Troubleshooting and Repairing Bernina Sewing Machines Update 07/2022

The Lamborghinis of the sewing world are Bernina sewing machines. However, even the most high-tech devices require occasional maintenance or repairs! Using a Bernina sewing machine repair and troubleshooting guide, you may perform your own repairs.

Repairing a Bernina sewing machine may necessitate relocating the needle bar or adjusting the upper tension. In order to eliminate thread pieces, many models necessitate routine lubrication and thorough cleaning. Repairing bobbin and wire problems can help fix several frequent Bernina problems.

You’ll discover how to fix twelve frequent Bernina sewing machine problems in this post. The location of a certified Bernina repair shop in your area will also be revealed. Tips for finding Bernina components and service instructions are also included.

Bernina Sewing Machine Troubleshooting

What to Know About Bernina Sewing Machines

With their unique reputation in the sewing community, Bernina sewing machines are sought after. High-end devices are sometimes regarded as the best on the market, with a wide range of high-tech features and sometimes astronomical prices. The Bernina company dates back to the mid-1800s and is being run by the Bernina family today!

Throughout its history, Bernina has been at the forefront of sewing innovation. Bernina’s innovations include the first presser foot lifter actuated by the knee and the first portable zig-zag sewing machine. When Bernina released its groundbreaking 830 models, the company had to submit 15 patents to cover all the new technologies employed in this machine!!

As well as upsetting sewing technology’s status quo, Bernina is known for its exact craftsmanship and innovation. Unlike most current sewing machines, Bernina’s high-end versions still use a large proportion of more durable metal to extend the machine’s lifespan.

Bernina sewing machines are popular among sewers because of its combination of cutting-edge technology, dependable construction, and long-lasting components. Because Bernina sewing machines are so expensive, they have only one major downside: While the company does sell entry-level devices for as little as $200, the top-of-the-line machines may go for as much as $25,000 completely new!

Bernina International AG is still headquartered in Switzerland, however most of the company’s products are manufactured in Southeast Asia. Because these earlier Bernina models were created in Switzerland at the original Bernina plant, vintage Bernina models continue to command a high price.

Troubleshooting Bernina Sewing Machines: 12 Common Problems

Sewing machines require routine upkeep and repairs from time to time. Rethreading or removing thread fragments is often all that’s required to get your machine up and running again after what appears to be a disaster or a jam!

But even a Lamborghini need regular maintenance and can break down at any given time. This is true even for high-end sewing machines!! Even Bernina machines will sometimes encounter real issues. Changing a drive belt or altering a needle bar position may seem simple to you, but it all depends on your level of self-assurance.

Bernina troubleshooting guide

1. Where to Start

When it comes to automobiles, even Lamborghinis need regular maintenance and repair. This remains true even for high-tech sewing machines! Problems can arise even with Bernina sewing machines. Changing a drive belt or altering a needle bar position may be within your comfort zone, but only you know your own abilities.

It is in your best interest to learn how to quickly shut down, restart, and rethread your computer prior to becoming overly concerned about the possibility of significant issues with it.

If you haven’t previously, make a point of cleaning your machine on a regular basis. As with any machine that relies on precise fit, even a tiny piece of loose thread can cause major headaches if it’s trapped in the incorrect spot. This can be avoided if you clean on a regular basis.

Whether you encounter a problem, such as a jam, you should try rethreading and then cleaning the machine before turning it back on to see if the problem is resolved.

You’ll save a lot of time and money by not having to have your machine repaired as often if you start with rethreading and cleaning.

Bernina Sewing Machine Repair

2. Machine Won’t Turn On

Even if it’s likely that your computer has gone haywire, it’s best to run through this simple checklist of possibilities before giving up!

  1. Make sure there are no power issues. In addition to the pedal plug, this includes a wall outlet and the connection to the machine! It’s possible that you moved the sewing machine around to create room for the large quilt you needed to accommodate on your sewing table, and that caused a cord-free to get jostled. It’s never a bad idea to double-check the essentials!
  2. If you’re having trouble with a particular outlet, try another one. Your home or workplace may have a fuse problem! To see if the outlet is working, plug in a lamp or a clock and see if it turns on.
  3. Try turning off the power switch. Restart the machine after a two- to three-minute wait. On older models, this “fix” may be possible.
  4. Make sure you replace the lightbulb in your sewing machine before trying to switch it on again in order to get it working again.
  5. When you turn on your sewing machine, does the stitching light come on? A problem with the machine’s internals may be to blame if the light comes on but the rest of it does not.

3. Handwheel Can’t Turn

As soon as the needle bar is unable to rise and fall, you’re in a bind! The grinding noise that accompanies this problem can be a little unnerving. However, do not be alarmed; the majority of the time, simple fixes exist for this problem.

  • In some cases, the handwheel becomes stuck due of fabric tangles called “bird’s nests” under stress. Before re-threading the machine, carefully cut away the tangle and completely clean the bobbin case of any remaining thread. Turn the machine back on and see if this fixes the problem by turning the handwheel!
  • There are several older Bernina models that may require lubrication in order to maintain the handwheel moving freely. Please consult your sewing machine’s handbook before using oil, since many newer models may not require it!
  • A worn-out or outdated belt may have snapped or deteriorated despite your best efforts, even if you’ve tried the above-mentioned simple solutions. This may necessitate hiring a specialist for help.

My bernina sewing machine won t sew

4. Machine Won’t Sew

Using this useful checklist, you can determine whether you can fix the problem yourself if your machine starts up but won’t stitch.

  1. Turning off the machine and rethreading are always good initial steps. Perhaps a thread got loose from the tension discs and got stuck in the mechanism. Try rethreading your machine first to see if you can avoid the more involved procedures. It takes less than 30 seconds!
  2. Especially if you have a computerized model that can perform a wide range of tasks, check the settings. Depending on your machine, you may have to reset the stitch length, pattern, or other settings in order to get back to basic stitching.
  3. A bobbin has just been wound? A problem with the bobbin winding mechanism on some Bernina models stops sewing. Reset your machine to the desired stitch pattern and remove the bobbin winder if you have one.
  4. Similar sensors can be found in some Bernina machines’ bobbin area door. Make sure it’s shut off properly, as it could stop the machine from stitching if it’s left open!
  5. Your sewing machine will also stop working if the needle is bent. Forcing your needle to strike metal and bend it could be the result of using different attachments, like as a zigzag foot or buttonholer. When a bent needle accidentally gets on the feed dogs or another area where it shouldn’t, your sewing machine won’t stitch.

5. Will Only Sew in Reverse

Okay, so you’re not going to run into a Bernina machine that only sews in the reverse mode very frequently! This odd circumstance necessitates an understanding of troubleshooting techniques.

Sewing in reverse is often activated by pressing a button or lever on some machines. If this button becomes stuck, your sewing machine will only sew backwards from that point on.

To access the motor, you’ll need to remove the machine’s case on most versions, old or new. If the reverse lever is hidden behind a circuit board, you’ll have to remove it to get to it.

The reverse lever may just need a little sewing machine oil applied to it if you’re bold enough to poke around inside your sewing machine!

Even if that does not work, your machine will almost certainly require the services of a professional.


Bernina repair

6. Needle Keeps Breaking

Needles do break during sewing from time to time; you may have even discovered a needle with a flaw! A problem could arise if your needles are consistently snapping apart.

Broken needles can be caused by a variety of factors.

  • Bernina suggests using only high-end needles and threads with their machines. It’s true that generic, low-cost needles may not fit your machine correctly and break regularly. We all prefer to save a few pennies.
  • When a needle breaks, the most likely cause for it to do so is that the needle curved over time, perhaps due to striking sewing pins, and then came down hard on the needle plate or feed dogs! To avoid this, make it a habit to switch out your sewing needles on a regular basis.
  • Broken needles can also be caused by using too thick a substance. Make certain that the needle you use for your project is compatible with the type of cloth and thread you intend to use.
  • Keep in mind that different needles are needed for different attachments and functionalities. For example, don’t use a zigzag stitch on top of a ruffle presser foot!
  • Zippers, buttons, and sewing pins should be avoided during sewing. This is common knowledge, yet it’s easy to overlook these hazards if you’re in a rush.

7. Thread Keeps Breaking

Sewing with a snaggletoothed thread is not only time consuming, but it may also be aggravating. Unfortunately, there are numerous possible causes for this widespread problem. To determine whether you can fix the problem, go through this list of possible fixes.

  1. Just in case, it’s always a good idea to rethread everything!
  2. Try to see if you can find anything wrong with the needle. Fraying could occur if the thread is caught on the flaws.
  3. Make sure that the needle size and thread type are compatible. When threaded into the eye of a too-small needle, a too-thick thread may fray and break.
  4. Another possibility is that the top thread is being squeezed too tightly by the upper tension, causing it to snap frequently. Lowering the upper tension will relieve pressure on the top thread in this situation.
  5. If you detect strange loops or spikes of thread emerging from the bobbin, you may need to rewind it!
  6. It’s possible that you’d prefer to sew using vintage thread if you’re a fan of retro decor and antiques. Don’t do that! Despite the fact that it appears beautiful on the spool, the old thread is prone to breaking and creating weak seams.
  7. Keep an eye out for any zero-length stitches when you’re embroidering with a complicated pattern. Regular sewing stitches can also be accidentally changed to zero length when using a touch screen or LCD panel. To avoid the thread from snapping, make sure your settings are correct.

Bobbin Winder Wont Work

8. Bobbin Winder Won’t Work

A bobbin winder that doesn’t operate often has three causes to look into.

  1. Make certain that the pin of the winder does not have a lot of loose thread gathered around it! As a result, if you don’t secure the bobbin or thread before beginning the procedure, you may see the thread wrap around the pin. Remove the thread and begin again if necessary.
  2. In some Bernina bobbin winders, the bobbin rests on a little pad or rubber disc. For now, it’s best to replace this part to see if that fixes the issue.
  3. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to oiling older vehicles, especially those from the pre-1970s. Read your manual carefully to determine if the bobbin widener needs sewing machine oil, and then try lubricating with just a few drops!

9. Hook Problems

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to oiling older vehicles, especially those from the pre-1970s. Read your manual carefully to determine if the bobbin widener needs sewing machine oil, and then try lubricating with just a few drops!

Finally, some older machines, particularly those from before the 1970s, may necessitate frequent oiling to keep them running smoothly. It’s best to consult your sewing machine’s instruction manual before applying any lubricant to the bobbin widener.

Clean the bobbin region with a soft cloth and you’ll be on your way to fixing this problem. Take a magnifying glass to it if necessary, but don’t leave any lint or thread behind! Even a sliver of stray thread can get caught somewhere in the hook system and cause havoc.

Oiling the hook race on some Bernina models is required, and the little reservoir in this location may need to be replenished.

It’s possible that the bobbin case’s tension has to be adjusted, or the sensor on the bobbin door needs to be cleaned of junk.

Finally, there are situations when the hook timing is off. This is a more complicated issue that is best handled by a specialist.

Tension Problem

10. Tension Trouble

Even seasoned seamstresses have problems with sewing machine tension settings, mainly due to the fact that each type of fabric or type of sewing requires a distinct tension setting!

When working on a new project, how can you be sure that your stitching will look the same on the front and reverse of the fabric? Make sure you do these seven things!

  1. Remove any lint from beneath the needle plate by performing a fast cleaning of your machine.
  2. Take advantage of this opportunity to change your needle. If you don’t use the right needle, your project will not be finished.
  3. Make sure your bobbin is spinning in the correct direction by inspecting it. This is something you can look up in your manual! Because of this, it’s important to keep an eye out for thread that unwinds smoothly when the bobbin case is dropped.
  4. The bobbin and the top thread should both be made of the same type of thread. Using threads that are too thick or too thin might lead to problems with tension.
  5. Inspect the thread guides as you go through a thorough rethreading.
  6. Analyze a sample stitching line by sewing a few test stitches through it. Select a lower number on the screen or dial if the bobbin thread is visible on the top of your cloth. In order to prevent the top thread from sagging or tangling beneath the fabric, you should tighten your stitching as necessary.
  7. Finally, based on your findings, try adjusting the tension one number at a time in the desired direction. A single number adjustment will do, so don’t stop until your test stitching is excellent on both sides!

11. Jammed Needlebar

In order for your sewing machine to stitch, it must have a needle bar that may rise and descend. There are a number of reasons why this may occur.

  • To begin, you may have a thread tangle beneath the fabric due to tension difficulties or poor threading. A lot of times, there’s a lot of noise to go along with this inaccuracy. Correct this issue by rethreading your machine and re-testing the tension!
  • Another typical problem is that your handwheel may be malfunctioning, so check out the handwheel section for advice.
  • Finally, needle bar oiling is required on several Bernina models. In older machines, or even in newer machines that haven’t been used much, moving parts may have gotten stuck together, making it difficult to move them. Applying oil as instructed in your manual may take several tries before things begin to move!

12. Belt Issues

Eventually, the non-metal items within your Bernina may wear out, and this includes the belt! A timing belt and a drive belt are two of the most critical belts on your sewing machine.

To be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid tinkering with the sewing machine engine if you can help it. A professional repair is absolutely necessary to ensure that your warranty is not voided if you have one.

Don’t let the lack of a warranty stop you from taking on a more involved repair.

Replace the drive belt by following these instructions:

  1. Use your machine’s model and serial number to get the exact belt you need, and then make an order for a new one.
  2. The screwdriver that came with your sewing machine can be used to remove the sewing machine’s body or cover.
  3. When you remove the old belt from the motor, take a picture of it. Hopefully, this will help you remember how to put things back together!
  4. Start by easing the belt off the gears and working your way to the wheel.
  5. To reach the gears holding the belt, unscrew enough screws to move the motor.
  6. Gently pull the new belt over the gears, starting at the wheel.
  7. Replace the motor cover, tighten the screws, and tighten them again.

Bernina Sewing Machine Parts

Should You Oil a Bernina Sewing Machine?

Even newer types of Bernina sewing machines may necessitate meticulous oiling due to their many working metal elements. How can you tell for certain if you require oil? Take a look at your owner’s guide!

A complete cleaning and oiling instructions is included in every Bernina instruction handbook. Take your time and read this guide thoroughly, since some models may require special oiling in important sections, such as the hook race.

Use just the recommended sewing machine oil, as instructed in the instructions. Other types of oil will cause your machine to become sticky or perhaps break down.

Bernina Sewing Machine Parts

When you get down to the nitty-gritty of sewing machine repair, knowing where to purchase Bernina sewing machine parts is a huge assistance.

There are many ways to find Bernina sewing machine parts. If your machine is still under warranty, contact your local Bernina dealer for a free part or possibly a free repair!

The Bernina brand may be a good place to start even if you have to order and install the part yourself. Get started by visiting the Bernina website!

Although vintage Bernina owners and those who can’t afford such exorbitant costs may want to consider looking for Bernina components and accessories on Etsy, eBay, or Amazon instead. If you prefer to shop in person, you may be able to find some Bernina products at your local sewing shop!

Bernina Sewing Machine Repair Manual

All the moving components and pieces of your Bernina sewing machine repair manual will be explained to you in detail, as well as its numerous functions and how to properly clean and oil the machine. Before using a sewing machine for the first time, always read the instruction booklet first!

A replacement manual can be easily obtained from Bernina. Bernina’s support page is a great resource. To get started, simply enter the make and model of your machine in the appropriate fields.

This page on Bernina’s website may be necessary if you have an older or vintage manual and cannot locate an out-of-print manual.

How Much Does it Cost to Service a Bernina Sewing Machine?

A basic Bernina sewing machine tune-up typically costs $150. A foot control repair, for example, may only cost $55 in total, without including any necessary parts. While this is true, numerous variables, such as the age of your Bernina sewing machine, influence the cost of servicing your machine. The complexity of the problem and the urgency of the repair are also factors.

It is possible that other elements are at play. Bernina will do various services for free if you have a warranty. For further information, check your warranty or get in touch with Bernina customer support.

Repairs are usually priced per hour, but this is not always the case. Before you bring your pricey Bernina to a new store, you should ask a lot of questions!

Take your Bernina to an authorized dealer or service facility only, of course! These technicians are trained and certified to work on your specific model of computer.

Is My Sewing Machine Worth Fixing?

Repairing a Bernina sewing machine is almost always well worth the money spent. In terms of precision and durability, you can’t get better than Bernina. In addition, many high-end models have a wide range of features and cost a lot of money.

A two- or three-hundred-dollar fix on a multi-thousand cost machine is ridiculous!

To save time and money, consider selling your older equipment rather than repairing it if you plan to upgrade to an entirely new model in the near future. But most of the time, getting even an antique Bernina back up and running is definitely worth the effort!

Bernina Service Center

Locating a service center is a breeze when working with Bernina. Simply use the store locator on the Bernina website to find a location near you!

Call the local service center, find out what prices they charge, and make up an appointment! Afterwards,

You can search for “Bernina repair shop” on Google, but going through the company’s website narrows down your results to only those technicians who are approved by Bernina.

Bernina Dealer Near Me

It is not uncommon for Bernina merchants to sell Bernina machines just and not do any repairs. There are several authorized Bernina dealers to choose from on the company’s website if you’re in the market for a sewing machine.

Again, all you have to do is make advantage of the website’s find feature.

Discount Bernina Sewing Machines

Older Bernina models are typically available at a discount if you don’t need the most current, cutting-edge model. You may readily find older or vintage models for sale on the internet.

There are certain Bernina merchants who are willing to discount older models. Vintage models can be found on eBay and Etsy from time to time.

When new, Bernina models are so pricey that even vintage ones are out of reach for most people. Even at a discount, a top-of-the-line Bernina model can cost upwards of $1000 or more.

The good news is that many older or vintage Bernina sewing machines may still sew beautifully for many years to come thanks to the brand’s exceptional craftsmanship!

How Long Does a Bernina Sewing Machine Last?

Bernina sewing machines normally last significantly longer than other sewing machines that employ inexpensive plastic parts, but there is no hard-and-fast rule for how long any kind of sewing machine will last. However, Bernina’s computers at least claim a predicted longevity of fifty years! Some experts estimate that the average computerized sewing machine only lasts five years to twenty-five years.

However, as with any machine, the longevity is dependent on how well it is taken care of. If you follow the care instructions in your manual and have your Bernina serviced by an authorized expert, you should have no trouble keeping it operating for decades!


With their sturdy materials and fine craftsmanship, Bernina sewing machines are able to run for the majority of the time. However, regular maintenance and troubleshooting are required for all sewing machines. Tension problems, broken thread, and stuck needles or handwheels are among issues that can occur with Bernina sewing machines at some point.

Because of the presence of moving metal parts, many Bernina machines require regular lubrication. All Bernina sewing machines must be cleaned on a regular basis to remove stray threads and lint.

Is your sewing machine a Bernina? Is there a particularly bizarre issue with it that you’ve had to deal with? The best way to let us know is to leave a comment below.

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