A some point in your dryer’s life it’s going to simply not spin. These knobs will likely still work, all the LED indicators and numbers will read out correctly, and the interior light will still work, but you’ll notice your dryer isn’t spinning.
What can you do to fix it before calling a repair man?
If your clothes dryer isn’t spinning there are few things that could have gone wrong so let’s run through some of the likely possibilities and see if anything can be done. Of course your dryer could have outright broke, but it’s more likely something small and fixable happened (especially if this is the first time your dryer has stopped working).
Why Dryers Won’t Spin
It’s best to start with the root cause when fixing an appliance, so let’s examine some reasons why dryers fail to spin.
Here are the issues you will be able to fix by yourself immediately…
- No Power: With no power an appliance won’t power on and won’t do its job. It’s quite unlikely that your dryer would have been unplugged, but this is of course a possibility. It’s more likely that the breaker was flipped and the dryer has no power because of that. You can go to your circuit panel and check if the breaker for your laundry area is on or off.
- Blown Fuse: Dryers have a thermal fuse inside to prevent them from running if the inside is too hot. If your dryer overheated the fuse would have been tripped and the dryer won’t work until it’s corrected.
- Stuck Drum: The spinning part inside the dryer, known as the drum, can become stuck in place. Typically the will happen because a sock or something else small has gotten wedged in between two moving parts. Check for obstructions inside the dryer and try to give the barrel a turn.
- Too Much Lint: If you have so much lint inside the dryer that it’s blocking the air flow some dryers simply won’t operate. Check inside, make sure the lint screen is clean, and that the screen is in its correct position.
- Clogged Exhaust: Your dryer has an exhaust hose that goes to a vent on the outside of your home. This isn’t very likely but you can inspect the vent for cracks, make sure it’s connected to the dryer properly and then look at the end of the vent and make sure it’s open and not home to any wildlife. Bird nests, wasp nests, and other things can clog the hose, causing poor ventilation and problems with the dryer. This likely won’t directly cause the dryer to not spin, but it made be what caused your thermal fuse to blow.
And here are some reasons for a broken dryer that will need a more involved fix…
- Broken Dryer Door Switch: If the dryer thinks the door is open, then it won’t activate and the drum won’t spin. If the door switch is broken then the dryer will always understand the door to be open. You will know your dryer door switch isn’t working it the dryer light stays on when the door seems to be shut. Push all points of the door firmly in and see if the light turns off. If this works you can buy a new door latch for about $5.
- Out Of Place or Broken Rollers: The dryer’s drum is held in place with rollers. If these are broken or dislodged the drum won’t spin (or it will spin out of true). While this is fixable, you will need to take the dryer apart, usually removing the entire face plate to remove the drum and get at the rollers. You can get new rollers from your manufacturer or buy a generic repair kit for about $30-$40.
- Broken Belt: The drum is not spun with direct gearing but rather with a belt. The belt can stretch, fall off, or simply break. Most belts can be replaced with generic kit or with a part from the maker.
- Motor Problems: While it’s not as likely as the other problems, the dryer’s motor — the part that powers the spinning of the belt and thus the drum — can break. Electric motors are quite reliable, but they can break and can be replaced if need be.
With these descriptions you should be able to take a good guess at what your problem is. This will inform your next steps.
Maybe you need to simply flip a breaker, or maybe you need to get the dryer door to firmly shut by replacing the dryer door latch. This is a 5 minute job and won’t cost you more than $7 in materials.
The thermal fuse is another likely culprit and an easy fix. You’ll know this is the broken element if your drum spins but the dryer won’t heat. A new thermal fuse will only cost about $5 but finding it will be the challenge. This will be in your manual or easy to figure out through searching online, but you made need to take off the back of the dryer to get at the fuse. The toughest part of the job is normally pulling the dryer out of it’s spot!
For anything past these, and assuming simply power cycling the dryer doesn’t work, you’re going to want to read the manual, check out the dryer troubleshooting guide, and see if you are prepared for what’s next.
For instance, if the roller isn’t working — this is a problem I seen frequently with an LG front-loader — you can research the kit you need and then look for the instructions online. Almost all dryers will have how-to-fix-it videos on YouTube that I’d recommend you check out. You’ll have to get some parts and set aside and afternoon, but it should be a very doable job.