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How to fix a dryer

Knowing the different parts of a dryer and how they should work can help you identify problems and get your family’s laundry back on track. 

If your appliance isn’t starting or you notice your dryer making strange sounds or movements, it could be a sign that a repair or replacement is in order. Troubleshoot a broken dryer with this guide to find out how to address the issue or if a professional should solve the problem.

A woman making a cycle selection on a Whirlpool® dryer A woman making a cycle selection on a Whirlpool® dryer

Can I fix my dryer myself?

Depending on the problem, you may be able to fix your dryer by yourself. For example, some common dryer problems like an unplugged power cord, improperly closed door or incorrect cycle selections can usually be addressed without the help of a technician.

However, more complex dryer problems like a worn-out drive belt or damaged roller shafts may require professional help. Arrange for an inspection with a licensed professional before attempting to fix problems involving dryer components like belts, pulleys or drum bearings.

Dryer troubleshooting

While dryers operated according to user guidelines don’t typically malfunction, there are a few common dryer problems, some due to user error, that may be solved with a simple fix. Depending on the complexity of the issue, refer to the owner’s manual for your appliance or consult a technician to diagnose the problem.

Explore the following dryer problems to help troubleshoot the cause behind a broken dryer and get your laundry day back on track.

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1. Dryer won’t start

If your dryer isn’t starting, first check to make sure the power cord is connected properly to a wall outlet and latch the dryer door before restarting the cycle by firmly pressing the “Start” button. If the dryer still isn’t starting, the problem may be with one of the dryer’s components, such as the control board, which may require replacement or repair by a professional.

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2. Dryer not spinning

There are a few possible reasons behind a dryer not spinning. Try taking a look inside your dryer and attempt to move the dryer drum by hand. If it’s difficult to move, it’s possible that your dryer drum has seized.


A broken dryer motor can also cause the appliance to no longer spin or dry clothes properly. If the dryer isn’t spinning and you don’t notice any other obvious signs of malfunction, call a repair technician to get the issue properly diagnosed.


If your dryer spins but keeps stopping mid-cycle, there may be other issues to investigate.

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3. Incorrect control or setting selections

If the appliance still isn’t starting or turning on, check to see if all “control lock” or “child lock” settings have been disabled. Before attempting to dry a load, ensure the correct cycles have been selected, as well.

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4. Tripped circuit breaker

It’s possible to trip the circuit breaker by using multiple large appliances at once. If your dryer won’t start, check the circuit breaker to ensure that both fuses are intact and tight. If the breaker has been tripped, either replace the fuses or reset the breaker.

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5. Worn out drive belt

The drive belt connects to the motor to rotate the dryer drum during a cycle. If you try to start your dryer and hear the motor running but the drum isn’t rotating, the drive belt may be worn out or broken and will need to be replaced by a technician.

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6. Leveling problems

If your appliance is unlevel, it can lead to squeaking or squealing noises as the dryer attempts to run a cycle. Use a level to see if your dryer has been installed properly on a flat surface and adjust the dryer legs if necessary.

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7. Worn out drum bearings

Typically found at the back of the dryer cabinet, worn or poorly lubricated drum bearings can also lead to a squeaking dryer sound. Schedule an appointment with a licensed technician to have the bearings greased or replaced.

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8. Broken or loose idler pulley

If you notice strange noises coming from the front of the appliance, the idler pulley may be the cause. If the drive belt has slipped off during a cycle, a broken or loose pulley may be the cause and should be inspected by a professional. Learn more about other reasons that cause a dryer to make loud noises.

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9. Damaged roller shafts

Roller shafts are small parts that look like rolling pins located on either side of the back wall of the dryer cavity and can cause a squealing sound when they are worn down or have build-up. If any signs of damage are found, the roller shafts may need to be replaced with the assistance of a licensed professional.

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10. Main control board shortage

If all other parts of your dryer are in good shape but your dryer isn’t starting, the problem may lie with the control board, which affects the dryer’s timing, temperature and function. Professional help is recommended for a proper diagnosis and replacement of a short in the control board, if needed.

If you have a Whirlpool® appliance, professional repair and replacement service is available to help you resolve appliance issues so you can continue giving your family’s clothes the care they deserve.

Find Whirlpool® dryer replacements parts:

Whirlpool® dryer replacement parts and accessories can help you complete your repair and help your appliance perform optimally. Contact a professional if you’re unsure of which parts you need for your specific model.

A person unloading laundry from a dryer A person unloading laundry from a dryer

How many years does a dryer last?

With proper care, a dryer can last for many years. While it's easy to take this essential appliance for granted, it's important to remember that a dryer is a complex machine with many moving parts. Help keep your dryer working optimally by maintaining it well and cleaning the lint trap regularly.

When properly maintained, your dryer delivers the convenience and functionality you need to keep your household moving.

Shop Whirlpool® dryers

Cycle after cycle, Whirlpool® dryers help you rely on fabric care that keeps your family’s clothes looking and feeling great. Explore features like Advanced Moisture Sensing and Wrinkle Shield options on select Whirlpool® dryers to tackle laundry day with confidence.

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