Troubleshooting Why Your Dryer’s Drum Won’t Spin

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There are three factors that allow both gas and electric dryers to work optimally: “air flow”, “heat”, and “drum rotation”. Remove any one of these three and you’ll be hanging your laundry on a clothesline to dry.

Is the dryer located in a well-ventilated area? Is the venting free of lint-buildup? Is the appliance’s blower wheel unobstructed and spinning freely? Then you’re all set on the first factor. Are the heating components in the dryer working properly (such as the burner assembly in gas dryer models and a heating element in electric models)? Then check off the second factor.  Does the drum spin and continue spinning when you run the dryer? No? Then you’ve come to the right blog article. Read on…

What actually makes the dryer drum spin?

Whether you depend on a gas or electric dryer to dry your clothes, towels, and linens, the mechanics behind making the drum spin are the same. The drum is rotated by a belt that goes around the outside of the drum. The belt is looped onto a drive pulley attached to one end of the motor’s drive shaft. As this pulley rotates the belt, a second pulley, known as an idler pulley, applies tension to the belt so it will properly grip the drum in order to turn it. The drum is supported by glides or rollers in the front (attached to the front bulkhead). To support the rear of the drum, some dryers will also have rollers attached to the rear panel while other models will use a bearing and bearing retainer assembly as a support. To circulate the heated air, a blower wheel is attached to the opposite end of the motor shaft. When the motor is running, the drive shaft will rotate the drive pulley and blower wheel at the same time. The drum has baffles on the inside so, as the drum spins, the clothes, towels, or linens are tumbled back-and-forth, allowing the heated air to dry the laundry load evenly.

Diagnosing the problem with a little Q & A

Now that you understand what’s required for the dryer drum to spin, you can troubleshoot the problem systematically to identify the correct solution. First, let’s establish that the dryer actually starts. If it doesn’t, that could indicate the appliance’s thermal fuse has blown, the dryer’s start switch or door switch is defective, or, if applicable to your model, the belt switch is faulty (provided you confirm the drive belt is intact). So, if the problem is the dryer does, indeed, turn on, but the drum won’t rotate, there are nine “yes” or “no” questions you should ask yourself. Answer them all and you should know what you need to do to fix your dryer:

Does the dryer drum spin easily when moved by hand?

Yes – The drive belt has likely broken and will need to be replaced. The belt goes around the outside of the drum and is looped onto an idler, or tension, pulley and around the drive motor pulley. You will need to remove the dryer’s top and front panels to replace the belt.

No – The drive belt may still be intact. You should remove the dryer’s top and front panels to confirm the belt is properly aligned on the pulleys and drum. The next most likely cause is a worn drum roller. Most dryers have two drum rollers supporting the rear of the drum, some dryers will have two more drum rollers supporting the front of the drum.

Do one or more of the drum rollers appear worn or damaged?

Yes – The drum roller is defective and should be replaced.

No – The drum roller is likely not defective. However, the drum roller axle could be worn or damaged, preventing the drum roller from spinning freely.

Are any of the drum rollers unable to spin freely or does the roller axle appear worn or damaged?

Yes – The drum roller axle is likely defective and will need to be replaced. For some dryer models, you can purchase a “Drum Support Roller & Axle” kit to replace both components.

No – The drum roller axle is not defective.

Does the dryer use glides, slides, or pads to support the front of the drum instead of rollers?

No – The next step is to inspect the dryer’s rear bearing if the dryer has one.

Yes – The drum glide, slide, or pad could be worn out.

Do the drum glides, slides, or pads appear worn out or missing?

Yes – The drum glide, slide, or pad should be replaced.

No – You should inspect the rear bearing mounted to the rear of the drum.

After removing the belt, does the drum rotate freely by hand?

No –  The drum support bearing could be defective, putting a strain on the drive motor and causing the dryer to stop spinning in mid-cycle. The drum bearing will need to be replaced.

Yes – The drum support bearing is not defective. However, the drive motor may be faulty.

Does the dryer run for a while, then stop before starting up again?

Yes – The drive motor is likely overheating which will cause the dryer to shut off until the motor cools down. You should inspect the blower wheel to determine if the part is obstructed.

Is the blower wheel obstructed?

No – The drive motor is likely defective if all other components are operating properly, and the motor will need to be replaced.

Yes – Remove the obstruction or replace the blower wheel with a new one if damaged.

Does the dryer continue to stop spinning unexpectedly?

No – The blower wheel obstruction was likely the cause of the problem.

Yes – The dryness control board may be defective. The dryness control board shuts off the dryer when the clothes have reached the proper level of dryness. A faulty control board may cause the dryer to stop spinning too early. If all other components are working properly, the dryness control board will probably need to be replaced.

Keep your dryer drum spinning with the right parts from Repair Clinic

According to your troubleshooting, do you need a new drive belt to repair the dryer? Or, a replacement drum roller, axle, glide, dryness control board, or drive motor? Repair carries genuine manufacturer replacement parts for gas and electric dryers manufactured by Whirlpool, Electrolux, Kenmore, GE, Maytag, LG, Samsung, and many more trusted brands. To find the right part that works with your dryer, enter the full model number of the appliance in the Repair Clinic website search bar to see a full list of compatible items. You can then use the “Part Category” filter (Example: “Axle, Roller, Shaft, Wheel”) and the “Part Title” filter (Example: “Drum Roller”) to narrow that list down to identify the specific component you need. In addition to millions of replacement parts, Repair Clinic also has thousands of instructional videos, diagrams, and articles to guide you, step-by-step, through the part replacement procedure, so you can complete the repair yourself quickly and successfully.

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