October 31, 2014

Can KitchenAid Stand up to the Grind?

One of the easiest ways I have found to get calcium and vitamins into my kids is to offer them smoothies as an after school snack.I just throw a variety of frozen fruit, yogurt and some milk into the blender and produce a treat they love. This is a great time of year to pull out the blender and make a cool treat.

I have been doing this for years using a Hamilton Beach blender I purchased on sale at a local drugstore almost twenty years ago. Now we have a problem. kitchenaid-blender.gifAbout five years ago, my husband bought me a Kitchenaid blender that claims to be strong enough to crush ice at all speeds, but after years of occasional use, the coupler started breaking apart.The coupler is that small black gear-like circle that connects the blender jar and blades to the base. It has broken in two stages. The first time, when two pieces broke off, I called Kitchenaid customer service. The representative there was friendly and sympathetic, but as our blender was out of warranty, she offered no advice other than that we could continue to use the blender as it was although, it would add a slight strain to the motor and therefore shorten the lifespan of the appliance somewhat.

kitchenaid-blender-drive-coupling.gif

So, we continued using the blender for the next few months.Yesterday, two more pieces of coupler broke off.I have sent the base to be repaired at an authorized repair shop at a cost of $25. This is not a huge cost, but as a percentage of an $80 blender, it seems high considering how often (or not, really) we used it. I just think a blender that claims to be an ice crushing, high powered appliance, made by a quality manufacturer should be more durable.

Comments

  1. I just had the same coupler problem happen. Thanks to Laserist for the perfect link to order a replacement (above). It is hard to believe and so disappointing that Kitchen Aid is not standing behind their product. Hopefully they will see a decline in sales and wake up.

  2. BlenderMan says:

    Add me to the list. Three teeth fell off our coupler today, as my wife was making a smoothie. Guess those bananas were harder than we thought! We have model Number KSB5ER4, not that it matters. Just wanted my voice to be heard. I suppose I should go to the Mending Shed site, and not event try to bother KitchenAid for a free replacement. Given how long these posts have been occurring, I don’t imagine that they have changed their terrible policy. No more KItchenAid for us.

  3. Charles Redding says:

    Well it seems I have lots of company in regards to Kitchenaid and its junk product. Not only has the coupler failed on my blender TWICE in one year, that was followed by the rubber O ring splitting in half, then the keypad failing, rendering the whole unit useless. Mind you I do NOT use the blender to crush ice, grind meat or any other laborious task. I have had this unit for a couple of years and it has cost me almost the same in repairs as it cost me to buy it originally. With the failed keypad, I contacted Kitchenaid in hopes of actually getting customer service and better yet the replacement part and fixing it myself. THe part is/was not available to customers I was told, then I was referred to a service center 15 miles away. Huh? I was NOT paying ridiculous sums in repair/labor and parts cost for this junk blender. Kitchen aid is on top of my SH*TLIST FOREVER!!!!!! I will never buy another kitchen aid product again.

  4. Unbeleivable! We have had the same problem with our mixer…. Getting ready to order our second coupler… My son almost ate the little black piece that fell out of the end of the blender, thinking it was a chocolate chip (he’s 3!). THIS IS RIDICULOUS… Kitchen Aide needs to make good about this issue and do it soon.

  5. I used blender to grind flax seeds – easiest thing to do but I was totally surprised once I removed the jar only to see coupler disintegrated, looked like the coupler melted down, bits of black pieces falling off. Just couldn’t believe how Kitchen Aid manufactured such a product! So it seems that Kitchen Aid Customer Service aren’t willing to do anything about this…

  6. Stephen says:

    I found this site like most
    others have. SEARCHING for KitchenAid blender complaints. As expensive as this thing was, it is broken, & the old K Mart 25 year old stand-by blender is in use. Customer support was seeming helpful, but she could not do anything other than link me to a site which sold parts. GREAT,, I THOUGHT. I have a model KSB560GC0 , & I need the coupling part on the top of the base & the part that meshes with it located at the bottom of the pitcher. NOPE !!! I was told by a shop to ” junk it . “” A horribly designed item, not worth the repair .” I am unable to find that one part I need from the bottom of the pitcher & cannot even find a part number for it. It ataches to the same shaft as the blades. I am suppose to buy the ENTIRE pitcher assembly for $$$. I referred customer support to ” this link ” & told her that if I couldn’t get any help,,, my post would be on here/ && Here it is !!!!

    Anyone have a ” lead ” on the parts I need ??

  7. I just had the coupler melt into silly putty after blending some fruit drink. KitchenAid will never be on my list again. I had also a problems with a side by side refigerator and coffee maker both made by KitchenAid. This is not the Kitchen Aid products your mom owned. Kitchen Aid products are cheaply made, poorly designed and over priced. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND STAY AWAY FROM KITCHEN AID PRODUCTS.

  8. Stephen says:

    I sent in a complaint to this site & all others may wish to as well. Maybe enought complaints will get something done.

    http://www.kitchenaid.com/flash.cmd?/#/page/customer-service-contact

  9. I just repaired my blender. I was able to buy a coupler, the part that is mounted on top of base, & replace it. The KSB 560 series coupling UNSCREWS off, not pried !! It unscrews CLOCKWISE !! A little trick I found made it easy ! Contact me if wanted.
    I negotiated a heavily discounted price for K/A for a new jar. It is usually $39-$69, online, but I got it for $18.50 plus shipping. All together, about $37 in costs to get it running again.

  10. ELLEN SULCER says:

    My Kitchenaid blender Model KSB3WH3 failed this week like many of the above. The gear coupler just melted into silly putty while I was making a peach shake. I have removed it & plan to repair it myself. Meanwhile I will be researching other brands & hopefully buy a better product in the near future. Previously I used a harvest gold colored Oster that my ex had when we married. It still worked & he took it with him when he left after 25 yrs. I have a KA stand mixer that works fine but leaks oil on the counter each time I use it. I also have a KA hand mixer but rely on my inexpensive Hamilton Beach because the beaters will actually whip meringue. Kitchenaid hasn’t impressed me & I never plan on purchasing another one of their products.

  11. The tradition of failure continues – complaint #61. August 8, 2010 the rubber coupler on the Kitchenaid blender broke in pieces. We used it maybe 6 times a year for making milk shakes.
    Model # KSB50B3 Serial # WJ3711601. Interestingly when I typed in the model number the official Kitchen Aid Website it doesn’t recognize the model and returns zero responses. Someone above says they’re an engineer and this is clearly a design flaw. Well I’m a chemist and why would anyone use a “rubber/plastic” material for a motor shaft coupler? Rubber doesn’t have the right material performance characteristics for that kind of work. I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming before I spent $70 on a Kitchen-Aid brand blender.

  12. I had the same problem and I called Kitchen Aid for the replacement part. It was TOO expensive! So I did a Google search to find the part somewhere else. I found the exact part for less than $4. My husband found instructions on how to replace it on line as well. It’s been working fine for the last several years with LOTS of use. It broke again today so we’re going to get another clutch. Found one this time for $3.55 so I decided to order two.

  13. Our coupler lost all of it’s teeth one smoothie! I’m lost as to how Kitchen Aid can produce such rubbish and have no offer to replace it!

  14. All the teeth on one smoothie, here too!

  15. I just sheared all the teeth off my blender k5b5ssob4 while making a milk shake. The blender is about 4 years old and receives very little use. You are all correct that this is a poorly designed blender. It is unfortunate we consumers must pick up the tab for kitchenaids incompetence. Maybe the replacement coupler is a good annuity for kitchenaid. I can only vote with my pocketbook, no more kitchenaid here.

  16. Theresa Niner says:

    I was relieved to find your site but also disappointed to read how many others have had the same issue as I have with the KitchenAid blender coupler. My Model # KSB50B4 is 5 years old and has spent most of it’s life in the kitchen cupboard. We rarely use it, but like other tools, when you need a specific one, it’s good to have it around.
    I have relied on the KitchenAid name and trusted the brand for many years, which is why I purchased an expensive blender for occasional use, but this experience has swayed my confidence in the brand. In the middle of using the blender to puree a soup last night, the coupler totally disintegrated. The coupler became the consistency of putty and 5 of the 6 teeth sloughed off. I thought perhaps mine was a fluke, but given the longstanding complaints on this site for this very problem, KitchenAid obviously knows of this flaw and should have recalled this product long ago. I’m disappointed in them.

    I’ll purchase a replacement coupler and repair it myself but this long time KitchenAid customer will look elsewhere for my next small appliance purchase.

  17. We had the same exact thing happen with the rubber coupler. Pieces were flying off and a burning smell was occurring. The blender is about 6 years old, used mostly for smoothies and in the past year, we have been adding more ice and frozen fruit to the smoothies. KA couldn’t seem to stand up to that. I will likely buy replacement part as the rest of the blender is fine–I hate to dump it in a landfill too. We’ll just have to see how long it then lasts. Thank you to all for posting and sharing. Sad to know this is a common problem, but happy that there is an answer.
    :)L

  18. I was blending some soup last night and noticed a burning smell, when I turned the blender off and lifted the glass container off the base….I saw that the tips of the rubber coupling unit had disintegrated. Similar to most of the other people who are on this site…I rarely use this machine…it’s about 6 years old.

    Not sure why we should have to pay for the coupling unit if it is a virtually universal defect. Has anyone been able to get Kitchen Aid to stand behind this problem? Please advise, thanks.

  19. D. McManus says:

    I am a Us citizen living inAustralia. I, like so many others, was excited to finally be able to purchase a Kitchen Aid blender, relying on it’s excellent reputation for quality products expecting it to last years. Unlike others in USA it was astronomically expensive in Australia, costing me almost $250. This I was willing to pay for quality but what I got was a piece of junk made with poor quality plastic gears that broke off in stages until last night rendered it useless. Now where to get fixed and at what cost and why?

    Kitchen Aid should put out a recall to replace what is obviously a manufacturer defect. I am at a loss hey this has not been done. They should lift their game or will lose customers forever. Having experienced this firsthand, I will not buy another product from them.

    Mine is model 5KSB5SS

  20. Anne Campbell says:

    My blender finally bit the dust with coupler unit like so many reported here. Its been disintergrating for about a month and while blending soup today it began to emit a fine dark smoke and now there are no coupler blades…poof gone.
    I will never buy Kitchen aid again, since this is such an obvious design flaw and that they will not replace free of charge. Thats it for me Kitchen Aid. I’ll be sure to spread the word about not buying any of their products ever again.

  21. THIS IS INSANE: BUYING A HIGH-END ITEM, FROM A COMPANY THAT , IN THE PAST, HAD A STERLING REPUTATION FOR RELIABILITY, DURABILITY AND LASTING-POWER.

    I PURCHASED A TOP OF THE LINE KITCHENAID BLENDER AT MACY’S, USED IT ONCE, KNEW IT WAS DEFECTIVE, PUT IT BACK INTO THE BOX AND WILL RETURN IT. I REFUSE TO KEEP DEFECTIVE MERCHANDISE.

    BUYING ADDITIONAL DEFECTIVE PARTS IS REALLY IRRATIONAL.
    KITCHENAID SHOULD RECOGNIZE THIS AS THE HEALTH HAZARD THAT IT IS, AND PROMPTLY RECALL THEM,REPLACING THEM WITH A QUALITY APPLIANCE, THAT WHICH IS ADVERTISED/DESCRIBED, NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS.
    THESE POSTS STARTED A FEW YEARS AGO AND HAVE CONTINUED.
    THERE ARE OBVIOUS SAFETY HAZARDS; WILL IT TAKE WRONGFUL DEATHS FOR PEOPLE TO GET KITCHENAID’S ATTENTION?
    BEFORE OUTSOURCING, ESPECIALLY TO CHINA, PRODUCTS PRETTY MUCH DID AS ADVERTISED/PROMISED. BUT, OUTSOURCING YIELDS MORE PROFITS, MAKING ONLY THE SHARE-HOLDERS HAPPY–AND RICHER!
    OUR UNITED STATES USED TO BUILD WITH PRIDE, THEN CAME PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE, NOW I AM NOSTALGIC FOR EVEN THAT! AT LEAST WITH THAT, THE PRODUCT FUNCTIONED OUT OF THE BOX! NOW, MANY MAJOR PRODUCTS AREN’T EVEN WORTH THE SHIPPING CHARGES.

    I THINK KITCHENAID ENJOYS THE ADDITIONAL PROFITS BY SELLING HAPLESS CUSTOMERS REPLACEMENT PARTS, ADDING INSULT TO INJURY.

    IF PURCHASED ONLINE, YES, IT’S A HASSLE RETURNING THEM, BUT HOW MUCH TIME/ENERGY, NOT TO MENTION MONEY! IS INVOLVED IN PLAYING THEIR “SPENDING GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD” GAME??? THAT PLAYS RIGHT INTO THE SELLER’S/MANUFACTURER’S HANDS: THEY RELY ON PEOPLE BEING TOO BUSY
    TO RETURN THE JUNK. YOU CAN CALL YOUR BANK AND ASK THEM TO REMOVE THE CHARGE…THAT GETS YOU THE ATTENTION YOU NEED TO MAKE THE SELLING COMPANY ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE MERCHANDISE THEY SELL. NOT ONLY SHOULD THEY THEN OFFER TO EXCHANGE OR REFUND IN FULL–YOUR PREFERANCE–BUT TO ALSO OFFER AN INCENTIVE (DISCOUNT, CREDIT, ETC.) TO RETAIN YOUR BUSINESS AND MOREOVER, YOUR GOOD WILL. THAT’S CUSTOMER SERVICE. THESE DAYS, IT SEEMS THAT ALL WE GET IS CUSTOMER DIS-SERVICE, EMPHASIS ON DIS…

    THERE ARE NOW EXCELLENT CONSUMER COMPLAINT SITES:
    1. http://www.consumeraffairs.com
    2. http://www.measuredup.com

    I JUST DISCOVERED THESE SITES; COMPLAINTS POSTED THERE GO PUBLIC INSTANTANEOUSLY TO MILLIONS OF CONSUMERS. COMPANIES DON’T WANT SUCH MASS NEGATIVE PUBLICITY. MORE CLOUT THAN BBB!!!!!

    WE CAN’T ENCOURAGE MORE OF THIS DISHONESTY BY ALLOWING THESE COMPANIES TO CONTINUE WITH THESE SHADY, DISHONEST PRACTICES.

    YES WE CAN MAKE COMPANIES ONCE AGAIN ACCOUNTABLE…IT’S UP TO US, BY REFUSING TO KEEP DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS.

  22. same thing lost all the couplings while making a smoothie .

    That blender is not cheap and they keep selling because of

    the name .So long kitchenaid ….

  23. Janet Dean says:

    I was looking for a website to report my problem to Kitchenaid but after reading all these complaints I guess there is really no point. I bought a Kitchenaid enamel clad iron dutch oven and yes it was expensive. I have used it 2 times and cleaned it per manufacturer recommendations. Today I tried to use it for the third time and the enamel interior started peeling off in large pieces in our food. I have been wanting a Kitchenaid Pro600 stand mixer but now I don’t want anything that has anything to do with Kitchenaid. They should change the name to Kitchencrap.
    Good luck to everyone though–we are at their mercy!!!

  24. Sigh! Exact same issue here – 3 year old blender, used maybe 15 times – teeth on coupler disintegrated last week – and it cost a heckuva lot of money here in South Africa.

    Never again – what poor quality from a supposed high end brand.

  25. I have an older KSB5. Blender was purchased in 1994. Coupler problem did not start until pitcher had to be replaced in 2010. Spider gear came loose from shaft going to blades. Spider gear has 6 prongs on it, each one engaging a tooth on the coupler. Replacement pithcer/ blade assembly only has 2 prongs on spider gear. Evidently the 6 prong blade assembly lasted to long. I spent 50 dollars on the new pitcher assembly, and still do not have a blender that works.I hate to spend even a few more dollars on this blender, because I feel the machine is sub standard, with the 2 prong blade assembly.

  26. so much for quality. My teeth all broke off. I had them replaced at a repair shop, not cheap. Now they are broken off again.

  27. Michelle says:

    I bought my blender believing in the quality of KitchenAid. I won’t be making that mistake again. It is quite shocking to see how common a complaint this is, and how there appears to be a whole retail industry to supply this particular replacement part (Amazon, Ebay as well as independent sellers).

  28. We have the same blender, and the teeth just all shaved off. It’s not like we’ve used it much at all, it usually sits up in the cupboard, and we’ve had it 5 or 6 years. This thing was advertised as having “the most powerful household blender motor in the world” Yet, somehow, the thing never seems to be able to blend well, even when new. I wondered if it was the shape of the glass canister (square), with too much space at the bottom. It should be more funnel-shaped, perhaps, so that everything is pulled to the bottom and then pushed back up, continuously.

  29. I have read/watched how to remove the coupler, but on mine the motor shaft spins either way, both clockwise and counter-clockwise, when the motor is off. I can hit it all I want, from one direction or another, and it will just spin. The Kitchenaid document says to just pry it up off the shaft with a screwdriver–but how is that supposed to not strip the threads?

    The $4 part doesn’t seem too big a deal, but his is turning into yet another Project.

    Are there other brands/models that aren’t just $@#%?!?!?!?

  30. Why would you use a soft rubber coupler to turn metal and chop ice? Ours was disintegrating, is now just melted and soft. I was only blending frozen strawberries with yogurt and water! And I frequently stop it to remix and give it a break. Amazingly cheap expensive product. So disappointed!

  31. William Fishburne says:

    I talked to Kitchen Aid about this problem when it happened to me. It is designed to fail and that is not a bad thing. When something gets jammed in that would prevent the blades from spinning the coupler breaks instead of the motor burning out. I completely understand and agree with your frustration, but now, at least, I understand why it happens. I’ve ordered an extra to keep on hand when it breaks again. And it will. And I’ll be relieved that the motor didn’t burn out.

  32. Matilda says:

    My coupler lost two teeth yesterday, but I don’t mind replacing the part. I’ve had my blender for over six years, and I use it very often for smoothies, soups, sauces, etc. If it’s either the coupler or the motor, I’ll take the coupler.

  33. Patrick says:

    My coupler also lost his teeth recently. Could not find any info about this on de website of KitchenAid and that frustrated me. Searching I found this article with all the reactions. I also found a site with parts and ordered a replacement part. My 8 year old blender is up and running again.

    I still was angry on KitchenAid about their lack of customer information about this and wrote them my compliant. Received a quick message about an internal forward and expected not to hear anything anymore. Today, few weeks later, i received a very clear explanation about their choice of rubber and reasons why the coupler can break after time and use. They also will send me a new part. For me a bad customer experience is completely turned positive. I just advised them to put such info on their customer site.

    Feels right for me you share this experience here with all disappointed customers.

  34. Sheila Z says:

    Used the blender about 20 times a year (to make smoothies) for the past 6 years (think I’ve had it that long). Last year the coupler broke and after several months I finally found the right part and replaced it. It has worked now for the past 6 or 7 months until today and now the motor is sounds odd and has a burning rubber smell. Don’t think I’ll ever buy KitchenAid again. My daughter also received a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas and that is the most under powered piece of #&@^@! Can’t even mix bread dough with the dough hook without is grinding to a halt. Garbage!

  35. It is incredible to find so many others whose KitchenAid blender coupler/clutches have had the same type of failure problem! Not sure what caused mine…was “blending” a fruit & veggie smoothie drink when the blender started dancing & vibrating on the counter. I placed my hands on the blender to stabilize it & check it out, when suddenly smoke started coming from the motor housing! The coupler had heated up and entirely separated from the metal disk! Additionally, no doubt due to heat & centrifugal force, some of the rubber adhered to circular surface on the underside of the blade assembly! Not sure what caused it or even if repaired that the motor will hold out. What would we do without net forums? Glad that all affected were so “burned” up that they took the time to post their experiences & displeasure. At the very least, Whirlpool should have re-designed (and still could) the coupling/clutch part.

  36. chris johnstone says:

    Didn’t read all of these but skimmed enough to get the gist that the silly little rubber drive gear on top of the blender base breaks easy and often. I have had three break with little provocation. At the appliance parts supplier in my area, the counter guy got ugly when I aked him why they made this part so cheesy. “Would you rather have the motor burn out??” was his reply. I had an Osterizer blender for twenty five years and worked the heck out of it and nothing broke or burned up. Hats off to the genius who engineered this little piece of junk!

  37. I have a blender in Australia and thought that I was buying good old “Made in USA” It has eaten several drive couplers, but this time the motor has decided to go into lazy mode. Spins on all settings but does not have the power to “blend” Importer to Aus has a “full” mailbox so no joy there. Looks like the chinese brand wins again. Most disappointing result from a so called top brand product.

  38. Terry Vasseur says:

    Got the blender out to mix a few drinks for Christmas. I hadn’t used my KitchenAid KSB5OB4 for some time. It seemed to labor under load of mango, Cognac, and ice. When I lifted the pitcher off the base all these little rubber teeth fell out. The old Waring blender lasted a whole lot longer than this pretty piece of crap.

  39. Hello everyone. The rubber coupler is a safety mechanism that is purposefully designed to fail. This ensures that the motor does not burn out due to being restrained beyond it’s designed capacity while in the on position. The part is common to replace and inexpensive. Any other mixer at this starter price range would be toast with no hope of replacement parts. Kitchen aid = replacement parts readily available and easy to service. If the rubber coupler breaks it is because it has been stressed beyond it’s designed capacity limit. Best regards Jolene small electronics tech.

  40. fred weedman says:

    Mine broke ‘grinding’ peeled tomatoes. Bought 7 years ago, but used maybe 125 times for the same exact thing. Is that a lot of times to use an appliance? I don’t think so. Maybe Costco will exchange it–I just found the old receipt.

  41. I am so happy to have found company for my miserable experience with this Kitchen Aid Blender. The burning smell – the lack of customer service — all of it!!!! And I used this blender about 5 times in 5 years. Now that it’s broken I’m tempted to buy another brand rather than go through all the efforts cited above (below?) on this comment forum.

    THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR POSTS.

  42. Just read any of the previous posts…same applies to me. If the part is “designed to fail”, Kitchen Aid should have the part readily available on their website for about 1.00 with free shipping. My blender has never been used for anything except milkshakes…if this “restrains it beyond it’s designed capacity”, then maybe it should be called a water stirring appliance. Model # ksb3wh3.

  43. A tooth of my Kitchen Aid blender coupler just broke while I was blending a cup of fully thawed fruit, 6 pieces of frozen fruit, a cup of milk, and a scoop of ice cream. I dug out my old Oster blender and will consider junking the Kitchen Aid. I googled “My Kitchen Aid blender broke”, and could not believe so many others have had the same problem.

  44. so who is getting what? considering a lower end vita mix. seems repairing the kitchen aid is useless.

  45. Clearly Kitchenaid has spent more money on branding themselves than in making good, solid products you can count on. Just making a simple smoother and the coupler suddenly ground into a golfball sized piece of hot plastic. Junk.

    Now, I can get another coupling for under $10.00. But that’s not the point. When my Whirlpool plastic door washing machine liner started molding in a few spots, the company sent me a brand new one without charge!!! Now, that’s service. A coupler doesn’t cost more than $.50 on Amazon (it’s the shipping that’s the expensive part). You’d think that for $.50 KitchenAid could buy more good will than any ad campaign. But instead they’ve bought alienation.

    I will NEVER buy another KitchenAid product again. And there you have it.

  46. And, by the way, I sitll have an Osterizer from the 1970s. I wanted a newer, prettier model than that old olive green color. Stupid me. That thing was still working like a dog 35 years later!!!!

  47. reed savage says:

    I have experienced what seems to be a common problem with my blender. The plastic parts that rotate the blades has decomposed and the unit is virtually inoperable!!!!!

  48. reed savage says:

    my comment was rejected since many have established the same complaint about the defective rubber parts!

  49. Donna in Florida says:

    SO disappointed to research how to repair/replace my Kitchenaid mixer coupling and see the wealth of posts from consumers exactly in the same boat that I am. Will look into getting a replacement coupling on Amazon or elsewhere, but will never, ever purchase another Kitchenaid appliance. We used our blender maybe 6-7 times at the very most, and the coupling cracked and disentigrated into crumbs. We have a stand-alone mixer that my father purchased for me 13 years ago, and it works great, never a problem and it gets a lot of use. But this blender–JUNK!!