When your dryer won’t start, you want to fix the problem quickly and affordably. Use our troubleshooting guide to decide whether you can fix it yourself or whether you’ll need to call a pro.
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Dryer Won’t Start: Troubleshooting Guide
Many reasons can explain why a dryer won’t start. If your dryer won’t start when you try to run it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a significant repair is needed.
You may be able to get the parts you need and fix it yourself in a matter of minutes. Even if you feel the required repair is above your level of experience, you can always call a trusted professional appliance repair company.
You can be sure that they’ll come out and fix the problem for you. Dryer problems range from things like faulty electrical switches and broken belts to burned-out control boards and power supply issues.
Dryer Won’t Start? There Might Be an Easy Fix
If you’re lucky, the fix could be an easy one. At the very least, it’s worth troubleshooting your dryer problem to see what you think the issue could be. This could help point a repair specialist in the right direction and speed up the repair process.
And if you can manage to fix it yourself or have a specialist do it, you’ll save yourself a lot of money by avoiding purchasing a new dryer. After all, a new one can easily cost over $500.
Below, we list the most common problems you may be experiencing, along with the underlying reasons a dryer won’t start. Check below to find out which issue is happening to your dryer and how to repair it.
Nothing Happens When You Push the Start Switch
If you push the dryer start switch and nothing happens, the problem is likely with the start switch. You’ll need a multimeter, a pair of needle-nose pliers, and a screwdriver to diagnose the problem.
- Unplug the dryer from the outlet. This is important! Now, use your screwdriver to unscrew the front console panel cover. You might have to remove pieces of trim to access the screws, but they’ll snap right back into place when you’re done.
- Note where the start switch is and label the 2-3 wires leading to it with electrical tape to ensure you can reattach them exactly as they are. Carefully remove the wires from the metal slip-on connectors, grab the connectors with your needle nose pliers, and firmly pull on them – not the wires themselves.
- Use your multimeter to test the start switch for continuity. Set the multimeter to measure resistance with a scale of Rx1. Use one tester probe to touch each of the terminals for the switch. The display should read or show infinity. Now, continuing to hold the probes to the switch’s terminals, press the switch itself and hold it. You should see the reading change to zero.
If it doesn’t, you’ve found the reason your dryer won’t start – you’ll need to replace the start switch with an OEM replacement switch.
No Click When Closing the Dryer Door
When you close your dryer door, you should hear a click sound indicating that the door is fully closed, and the switch has been activated. The door switch is a safety device that ensures the dryer drum will not turn while the door is open.
If you do not hear a click when you close the door, it means it’s time to replace the door switch. Don’t attempt to detach the switch without unplugging the dryer first.
Dryer Hums but Doesn’t Turn
If your dryer is humming when you push the switch but is not turning, it could be the drive motor. This motor turns the dryer drum and operates the blower wheel.
Checking the drive motor is more complicated than checking the door switch or the start switch, so make sure those are not the issues before you attempt to troubleshoot the drive motor.
- Unplug your dryer. Locate the drive motor inside the dryer cabinet (all dryer brands have different ways to open and access the cabinet). There will be two wire leads connected to the motor.
- Remove the belt from the drive motor and look around the blower wheel for any obstruction that might be impeding the drive motor belt. This is a simple fix – just remove the blockage, put everything back in place, and test your dryer again.
- You can use a multimeter to test the wire leads connected to the motor if you don’t see an obstruction. With your dryer still unplugged, set the multimeter to Rx1 and touch the probes to each of the wire terminals. You should see a reading close to zero, or at zero.
- Check the ground connection next by putting one probe on the metal housing of the drive motor and the other probe on each wire terminal, one at a time. There should be no reading from this test. If you do, the motor will need to be replaced.
Motor Turns on, but Drum Doesn’t Turn
The drive belt is responsible for the drum of your dryer turning. It grips the dryer drum, attaches to the motor pulley, spinning the drum as the motor rotates. If the dryer is on but the drum won’t turn, the drive belt is likely the problem.
They are made of rubber. Over time, they become brittle or stretch and fail to grip the drum. Belts are inexpensive to replace, so if your dryer drum won’t turn, go ahead and replace the belt or have a professional do it.
Accessing the front panel of your dryer can be a little complex, so calling a professional to do it ensures everything will be removed with care and put back correctly.
Dryer Won’t Turn on at All
If the dryer won’t turn on at all and you know the problem is not the start switch, it could be a problem with your power supply. Fortunately, there is a simple test to determine if the power is indeed the problem:
- Just unplug the dryer and plug something else into the same outlet. If the other device won’t turn on, there might be an issue with your circuit breaker or fuse.
- Check the circuit breaker to see if it has been tripped or if the fuse is blown.
- If you can’t see a problem, you can use a multimeter to test the outlet for power (it should read 220-240 volts).
If there is a power problem, you should call a professional. Working with electricity can be very dangerous and precise work that requires training and experience.
An electrician or appliance repair specialist would be appropriate to call if the dryer’s power supply is the problem.
Dryer Turns on but Doesn’t Hum
Check your dryer owner’s manual to see if your dryer has a belt switch. Not all dryers do, so be sure to check your manual (or find it online) first.
To see if there is a problem with your belt switch, turn the dryer on and listen for a humming sound. If you hear a humming sound, the belt switch is working properly.
If you do not hear a humming sound, you’ll want to check the switch with a multimeter. And if there is no continuity when the dryer is running, this indicates you’ll need a new belt switch.
Other Dryer Problems
Still can’t figure out why your dryer won’t start? Not to worry. It could be one of these issues. If it’s a blown thermal fuse, you may be able to fix it yourself.
If it turns out to be the dryer timer or main control board, you might want to call a professional. These parts are expensive, and sometimes a pro can find a used one for a steal.
One of the most common dryer problems is a blown thermal fuse. Most of the time, thermal fuses are blown due to a clogged dryer vent that makes the dryer begin to overheat.
When the dryer does begin to overheat, the thermal fuse is tripped and breaks continuity, stopping electrical current from running through.
You can see if the thermal fuse is the problem by finding it in the blower housing or your dryer’s heat source (the burner in gas dryers, or the heating element in electric dryers).
Use your multimeter to check the fuse to see if it is a closed circuit (showing continuity) or open (no continuity). Replace the thermal fuse if it is the problem, and make sure to clean out your dryer vent to be sure it doesn’t happen again.
Dryer Timer or Main Control Board
If none of the other dryer problems is the culprit, it might be your dryer timer or main control board. They aren’t simple to test and troubleshoot.
So you may just need to have a professional go ahead and replace them for you. The main control board might should signs that it has shorted out.
But replacing either the timer or the main control board could fix your dryer problem if nothing else on the list did.
Don’t Test Your Luck
If it is a very simple problem, they may be able to guide you through doing it yourself. When your dryer won’t start, it’s frustrating and inconvenient.
Especially if you notice the problem as you’re putting a load of wet clothes into the dryer from the washer. Fortunately, the issues we’ve outlined here in our troubleshooting guide are often the root cause of a dryer not starting.
Some are simpler fixes than others, but if you can do it yourself or call a respected professional to take care of it for you, you’ll save yourself the cost of buying a new dryer!
If you’re not keen on fixing or troubleshooting a dryer problem yourself, it’s a good idea to call a professional to take care of it for you.
The downside is that you will likely pay more than you would if you fixed it yourself, but the advantage is that an experienced professional will be able to troubleshoot and fix the problem quickly.
Who to Call When Your Dryer Won’t Start
Is your dryer still not starting? It’s a common problem, and it’s extremely frustrating buying overpriced parts trying to fix the problem yourself.
When you try to fix an appliance yourself without experience, you could end up wasting money on parts you didn’t need and wasting time making repairs that ended up being improperly done.
Dryer Won’t Start? When to Call a Pro
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to call a professional when your dryer won’t start. If your dryer won’t start, look for local appliance repair companies or contractors that have a good reputation and plenty of experience.
You can search online using your zip code, ask around for recommendations, or simply enter your information into the Networx box above. This will pair you with a few local repairmen to solve your problem quickly.
When you find a good appliance repair specialist, call and explain the problem you’re having. They will be able to give you an idea of what type of repair may be needed and a cost estimate.