacuum cleaner body. The next step is to remove the air filter. It is secured by two fairly obvious screws. These screws also hold down the switch assembly, which we will remove in the next step. But for now, go ahead and remove the screws and lift off the air filter. Put it aside where you won't lose it.

Here you can see that the air filter has been removed and we are ready to remove the switch assembly. At this point the only thing holding the switch assembly to the body is the electrical connector underneath, and a plastic pin or two. Get a good grip on the switch assembly and lift it straight up with a firm but gentle tug. This is the underside of the switch assembly after it has been removed from the body. The white rectangular electrical connector in the center mates to the black rectangular electrical connector in the body, seen on the next picture. Put the switch assembly in a safe place until we reassemble the vacuum cleaner.

Here we see the body with the switch assembly removed. We're almost there. The next step is to remove five screws, one of which at upper left is hidden in a deep recess. Click the picture above to see the location of these screws. The five screws have been removed. Carefully flip the vacuum cleaner over so that the black bottom and the wheels are pointing up.

Here it is, belly up. Nothing is holding it together at this point, so just lift the entire base (the big black part) off and set it aside. It is not necessary to remove the rubber bumper that goes all the way around the outside of the base. As I learned the hard way, It is difficult to reattach. The inside of the base is likely to be pretty grungy. You could clean it up a bit with a damp cloth (I did), but there are wires in there so I wouldn't get it too wet.

At last! The Miele's innards are exposed. The motor is at the bottom of the picture and the cord winder is at the top.

Remove one screw securing the cord winder electrical connector and then disconnect the electrical connector.

You may now lift out the cord winder and replace it.

I was also having an intermittent electrical connection problem which I thought was related to the problematic cord. It turned out to be an unrelated problem with one of the electrical connectors in the center of the machine, pictured above. Part of the plastic clip designed to hold the connectors together was cracked. Unfortunately I did not have a replacement part, so for now I wrapped some electrical tape around the connector to hold it securely together. This seems to have done the job. But the next time something else breaks on this Miele, I will order this part too and replace both at the same time.

Follow the instructions in reverse to put your vacuum cleaner back together.

I hope you found my little tutorial useful.


I am happy to provide this information for free, so please do not feel obligated, but it does cost me money to maintain this website. If I've helped save you time, money, and aggravation and you'd like to say thanks with a small donation, I really do appreciate it.

March 2006 update: Another cord winder problem. There was about two feet of cord exposed, but the cord  would neither extend nor retract. Time to take the Miele apart again. Good thing I created this web page! After a quick review I had the Miele apart in no time. I'm getting good at this.

The problem was immediately obvious. The cord was tangled and a loop of cord was wedged between the winder reel and the housing. Click for a close-up. I untangled the cord and unwound it from the reel. My previous electrical connector repair has been working fine, so I felt no need to fix something that was no longer broken.

Here is another view of the insides of the Miele with the cord unwound. Click for a close-up of the electronics. If you look closely you can see the electrical tape around the connector at center. I rewound the cord and reassembled the Miele. It's back in operation now and as good as new! Once again I'm a hero. This is not rocket science guys!

November 2006 update: Thank you all for the many positive comments I have received about this page. Two of the more useful comments included additional repairs that readers have done on their own Miele's. One described how to replace only the electrical cord (the wire itself) without replacing the entire, very expensive, cord winder assembly. The second was how to replace the motor. Note that I have not tried either and hopefully I will never have to, so I have no additional pictures, but I will include the written directions as provided to me in case others would like to save themselves some money. Let me know if they prove useful.
Basic "My Vacuum Cleaner Won't Run" Troubleshooting Tips
Replacing the wire on the Miele cord winder -- thanks to Georgia B.
Replacing the Miele motor -- thanks to Richard F.

October 2012 update: Before you replace your cord winder like I did, read this! You might be able to repair your Miele for free. The most common problem with the Miele is intermittent or unpredictable operation. This can result in bizarre behavior, such as where the cord rewind switch seems to operate as the power switch. If you jiggle the cord or pull the cord it causes the power to turn on and turn off. There is a simple explanation. What happens is the cord winder develops side to side play, causing intermittent electrical contact between the electrical connectors on the cord winder and those on the inside of the body of the machine. Bending the connectors is a temporary fix. What you need to do is force these connectors back into contact by taking up the excess space on the cord winder reel. Some people use washers (big ones), others make their own spacers out of scrap plastic or whatever they have lying around the house. Someone recently suggested using hose washers. They are usually made out of rubber, readily available at hardware stores or Home Depot etc., and cheap.
Fixing your Miele intermittent electrical connection cord winder problem for free


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