Why Your Dryer Won’t Spin and How to Fix It

Appliance Express
July 8, 2024
Dryer Repair

It can be quite frustrating if your dryer won’t spin, especially if you’ve just washed a large load of laundry and don’t want your clothes sitting around damp, and getting smelly.

There are various reasons why a dryer won’t spin, ranging from minor problems such as the door not being closed properly to more serious issues such as seized drum bearings. This article will explain what is likely causing your dryer not to spin, and importantly, how to fix it.

1. Power supply issues

There are various issues related to the power supply that can cause a dryer not to spin, including:

  • A damaged or frayed power cord
  • The dryer being unplugged
  • The dryer not being plugged into a suitable 240V outlet  
  • The circuit breaker is tripped off

You can resolve these issues by either replacing a damaged power cord, plugging the appliance in if it’s been unplugged, ensuring you are using a proper 3-prong or 4-prong 240V outlet, or resetting the circuit breaker if it has tripped.

2. The door is not closed properly

For safety reasons, a dryer won’t spin if its door is not closed properly. Sometimes, the door may appear to be closed, but upon closer inspection, you can see that it isn’t shut all the way or latched properly.

To double-check that the door is closed fully and not the cause of the problem, try giving the door another nudge to see if it clicks shut. Alternatively, you can open the door and then close it again firmly.

Finally, check to see if anything is obstructing the door or lock, such as laundry items caught in the door frame or detergent residue buildup around the latch.

3. The drive belt is broken

The drive belt is a rubber strap that wraps around the motor, idler pulley, and drum, rotating the drum when the motor spins. If the drive belt snaps or slips off its tracks, it’s impossible for the dryer to spin.   

It’s not uncommon for the drive belt to break over time, as general wear and tear can lead to fraying, cracking, and splitting. A sign to look out for that indicates the belt may be broken is that you can hear the motor running, but the drum doesn’t spin when you run a cycle.

The best way to know for sure is to take apart the machine and inspect the drive belt directly. Fortunately, inspecting and replacing the drive belt is fairly straightforward and inexpensive—you can likely do it yourself or with the help of a professional if you don’t feel confident.

Here’s how to replace a broken drive belt:

  1. Unplug the appliance for safety.
  2. Remove the lint filter and the screws inside the filter cavity.
  3. Remove the top and front panels of your dryer.
  4. Inspect the drive belt to see if it’s damaged, snapped, or has come off.
  5. If the belt is frayed, cracked, or snapped, you’ll need to replace it.
  6. Push in the idler pulley to release the tension and remove the damaged drive belt.
  7. Purchase a new compatible drive belt and install it in place of the old one, fitting it snugly over the motor, idler pulley, and drum.

4. The control lock feature is on

Control lock is a safety feature that allows people to stop their dryers from being used in unintended ways. For example, many parents turn on the control lock to prevent their children from accidentally starting the dryer or changing the settings if they play with the buttons.

When the control lock is activated, none of the buttons will be responsive, meaning the dryer won’t spin if you press the start button. This can be resolved by simply turning off the control lock. Since it varies per dryer model, refer to your user manual to learn which buttons to press to deactivate the control lock.

5. Seized drum bearings

The drum bearings are one of the main components that support the rear of the drum, allowing it to rotate smoothly. However, these bearings can wear out over time, creating a lot of friction and a squeaking or scraping sound as the drum turns.

In some cases, these bearings can seize up completely, creating so much resistance that the motor can’t spin the drum. As an initial test, you can try opening the dryer door and spinning the drum manually with your hands. If it doesn’t turn or there’s a lot of resistance, this is a sign the bearings may have seized.

You will need to disassemble your appliance to replace a worn drum bearing or call in a professional to do it for you. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Unplug the dryer for safety.
  2. Remove the lint filter and the screws beneath it.
  3. Remove the top and front panels of your dryer.
  4. Remove the drive belt by releasing the tension with the idler pulley.
  5. Lift the drum out of the dryer and set it aside.
  6. Locate the drum bearing at the back of the drum, and unscrew the screws holding it in place to remove it.
  7. Install the new drum bearing in place of the old one, screwing it in position.
  8. Reassemble the dryer and test to see if it spins.

6. Worn drum rollers

The drum rollers support the rear and front of the drum, allowing it to spin smoothly. But they can also wear out over time and even seize up completely. This can lead to excessive friction that may overwhelm the motor, and prevents the dryer from spinning in the worst cases.

Here is how to check and replace the drum rollers:

  1. Unplug your dryer.
  2. Remove the lint filter and the screws beneath it.
  3. Remove your dryer’s top and front panels.
  4. Remove the drive belt by releasing its tension with the idler pulley.
  5. Lift the drum out from the dryer cabinet.
  6. Locate the drum rollers. They look like rubber wheels, and there are usually two or four of them.
  7. If any of them are worn, damaged, or don’t spin freely, you will need to replace the entire set. Don’t just replace a single drum roller.
  8. To replace them, simply unbolt and remove the old ones and then bolt the new drum rollers in place using a socket wrench.

Leave a Reply