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Vending Machine Repair: How to Fix a Vending Machine

Learn the essential steps to repair vending machines and keep them running smoothly. Get expert tips for vending machine repair.


Have you ever encountered a vending machine that refused to dispense snacks or beverages to users? It can be frustrating, especially when you're in dire need of keeping multiple vending locations up and running. But fear not; in this article, we will guide you through the process of fixing a vending machine. Whether you're a novice or have some experience in the vending machine business, these tips and tricks will help you get that vending machine back to life again in no time.

How do vending machines work?

Step 1: Selection

The first step in the vending machine process begins with you, the user, making a selection. You approach the machine, browse through the options, and press the corresponding button for your desired item. Behind the scenes, a series of mechanisms start to come to life.

Step 2: Inventory Management

Once you've made your selection, the machine checks its inventory to ensure the item is available. Many modern smart vending machines are equipped with sensors that can detect the presence and quantity of each product. If the chosen item is in stock, the vending machine will proceed to the next step. However, if it's sold out or unavailable, you'll be prompted to make an alternate selection.

Step 3: Payment

Now comes the exciting part: payment! Vending machines offer various payment options, such as coins, bills, credit, debit or EBT cards, and even Cash App or apple payment methods. The machine verifies your payment, ensuring it meets the required amount for your chosen item. Once your payment is confirmed, the vending machine prepares to deliver your purchase.

Step 4: Dispensing

With your payment accepted, it's time for the vending machine to dispense your chosen item. Behind the scenes, a robotic arm or conveyor system retrieves the product from its designated slot or compartment. This is how vending machines work. The item is then delivered to a collection point, ready for you to retrieve it.

Step 5: Changes and Receipts

If you've paid with cash and are owed change, the vending machine calculates the amount and dispenses it to you. Some machines also provide receipts for record-keeping purposes. With your transaction complete, you can enjoy your snack, beverage, or whatever you've chosen!

Now that we've shown you how vending machines work, let's dive deep into the topic at hand.

Common Problems with Vending Machines

a vending machine owner stting at a cafe looking slightly worried

Before delving into the specifics of vending machine repair, it is essential to understand the common issues that can occur. By identifying these problems, you can better diagnose and address them effectively. Here's well explore a few common problems that vending machines may encounter.

Before we do, however, an important notice: For machines to stay functional and therein profitable it's important to run regular vending machine maintenance instead of reacting to urgent stops. Although we may help you fix the common problems, we urge any vending business owner to focus on vending machine maintenance and prioritize education on the matter. You'll be glad you did in a long haul.

1. Power Failure

A power outage or the vending machine being unplugged can lead to a power failure, resulting in the machine shutting down completely. This issue is often simple to fix, requiring you to check the power connection, see how much electricity your vending machine requires to function normally, and ensure it is secure.

2. Coin Mechanism Jam

One of the most frequent issues with vending machines are the coin mechanisms getting jammed. This can prevent customers from inserting coins or cause the machine to dispense incorrect change. To fix this problem, you will need to open the coin mechanism and clear any obstructions or debris.

3. Product Stuck

Sometimes, a product may get stuck in the vending machine, preventing it from dispensing. This can be frustrating for both the operator and the customer. To resolve this issue, you will need to examine the product delivery mechanism, remove the stuck item, and inspect for any underlying issues that may have caused the problem.

4. Vending Machine not Cooling.

For vending machines that dispense refrigerated snacks or beverages, a common issue may be that the cooling system fails to work correctly. This can result in products becoming warm and unappealing. To fix this problem, you'll need to inspect the cooling components, such as the condenser, compressor, and thermostat, and troubleshoot accordingly.

5. Faulty Display or Buttons

A malfunctioning display or buttons can hinder the usability of a vending machine. This issue can prevent customers from selecting their desired products or understanding the vending machine's instructions which may end up with vending machine repair. Fixing this problem, therefore, may involve replacing or repairing the faulty components, ensuring smooth operation.

Now that we have identified some common problems with vending machines, let's dive into the steps to fix them.

How do you fix a vending machine yourself?

1. Safety First

Before attempting any vending machine repair, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Ensure that the vending machine is unplugged and disconnected from any power source. Additionally, use proper protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles, to avoid any injuries.

2. Identify the problem.

Start by identifying the specific issue your vending machine is facing. Is it a power failure, a jammed coin mechanism, or a product stuck in the delivery area? Identifying the problem accurately will guide you towards the appropriate solution.

3. Refer to the Manufacturer's manual.

Consulting the manufacturer's manual is an essential step in the vending machine repair process. The manual will provide valuable information about the machine's components, wiring diagrams, and troubleshooting techniques specific to that model. It is always recommended to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for a safe and effective repair.

4. Power Failure

If your vending machine is not receiving power or if machine heats up, ensure that it is securely plugged into a functioning electrical outlet. Check the power cord for any signs of damage and replace it if necessary. If the power issue persists, it may be a problem with the internal wiring or the vending machine's power supply, requiring professional assistance.

5. Coin Mechanism Jam

To resolve a jammed coin mechanism, start by opening the vending machine's coin door. Use a flashlight to inspect the coin path and mechanism for any obstructions or debris. Clear any foreign objects carefully, ensuring not to damage the delicate components. Apply a silicone-based lubricant to the moving parts of the mechanism to prevent future jams.

6. Product Stuck

If a product is stuck in the vending machine, open the machine's product delivery area. Gently remove the obstructing item, taking care not to damage the dispensing mechanism. Once the product is removed, test the vending machine by dispensing another item to ensure the issue has been resolved. If the problem persists, it may indicate an underlying mechanical or electrical problem that requires professional attention.

7. Vending Machine Cooling Problems

For vending machines with cooling systems, it is crucial to keep the products at the correct temperature for optimal freshness. If the machine is not cooling properly, start by checking the thermostat settings. Ensure that the thermostat is set to the desired temperature and that it is functioning correctly. If the issue persists, inspect the condenser and compressor for any signs of damage or malfunction. Cleaning the condenser coils can also improve cooling efficiency. If all else fails, it is advisable to contact a professional technician experienced in refrigeration repair.

8. Faulty Display or Buttons

To resolve issues with the display or buttons, start by cleaning the surface of the control panel using a cloth and a mild cleaning solution. Sometimes, dirt or debris may interfere with the functioning of these components. If cleaning does not help, check the button connections and wiring for any loose connections or damage. Replacing faulty buttons or the display module may be necessary if the problem persists.

9. Faulty apps

Different apps are operated by vending machines to process orders, display content, and do much more. The entire vending machine can appear broken if one of these background apps starts to misbehave. To locate the issue remotely, you will need remote technical support at this point. After that, you can update the program to fix the flaws or replace it with a new one.

10. Errors in Authentication

When an automated vending machine's authentication procedure is taking too long, error messages like "connection timeout" or "too many transactions" may be displayed. Card reader troubles can occasionally be the result of an issue with the bank's end of things. There is nothing you can do but wait. Resetting the card readers might help test the notion if you're not sure the bank is to blame.

11. A Faulty Evaporator motor fan

Your vending machine's evaporator motor might need to be replaced if the fan is whining. The control board is often attached to the motor, which should operate at the designated voltage. You can use an ohmmeter to determine whether the fan's motor is rotating. The fan may be overly noisy or out of balance if it is spinning.

red vending machine wrapped in a celofane

Tools You'll Need

To efficiently fix vending machines, it's essential for a vending machine business to have a few tools at hand. Here are some tools that can be useful during the troubleshooting process:

• Screwdriver set (both flathead and Phillips)

• Needle-nose pliers

• Multimeter

• Flashlight

• Cleaning supplies (such as an air duster and lint-free cloth)

• Spare fuses and electrical tape

With these tools in your arsenal, you'll be well prepared for most vending machine repair tasks.

What if the problem persists?

Get in touch with your banking partners.

Call the bank if you are experiencing problems with the card readers on your vending machines to check if there are any connectivity problems. If a fully functional machine suddenly demands cash-only payments or stops accepting cards, there is probably a connection issue.

Ensure that you have timely paid your banking fees as well. If not, the bank will sever the connection to your vending machine, preventing it from accepting card payments.

Request Technical support.

Check the owner's manual for customer care information or vending machine repairmen, whether it relates to your card reader or the machine itself. There is probably a phone number you can contact or an email you can send to ask for more help.

To further investigate an issue and perform any necessary repairs, you can also get in touch with a nearby vending machine repair professional.

Run regular maintenance.

Make sure to clean your vending machine frequently to keep it in good working condition. Clean the coils and trays whenever you replenish the stock, and use compressed air frequently to remove debris and dust from the coil condenser. Routine cleanings are the most straightforward technique to prevent errors from reading currency in the future. Currency can bring a lot of grease and dust into your coin mechanism and bill acceptor.

Examine whether you need a coin refill.

Your vending machine might be broken if it won't give change. See if there are enough coins inside to handle transactions by looking inside. A short refill can be the solution to all of your issues.

Make sure to clean up and get rid of any dust and dirt that have accumulated within the vending machine while you're there. If there is any dirt in the sensors of an older vending machine, problems are very likely to occur.


Fixing a vending machine may seem like a daunting task, but armed with the right knowledge and tools, it becomes much more manageable. By understanding the basics, troubleshooting common problems, and implementing preventive measures, you can save time, money, and frustration.

However, it's crucial to remember that some vending machine issues may require professional assistance. If you're unsure or uncomfortable with any repair task, it's best to contact a qualified technician. They possess the expertise and experience to handle complex repairs and ensure the vending machine operates smoothly.

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