Dryer Won’t Start Or Run? 6 Reliable Steps To Figure Out Why

Are you frustrated because your dryer won’t start or run? Perhaps the display works, but nothing happens when you press START? There are a few reasons this can happen, and we’ll go through each one in detail.

We’ll break it down into several categories to make it easy to diagnose your particular problem:

  • Sometimes there is no power to the machine.
  • Other times, though there is power at the wall outlet, the unit won’t respond to the pressing of any buttons.
  • Lastly, the display may be working, but when you press the start button, nothing happens (or you hear noise, but the drum doesn’t spin).

The explanations below will help you figure out what is keeping you from being able to dry your clothes – and how to fix it.

No Power To Dryer Outlet

If the dryer is completely unresponsive at all, the first thing to do is check for power at the receptacle outlet it’s plugged into.

Gas Dryer

If it’s a gas dryer, it still needs electricity to run. To test for power, follow the same procedure laid out in this article for a washer.

Electric Dryer

If your dryer is electric, testing for power is a little different.

1. Circuit Breaker

First, check the circuit breaker to see if it is either tripped or off. While you’re at the electrical panel, to be certain, go ahead and turn the breaker all the way off and then back on. Sometimes it’s visually hard to tell whether a breaker is tripped or not.

2. Cord

If that didn’t solve it, take a look at the dryer cord. Make sure it is securely plugged into the wall outlet. Sometimes, though it appears to be all the way in, it isn’t. Double-check by physically pushing it firmly into the outlet.

3. Outlet

If the dryer still refuses to operate, there is one more test you can do if you have a multimeter handy. You can find a very reliable multimeter on Amazon or at most hardware stores.

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Unplug the Dryer and move it out of the way. With the circuit breaker on, use the multimeter to test between all four (or three, on older dryers) prong holes, 2 at a time.

Dryer won't start 30-amp outlets

Set your multimeter on AC voltage and test between each of the holes. Here are the voltages you should get:

  • Hot to Hot – 240 volts
  • Hot to Neutral – 120 volts
  • Hot to Ground – 120 volts
  • Ground to Neutral – 0 volts

These are approximate (nominal) voltages. As long as you’re within 10% or so of these numbers, you’re in good shape.

If you don’t get any reading, try moving the multimeter probes around inside the holes. The probe tip must make contact with the metal jaws inside in order to read correctly.

4. Loose Connection Or Bad Breaker

If you still are unable to get a reading, the outlet has no power. You will need to do an investigation of your circuit. Perhaps the breaker is faulty. Or maybe a wire connection is loose.

The next steps would be to check for a loose connection behind the dryer outlet and at the breaker, and then testing the breaker. These actions will be covered in another article.

Dryer Won’t Start (Outlet Has Power)

1. Reset Dryer Control Board

Most dryers these days have a main control board that is responsible for governing the different systems in the unit.

Sometimes, the control board can stop responding to any commands given when you press buttons on the display. This can simply be a glitch, or else it could be that the control board has been damaged or otherwise failed in some way.

Even though it’s not a common problem, you need to check this first. To do so, remove power completely from the machine. Do this either by turning off the circuit breaker, or unplugging the dryer from the outlet.

Be sure to wait at least 2 minutes before restoring power. This gives the control board time to reset.

If after resetting control board, the dryer still won’t start or spin, continue with step #2.

2. A blown thermal fuse (on the blower wheel side)

Check if the fuse is blown.

This particular thermal fuse is attached to the clothes dryer blower wheel housing and acts as a safety mechanism that trips in case the air flowing through the drum gets hotter than usual.

When a thermal fuse blows, it interrupts power supply to the clothes dryer, and the motor won’t run.

dryer thermal fuse
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The most common cause of a blown thermal fuse is a blocked exhaust vent that causes the air to overheat. Make sure your vents stay clean!

Now, a blown fuse can’t be reset; you’ll just have to replace it.

Things you’ll likely need: a manufacturer-approved replacement fuse, duct cleaning brush, vacuum cleaner, flathead screwdriver, and a ¼-inch nut driver.

thermal fuse location

Begin by disconnecting the machine from power, unscrew and remove the back panel, then remove the fuse, install the new fuse, and reattach the wires as they were on the original fuse.

Then, put the rear panel back, plug in the machine and clean the exhaust vent.

3.Control Board Failure with F01 error code

This problem often appears on some models of Whirlpool, Maytag or Kenmore dryers.

When the error code F01 shows up on a dryer’s display, that means your control board is malfunctioning, probably due to a burnt spot or other damage to the board.

dryer control board

If you’re handy with soldering electronics, you might be able to repair it by yourself…. or you can get a new board and swap the whole thing out.

burnt control board

4. Start Push Button Broken

Another cause, when the dryer won’t start and spin, is a failed Start Button.

When the button switch has lost continuity, it won’t connect the electrical circuit, and will therefore fail to send a signal or power to start the motor.

You’ll need to take the rear panel off in order to reach push button.

The best way to check continuity of the button is by using multimeter.

If you are getting a O or OL reading, when pushing Start Button, that means there is no continuity and switch is broken.

If you are getting 1, that means push button switch is working fine.

5. A faulty door switch

A clothes dryer door switch has a plastic plunger that disrupts power to the motor when the door is opened.

Every time you close the clothes dryer’s door, the plastic peg should click the switch into position and allow the dryer to operate normally.

If you do not hear the clicking sound, then check if the plastic peg is broken or bent, you will need to straighten it or replace it with a new one to get the switch working again.

If, however, you get the clicking sound, the peg is just fine, and the problem lies with the switch itself.

You can tell that the switch is faulty if, when you press the plunger in, the drum light fails to turn off.

Replacing the faulty door switch with a new one should allow the drum to spin again.

6. Dryer Motor issue

If your display seems to work fine, but the dryer simply won’t spin when told to, you could have a motor issue.

If you hear a humming noise coming from the dryer after you press the Start Button, and dryer won’t spin, that means there is likely a problem with the motor.

check if the motor is malfunction and while at it, check if the motor capacitor is in good working condition too.

dryer motor
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While pressing the Start button, try turning the drum using your hand. If the dryer starts spinning, that indicates a bad start capacitor.

Some capacitors can be replace independently of the motor. Others are part of the motor itself.

If the dryer still won’t spin, the motor may be bad.

If you’re not confident in your own abilities, you may want to get the help of a professional to replace the faulty capacitor or motor.

Dryer Starts But Won’t Run

1. Broken drive belt

The most common reason a dryer will power up fine, but the drum won’t turn, is a problem with the drive belt.

To verify that the drive belt is the issue, just try turning the drum by hand. The belt ought to provide some resistance. But if the drum rotates easily, then the belt is not in good working condition.

Drum belt
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Drive belt break or get loose due to wear and tear over time.

The drive belt is what rotates the drum; now, if it’s loose or broken, the clothes dryer won’t be able to function properly.

Remove the top and side panel of your dryer to inspect the condition the drive belt is in. If it’s loose, worn, or broken, adjust it accordingly or purchase a brand-new drive belt.

2. Drive Belt tensioner Loose Or Broken

Another reason the belt could be loose is because the tensioner is either broken or adjusted incorrectly. If the tensioner is not applying the correct amount of force on the belt, it will slip and fail to turn the drum adequately, or at all.

Remove the top and side panels of the dryer. Which side panel to remove will depend on your model. Remove the housing cover for the blower fan, if needed, to access the tensioner.

Inspect the tensioner, pulley, belt, etc. to try to determine the exact problem.

3. Worn Drum roller

Most clothes dryers have rollers that support the drum, as it spins by means of the drive belt.

Usually, there are two support rollers at the back of the drum and two at the front.

But over time, drum support rollers become worn or damaged.

In such a case, the drum starts making thumping noises due to excess play or uneven pressures.

Also, as the rollers fail to spin freely, the motor becomes overloaded, and eventually, this may cause the dryer to stop working.

To verify the damaged or worn out drum support rollers, remove the drum belt, then turn the drum by hand. If the drum fails to spin freely, inspect the rollers for signs of damage.

All rollers should turn freely. Even if the problem is with only one roller, it is highly recommended that you replace all rollers at the same time. You don’t want to have to do the job all over again in a few months or so.

Roller replacement is a bit technical and you’ll need the repair manual for your specific machine. Most manuals can be found online.

4. Roller axles issue

While inspecting the drum rollers for wear and tear, do not forget to check the roller axles, too.

If the axles are in good condition, the drum support rollers should turn freely without wobbling. Otherwise, the axles are worn out and need to be switched out for brand new ones.

5. Drum bearing issue

A worn-out drum bearing will put too much pressure on the motor. Eventually, the motor will be overworked beyond its ability and stop functioning.

Remove the drum drive belt and turn the drum by hand. If you hear a squealing or grinding noise, the bearing is worn out. Replacing the drum bearing should get the drum spinning again.

6. Worn out glides

As a dryer’s drum spins, it slides on small plastic supports, called guides.

When these guides get worn out, the drum starts binding and, in turn, puts excess strain on the motor (not unlike the bad drum bearing above). Eventually, the motor will succumb to the extra burden and will fail completely.

So, while inspecting the drive belt, axle and bearing, check the glides for wear and tear too, and make the necessary replacements.

Final Thoughts

Anytime you have your dryer disassembled, the general rule of thumb is to take a good look at all of the other components to see what condition they are in.

It is much to your advantage to fix things now, as opposed to having to repeat the process multiple times within a year or so.

Using this guide, you should be able to diagnose and repair your dryer, and get it started and running again. Feel free to check out our many other articles on appliance repair here.

Related: Why Is My Dryer Overheating?

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