Gather your tools. You will need a flat head screwdriver, and you should use the flat paddle attachment of the mixer -- not the dough hook or whisk.
In the world of stand mixers, there's two different types. Those with a tilting head and those with a bowl that raises and lowers while the head stays still. I've never been much for tilting models, but the process of adjusting both styles is nearly identical. It's easier than you think and will make your appliance last longer and food taste better!
What You Need
Flat beater blade (not a whisk or dough hook)
Flat head screwdriver
1. How to know whether your mixer needs adjustments: Listen to it
Let's start at the very beginning. How do you know whether your mixer needs adjusting? There's no magical bell or whistle that sounds or light that signals your attention, so how do you know?
For starters, you listen. If your bowl height is too high, you'll hear the adjustment needing to be made before you see any signs of damage to your bowl or blades. It sounds like, well, metal on metal. If your bowl is too low, you won't hear it, but will notice that the bottom and sides are continually not being scraped down.
2. How to know whether your mixer needs adjustments: Check for signs of damage
Once your bowl height has shifted, the more you use it without taking a moment to adjust it, the more damage it will cause. Check the bottom of the beater blade and the inside bottom of the bowl for wear and tear. If there are loose bits of metal, it might be time to get a new beater, and if there's an issue with the finish or deep scratches, then it might be time to look into another bowl for sanitary reasons. Mostly, it will just look gnarly, but be just fine. You just don't want any loose metal in your food.
3. Unplug the mixer
This is the first rule in any electronic repair. Safety first!
4. Locate the adjusting screw
• For Stationary head models: The screw on a model with a stationary head will be directly behind the piece that contains the arms that hold the bowl. When it's in the down or lowered position you'll be able to see it. When the bowl is raised, it will go into hiding, so lower those bowls!
• For tilt head models: If you have a tilt head model, the screw is almost in the same place. It will sit right below where the head attaches to the stand. You'll need to have the head tilted back in order to see it!
5. Making the adjustment
To make the beater and the bowl further apart (so lowering your bowl or raising your head depending on the model), you'll turn the screw to the right. If you need to shorten the distance (if it keeps leaving food on the sides and bottom), turn the screw to the left.
6. Reattach the parts
Add your beater blade back onto your mixer and put your bowl into place. Lock things in and check first to see if your blade is touching in places it shouldn't. Checking visually first will help in case you turned the screw the wrong direction and will save you before you grind your blade into your bowl.
7. Test the mixer
With everything hooked up, plug the mixer in and turn it on. Start it on low and listen. Hopefully you shouldn't have any metallic sounds coming from the mixer. Turn the speed up and listen again. Turn the mixer off.
8. Make further adjustments
After you've tested it out, there's a good chance you'll be a little off. Make the needed adjustments, turning the screw left or right as needed until you find the right spot.
Now that you know how to adjust things and just how simple it is, make sure you take care of it the first time you notice things being a bit off! Even a little rubbing of the two parts can cause metal to end up in your food and although we're always looking for more ways to get a little iron in our diets, that's probably not one of them!
(Images: Sarah Rae Trover)