Why Your Dryer Stopped Spinning And How To Fix It

Why Your Dryer Stopped Spinning

When your dryer suddenly stops tumbling and spinning those wet clothes during a cycle, it can be incredibly frustrating. But don’t worry - in most cases, this issue can be easily diagnosed and repaired by a handy homeowner.

Common Causes For A Non-Spinning Dryer

A dryer not spinning is one of the most common complaints appliance repair technicians hear. Several different components of your dryer could cause this troubling symptom. Here’s a quick overview before we dive into details:

  • Faulty door switch
  • Broken drive belt
  • Seized drum rollers
  • Faulty motor or motor control board
  • Clogged exhaust vent
  • Defective idler pulley or seized bearing
  • Tripped thermal fuse
  • Control board issues
  • Timer problems
  • Overloaded dryer

The good news is that many of these issues can be diagnosed and repaired yourself without needing to call an expensive appliance technician. With a bit of troubleshooting, you can get your dryer spinning again in no time.

Step 1: Verify Power And Start Relay

When your dryer won’t spin, the first step is verifying power. Make sure the dryer is plugged in, the outlet is working, and the start relay clicks when activated. If you don’t hear the relay, the problem could be a faulty door switch, motor control board, or timer.

Checking The Door Switch

The door switch is a safety device that prevents the dryer from operating when the door is open. Over time, the switch can wear out and fail to activate. Test it by pressing the switch in manually while starting a cycle. If the dryer starts tumbling, you know the door switch needs replacing.

Inspecting Motor Control Board

The motor control board controls power to the drive motor. If it’s defective, the motor won’t turn on. Visually inspect the board for burned spots or damaged relays. Use a multimeter to test components for continuity. If faulty, the entire board will need replacement.

Testing The Timer

The mechanical timer controls cycle operations. Problems with the timer motor or interior switches can prevent the dryer from starting. Manually rotate the timer while listening for clicks. If no clicks occur, the timer may need replacing.

Step 2: Examine The Drive Belt

If the dryer hums but won’t spin, chances are the drive belt is broken. This rubber belt connects the motor pulley to the dryer drum. When it snaps, the drum won’t turn. Removing the front panel provides access to inspect the belt:

Identifying Belt Wear

Examine the drive belt closely for cracking, fraying, or excessive wear. A severely worn belt is prone to breaking and should be replaced.

Testing Belt Tension

Pluck the belt like a guitar string. If the belt is loose, tighten the tension by adjusting the pulley. A loose belt can slip on the motor pulley.

Verifying Drive Belt Intact

Rotate the drum manually while observing the drive belt. If the belt doesn’t move with the drum, it likely snapped and needs replacing.

Step 3: Check Drum Rollers And Axles

Problems with the drum rollers or axles can also lead to a dryer not spinning properly:

Inspecting Drum Roller Condition

Worn-out drum rollers won’t turn smoothly. Remove the front panel to access the rollers. Try spinning them manually. If they don’t turn freely, the rollers are worn out. Replace both rollers as a set.

Testing Roller Axles For Wobble

The roller axles can become bent or loose over time. Detach the belt and rotate the drum by hand. If the axles wobble excessively, replacement is needed.

Listen For Scraping Noises

If drum rollers or axles are severely worn, you may hear scraping or grinding noises when turning the drum. This indicates damaged parts needing replacement.

Step 4: Examine Drum Bearings

The rear drum bearings provide crucial support for dryer drum rotation. Worn bearings can lead to friction and resistance:

Checking Bearing Wear

Detach the belt to manually rotate the drum again. If rotation feels rough or gritty, the bearings are likely worn out. Replacement by a technician is recommended.

Listening For Bearing Noises

Defective drum bearings may produce scraping, squealing or grinding noises when the drum turns. Such sounds signal the need for new bearings.

Impact Of Overloading

Excessively heavy loads can overload the drum bearings causing premature wear. Make sure not to exceed the dryer’s listed capacity.

Step 5: Test The Drive Motor

The electric drive motor powers the spinning dryer drum. Motor failure is an uncommon reason for a non-spinning dryer, but it can happen:

Identifying Electrical Smells

A distinctive burning odor may indicate the motor windings are overheating. Have an electrician inspect the motor if you notice this.

Listening For Unusual Noises

Odd humming, grinding or squealing noises point to possible motor damage. Compare sounds to when the dryer operated normally.

Testing Voltage At Motor

Use a multimeter to check voltage to the drive motor during operation. Significant drops in voltage signify a problem with motor windings.

Verifying Motor Resistance

Disconnect the motor wires and use a multimeter to check winding resistances. Drastic differences point to a winding short and need for motor replacement.

Step 6: Examine The Idler Pulley

The idler pulley provides tension to the drive belt. Issues here can cause belt slippage:

Inspecting Pulley Wear

Check the pulley for excessive wobble, worn edges or cracks. Spin the pulley to verify it rotates smoothly without friction.

Testing Pulley Bearings

Listen for grinding noises during pulley rotation. Any roughness indicates worn pulley bearings that need replacement.

Verifying Pulley Movement

Observe idler pulley movement during dryer operation. If it doesn’t oscillate properly, binding or defective bearings could be preventing movement.

Step 7: Check Exhaust Venting

Restricted exhaust flow can put extra strain on the motor and drum parts:

Inspecting Exhaust Ducts

Verify ductwork is not kinked, crushed or restricted. Ensure duct joints are intact and secure. Check for obstructions and lint buildup.

Confirming Duct Length

Extended exhaust ducts can impede adequate airflow. Verify duct lengths don’t exceed recommendations for optimal venting.

Cleaning The Vent Hood

Lint accumulation around the external vent hood can block airflow. Remove all lint debris outside your home for smooth exhaustion.

Step 8: Test The Thermal Fuse

If your dryer stops mid-cycle, the thermal fuse may have blown. This important safety device helps prevent fires:

Locating The Thermal Fuse

Consult your dryer’s service diagram to find the thermal fuse, typically near the blower wheel or vent duct. It will have two wires attached.

Checking For Continuity

Unplug the dryer and use a multimeter to test fuse continuity. No continuity means the fuse is blown and must be replaced.

Identifying Signs Of Overheating

A blown thermal fuse suggests your dryer overheated dangerously. Have a technician inspect your dryer for other overheating issues.

Step 9: Evaluate The Control Board

The control board regulates all electrical operations. Malfunctions here can have wide ranging effects:

Testing Voltages To Components

Use a multimeter to verify proper voltage is supplied to key parts like the drive motor and heating element during operation.

Inspecting Fuses On Control Board

Check all fuses on the board for continuity. Blown fuses often indicate short circuits that cause excess current draw.

Resetting Control Board

Unplugging the dryer for 1 minute can reset faulty controllers and clear error codes. This may restore normal function.

Step 10: Rule Out Overloading

Trying to dry too many clothes or bulky items can overtax your dryer:

Comparing Load To Capacity

Weigh your clothes load and confirm it doesn’t exceed your dryer model’s listed capacity. Oversized loads strain components.

Allowing Water Extraction Before Drying

Wringing out or spin drying excess water before drying reduces load weight and speeds the process.

Cleaning Lint Screens Promptly

Clogged lint screens make the dryer work harder and can cause overheating issues. Remember to clean the filter after each load.

When To Call A Professional

While many spinning issues can be addressed DIY, complex repairs like motor or control board replacement should be left to appliance pros:

  • Strange electronic control errors
  • Major overheating problems
  • Significant part damage observed
  • Novice uncertainty over repairs

Phone a certified technician for diagnosis and service in these cases. Proper dryer repairs ensure safe, reliable performance.


When your dryer stops tumbling those wet clothes, it can definitely be a headache. But in most instances, the problem is an inexpensive part needing quick replacement. With proper troubleshooting and repairs, you can get your dryer spinning like normal again. Just take it step-by-step, identify the faulty component, and make the necessary fix.

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