Why Isn’t My Dryer Spinning

You may not think about it much, but your clothes dryer plays an important role when it comes to household chores. While it’s working, it’s easy to take it for granted, but if it breaks, you realize how nice it is to have a working dryer in your home.

A number of things may keep your dryer from doing its job effectively. A common issue is the dryer not spinning. While there may be a number of issues causing your dryer not to spin here are a few common reasons that may help you resolve the problem.

How Do Dryers Spin?

To understand why a dryer is not spinning, it helps to know how a dryer works and why it spins, or tumbles, in the first place. When you wash your clothes, then put them in the dryer, it blows hot air to vaporize excess water.

To get completely dry, vapor is moved away from the clothes to keep it from turning right back into water and re-soaking the clothes. In dryers this happens when air that blows through the dyer gets blown out of its exhaust vent.

Tumbling, or spinning, also plays a role in removing vapor away from your clothes. As the drum spins, it moves the clothes around so that they can open up and allow the vapor to release. If the clothes were still while they heated, the vapor could stay trapped within the clothes. If your dryer is not spinning but still getting hot, your clothes will remain damp.

The dryer drum is spun by a belt that’s connected to the dryer’s motor. The motor engages the belt to spin the drum. Problems with the dryer not spinning often involve the motor and belt.

Since proper spinning is an important function of your dryer, it’s important to address spinning issues right away.

How to Know if Your Dryer Stopped Spinning

If you’re like most people, you probably tend to throw your clothes in the dryer, turn it on, and walk away. If you return and your clothes are still wet, you can take it as a sign that your dryer won’t tumble properly.

It may also be possible that your dryer starts spinning but stops in the middle of a cycle. Again, a tell-tale sign this has happened is if your clothes are still wet after running them through the dryer.

NOTE: Over-filling your dryer may result in clothes not having enough room to easily tumble, even when the dryer is spinning. This could trap vapor in the dryer and result in your clothes remaining damp after a full cycle.

Reasons for Dryer Not Spinning and How to Troubleshoot

Whether your dryer won’t tumble at all, or the dryer stopped spinning after some time, your dryer isn’t working correctly. Take a look at some of these troubleshooting steps to help you figure out why your dryer may not be spinning, and some possible ways you can get it back in working order.

Check that Dryer is Getting Power

If you start your dryer and absolutely nothing happens, you may have a power issue. Check to make sure that the dryer is plugged in. If it isn’t plugged in, simply plug in to return power.

If you find that the dryer is indeed plugged in, check the circuit breaker to see if the breakers for the dryer have been tripped. If so, reset the dryer’s breaker by switching it completely off then back on. If this doesn’t help get your dryer spinning again, consider calling a professional appliance technician.

Check the Door Switch

As a safety precaution, your clothes dryer has a switch that ensures that the dryer doesn’t run while the door is open. If your dryer won’t tumble even when it has power, try checking the door switch.

First, check to make sure the door closes all the way and that it is engaging the door switch. A quick adjustment to the door might be all you need to fix the issue. After you are certain the door is properly pressing on the switch when closed, it’s time to check the switch itself.

Before attempting to remove the switch unplug the dryer. After you turn off power to the dryer, you can start the process of checking the door switch.

The switch is usually a small, white cylindrical peg near the door closure. To gain full access to the switch, pop the top of the dryer off with a putty knife. When it’s open, disconnect the wires to the door switch so you can test it with a digital multimeter.

If you need to replace the door switch, you can find door switch assembly kits online to do it yourself. If you’re uncomfortable with DIY repairs, call a repair technician.

Check the Drive Belt

Damaged drive belts tend to be a very common cause of a dryer not spinning. This might not be too surprising since, as stated above, the belt’s primary job is to spin the drum.

Before you open up your dryer to access the drive belt, one easy way to check if the drive belt might be the problem is by attempting to spin the drum yourself. Simply open up the dryer door, grab a hold of the inside of the drum, and give it a spin. There should be a little resistance. If you can spin the drum easily, you probably have an issue with the belt.

To access the belt:

  • Unplug the machine or turn off power to the dryer.
  • Use a putty knife to release any clips that are holding the top to the rest of the dryer.

Remove the top of the dryer from the dryer cabinet.

  • Locate the dryer belt. Dryer belts are typically very thin pieces of black rubber. If you don’t see the belt, it may have slipped off, which instantly tells you why the drum isn’t spinning. If the belt is cracked or damaged, it will need replacing.

To replace the drive belt:

  • Use a putty knife to loosen the clips and carefully pull the front away from the dryer cabinet.
  • With the front panel removed, find the motor and idler pulley towards the back of the drum and disengage the belt from both.
  • Carefully lift and slide the drum away from the drum bearing (away from the back of the dryer).
  • Slide the belt off the drum.
  • Take the new dryer belt and wrap it around the drum, connect the drum back to the drum bearing, and engage the belt back into the idler pulley and motor pulley.

Check the Pulley Assembly

The pulley assembly in your dryer keeps tension on the drive belt so that it can grab the drum and doesn’t slip off. If the pulley assembly is loose or damaged the belt may not be able to remain on the drum.

Typically, the pulley in a dryer is made up of small rubber or plastic wheels on a metal arm. Cracks in the wheel or arm of the pulley may cause a malfunction. A jammed or hard-to-move wheel may keep the belt from freely spinning the drum.

To gain access to the pulley assembly:

  • Remove the dryer’s top and front panel and find the idler pulley next to the motor. Tension caused by the drive belt is a big part of what keeps the idler pulley in place.
  • Slip the belt away from the motor, and you should be able to pull the pulley out.
  • Replace the pulley with a new pulley assembly by threading the drive belt through the new idler pulley and motor.

Check the Thermal Fuse

The thermal fuse is a key safety feature of your dryer that shuts the dryer off if it runs too hot. While it’s meant to shut the entire dryer off, a faulty thermal fuse may cut power to the motor while the heating element remains on. This may be the reason for your dryer not spinning.

The thermal fuse is typically located at the back of the dryer, near the blower and motor. To reach the fuse:

  • Pull the dryer away from the wall and unplug it.
  • Remove the rear panel of the dryer. You may need a screwdriver or socket wrench to remove screws.
  • Unhook the wires plugged into the fuse and remove the screw that holds the fuse in place. Replace the thermal fuse.

Bad thermal fuses tend to be a symptom of another problem. If your thermal fuse is blown, inspect other parts of the dryer. Make sure wires aren’t crossed and that the heating element is clean and clear of any debris, and that it’s not in contact with other metal.

Your dryer is a key part of doing chores around the house and a dryer not spinning is certainly an inconvenience. We hope this guide helps you get your dryer up and running again. For more helpful information, take a look at our dryer maintenance tips, and for help learning about what a home warranty plan is, give us a call at 1-888-492-7359.

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