How to Fix a Dryer That Won’t Start

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Is your dryer not starting? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will take you through the main causes of why your dryer isn’t starting and how you can fix each one.

Power Problems

The first possible cause to check is the dryer’s power source.

To check the incoming power:

  1. Unplug the dryer from its power socket, and plug in another appliance. If the other appliance works, then the power socket is working fine, so move on to checking the next possible cause.
  2. If the other appliance you plugin is also not working, then check the fuse and circuit breaker that powers your dryer (you’ll find these in your household fuse box). If they are both fine, then check the power socket/outlet for continuity by using a multimeter. If you find that it doesn’t have continuity, then it is faulty and will need to be replaced.
  3. Once replaced, check to see if the dryer is now working.

Thermal Fuse

The purpose of the thermal fuse is to protect your dryer from overheating by switching it off when the dryer vent gets clogged up.

To check the fuse:

  1. Make sure that the dryer is turned off.
  2. Locate the thermal fuse. It will be on either the blower housing or by the dryer’s heat source (for an electric dryer, this is the heating element; it is the burner for gas-powered dryers).
  3. Use a multimeter to test the thermal fuse for continuity.
  4. If it shows that it has continuity, then it is working fine, and you can move on to checking the next component. However, if it doesn’t have continuity, then it will need to be replaced.
  5. Once you have replaced the thermal fuse, make sure you give the vents in the dryer a good clean before testing the dryer out to see if it is now working.

The Start Switch

The next component to check is the start switch.

It is easy to check if it’s faulty; you just need to:

  1. Attempt to start your dryer.
  2. If a humming sound comes from the dryer but it doesn’t start, then this means the switch is working even though your dryer isn’t. Move on to checking the next component. 
  3. If there is no humming sound, then use a multimeter to check the switch for continuity. If it has no continuity, then the switch should be replaced. If it does have continuity, then it is not faulty, and you can move on to the next component.
  4. If you have replaced the start switch, then you’ll need to turn the dryer on afterward to see if the problem has been solved.

The Door Switch

Normally, when you close the door on your dryer you should be able to hear a clicking sound. The clicking sound indicates that the dryer is activating. When you shut the door and there is no clicking sound, then you’ll need to replace the door switch.

Drive Motor

The drive motor powers the dryer drum to turn around during a drying cycle. If the dryer is making a humming sound but not working, then you need to check if the drive motor is working.

To do that:

  1. Turn the power off to the dryer.
  2. Remove the top and side panels (check your manual) so you can access the interior of the dryer.
  3. Remove the drive belt from the drive motor, and then check to see if anything is obstructing it from moving around correctly. If something is obstructing it, then realign it / remove the obstacles and see if this fixes the problem.
  4. If you find that nothing is obstructing the blower wheel, then this is a good sign that it is defective and will need to be replaced.
  5. Replace the drive motor and then check if the dryer is now working.

Drive Belt

If you have determined that your dryer motor is working correctly, the next component to check is the drive belt. The drive belt goes around the dryer’s drum and helps it to rotate around during a cycle.

To check the belt:

  1. Make sure that the drive belt has no cracks in it or other signs of wear and tear.
  2. Make sure that the drive belt goes around the dryer drum correctly and is attached to the idler pulley.
  3. If you find it is defective in any way, you’ll need to replace the drive belt. If it is in good condition, then it’s probably not the cause of the problem, so you can move on to checking the next possible cause.

Belt Switch

Some (but not all) dryers have a belt switch that will turn the dryer off if the drive belt becomes faulty. Here’s how to check the belt switch.

  1. First, make sure that your dryer has a belt switch by checking your dryer’s manual.
  2. If it does have a belt switch, then you’ll need to turn the dryer on and see if a humming sound comes from the dryer. If you can hear a humming sound, then the belt switch is working.
  3. If you can’t hear a humming sound, then turn the dryer off at the power source and use a multimeter to check the switch for continuity. If it has continuity, then it is working fine, and you can move onto checking the next component. If it doesn’t have continuity, then you’ll need to replace the switch.
  4. Once replaced, check to see if the dryer is now able to start.

Main Control Board

If you have checked all the above components and have still not found the cause, then the next thing you can do is to replace the main control board. The main control board is very rarely the cause of your dryer not starting, but it can sometimes become defective. The main control board is difficult to test for deficiencies, so it’s best to just replace it and then see if your dryer now works.

Timer

If your dryer is still not starting even after replacing the main control board, then the final component to replace is the dryer timer. Like the control board, it is also not usually the cause of a dryer not starting, but if all else has failed, you should replace the timer and then see if the problem has been solved.

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