How to fix a dryer that's not spinning

October 15, 2014

Has your clothes dryer stopped spinning? Here’s some handy advice for fixing this problem and becoming a household hero in the process!

How to fix a dryer that's not spinning

Believe it or not, some clothes dryer problems don’t require an advanced course in appliance repair. Chances are this is one of them. Even though it seems be kicking out heat, a dryer that isn't turning won’t dry. So if you're reasonably confident with a few simple tools, it’s time to get inside and see if it’s one of two easily solved problems: a bad drive belt or, less likely, the belt motor itself.

Open ’er up

Dryers are remarkably simple machines once you figure out how to open them up. It may take some time, there being no obvious screws visible from the exterior.

  • To gain access to a standard front-loader (unplug it first, of course) find the two tangs inside the seam between the top and front panels.
  • Simply push them with a slot-head screwdriver and the lid will flip back.
  • Support it on a wall or chair back.

Begin the examination

Next, remove the front panel. Start by disconnecting the wire harness that connects to the door switch, a device that cuts the power when the dryer is open.

  • There may be two screws holding the front panel, in which case you’ll need to grab a screwdriver, or the panel may slide into guides and you can simply pull the panel up and out.
  • Now you have a view of the dryer’s drum.
  • Examine the rubber belt as much as you can.
  • If it’s broken, obviously worn, or has slipped off the tensioner pulley at the bottom of the drum, that’s your culprit.
  • If so, find your model number on a plaque in the interior or rear and buy the correct replacement belt from an approved dealer.
  • Pull the drum off its support and thread the new one as before using the tensioner, making sure the belt’s traction grooves ride over the pulley itself.

Look deeper

Let’s say you found no obvious problems with the drum or belt. The next possibility is that the electric motor is burned out.

  • If you’re comfortable using an electrician’s multimeter—a tool that measures electric current in a variety of programmable ways—you can unbolt the motor and test the resistance at the wire terminals according to the machine’s schematic diagram, which you can find in an online manual for your model.
  • If the readings you get vary from the ones on the diagram, the motor needs replacing.

Call in the specialist

If all that is getting too complex, it’s likely that you’ll want to hand the problem over to a qualified appliance repair company. You can be a hero some other day.

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