Dryer Not Spinning? Here Are 4 DIY Fixes

By: Toni Matthews-El

If you reach into your dryer to remove clothes only to find that they’re still soaking wet, or you notice that despite being “on,” your dryer refuses to tumble, it may need some maintenance. Keep reading to learn about the common issues that cause a dryer to stop spinning and what you can do to solve the problem.

Reasons your dryer won’t spin

There could be a few different reasons why your dryer isn’t spinning. Below are the most common:

  • It’s not plugged in—The first thing you should do is make sure that your dryer is correctly plugged in. Also, check that there aren’t any power-related issues such as a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse
  • There’s a faulty door switch—If your dryer has a faulty door switch (you can tell if it’s faulty if the drum light doesn’t turn off), it won’t run a dry cycle.
  • It has a seized drum—Check to see if the drum is hard to move manually. If you find it difficult to rotate, it’s possible the drum has seized. 
  • The thermal fuse isn’t working—This is attached to the dryer’s heating chamber as a safety mechanism. Should the thermal fuse blow (it typically blows if the temperature becomes too high), it will disrupt the main power supply.
  • The dryer belt is broken—Over time, wear and tear can cause the dryer belt to snap. Because the belt is what essentially rotates your drum and lets your clothes dry, the appliance will not be able to dry your clothes without it.
  • It has a broken motor—Your dryer motor is what turns the belt that turns the tumbler. If the motor is broken, the dryer drum won’t turn.
  • The drum rollers are malfunctioning—If the rollers don’t spin freely, the motor will become overloaded and the dryer will completely stop. To determine if these rollers are worn out, remove the dryer belt and turn the drum by hand. If the drum has trouble spinning or doesn’t turn freely, check the rollers for wear and tear. While you’re checking the drum rollers, be sure to inspect the drum roller axles as well. If the drum support rollers wobble and aren’t in good condition, the axles will need to be replaced.

Common solutions for a dryer not spinning

Here’s how you can get your dryer to spin again:

1. Push the reset button

In the event that a dryer won’t operate correctly, you might have to reset the appliance via its reset button.

2. Learn the best way for replacing faulty parts

If you’re having issues with a faulty switch or a broken dryer belt, you’ll need to replace these malfunctioning parts as soon as possible. Depending on the item that’s broken, you might be able to find an alternative piece at a store or online.

It’s possible that some parts for your specific model number can only be purchased through the manufacturer. Contact the company to see if you must get a part through them. If you purchase a part from a separate home improvement store, you may find that this part isn’t compatible with your device and that it will only work with a piece you get directly from the machine’s manufacturer.

3. Replace the dryer belt

Inspect the belt and see if it’s in good condition or needs to be replaced. If you’re not confident in your ability to replace the dryer belt yourself, hire a technician. Expect to spend about $200 for professional assistance and about $20 for a new dryer belt.

How to get your dryer to start spinning again

If your dryer still isn’t spinning, there are a series of steps you can take in order to remove a worn or broken dryer belt yourself.

Materials

  • Putty knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Gloves (to protect your hands)

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Disable the power—Before doing anything, make sure there’s no power going to the machine. In the event that your dryer is powered by gas, shut off the gas supply.
  2. Check the thermal fuse—Checking to see if there’s a blown fuse involves removing the back panel of your dryer and using a continuity test to see if it’s blown. While it’s easy to replace a thermal fuse, you’ll want to determine if your dryer has an overheating issue. If you don’t check for this, the thermal fuse might blow again in the future.
  3. Raise the lid on the machine—Lift the lid and get a look at the state of the dryer belt. If it’s worn or visibly torn, you’ll have to replace it.
  4. Remove the front panel—After disconnecting the electrical connection to the front of the dryer, remove the front panel’s mounting screws.
  5. Remove the old belt—Depending on the type of dryer, it might be possible to remove the old belt without taking off the drum. If this isn’t possible, cut the old belt away and then carefully remove the drum so that you can access the motor and idler pulley.
  6. Install the new belt—Thread the new drive belt either through or around the idler pulley (this will depend on specific manufacturer instructions). Then, thread the belt over the drive motor pulley. You’ll want to place the new belt around the dryer drum so that the rubber surface of the belt touches the drum.
  7. Reposition the drum—Once the new belt is in place, carefully put the drum back into position. Reinstall items in the order they were taken apart. Once all parts are back in their correct positions, plug the machine back in. Don’t forget to turn on the gas if this was previously disabled.

When to call in a professional

While it may be tempting to try and fix your dryer on your own, there are situations where a professional repair job is the best solution. Here are a few examples of when  you should call a professional to help: 

You’re not sure what to do

If you’re genuinely confused about what’s wrong with your dryer or you don’t feel confident fixing the machine yourself, call a technician. Never attempt a DIY job under uncertain circumstances—it’s possible you could make the problem worse, which could result in you having to spend more money on repairs or buying a new dryer altogether.

You’re not sure of your own safety

If there’s a massive electrical or heating issue with your dryer or something else that makes you worry you can’t perform the correct maintenance, you should certainly contact a professional. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you get badly burned or suffer an electric shock. 

The service is affordable and saves you time

If you don’t have the time to repair your dryer, find a professional that you trust to complete the repairs for you. Ask friends and family for recommendations, read trusted, third-party reviews, and give a technician a call.

The problem doesn’t seem to be the dryer

It’s possible that your appliance isn’t working for reasons that aren’t directly related to the device. Was there a severe power failure that requires an electrician’s attention? Is there a water issue that might need a plumber’s expertise? If you’re looking at a larger issue that goes beyond the appliance, you might need to call for professional help.

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