Dryer Won’t Start? Here Are 15 Reasons Why [+ How To Fix It]

Open dryer with clean towels

There’s nothing worse than needing to dry your clothing quickly after running a load of laundry, jumping into a pool, or having a water balloon fight, and your dryer won’t start. Even with regular maintenance, there are plenty of possible reasons why a dryer won’t turn on or start up — both simple and complicated.

For cases like a tripped breaker, broken switch, or defective latch, you may be able to fix the problem yourself. However, more complicated issues will require an appliance repair expert’s help.

Here, you’ll discover 15 common reasons why your dryer won’t start, including some straightforward dryer troubleshooting tips to help pinpoint the problem — and how to tell when it’s time to contact a professional.

Dryer won’t start?

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1. The Dryer Isn’t Plugged In

Always start by looking for the simplest solution: The unit could be unplugged. Check the plug, even if you are almost certain this isn’t the issue. You’d feel silly if you scheduled a dryer repair service only to realize your unit was unplugged!

How To Fix It: Plug your appliance back in and run a small test load to make sure the unit functions properly.

2. The Outlet Is Faulty

Your dryer issues may not even be connected to your unit! If your incoming power isn’t working correctly, neither will an electric dryer. Test your outlet by plugging in a different electronic appliance. If this secondary appliance also doesn’t work, check if your circuit breaker or fuse is faulty. You may need to use a multimeter to check the outlet itself to see if the breaker or fuse is working.

How To Fix It: If your outlet is faulty, call in a professional electrician to solve the problem.

3. The Dryer Circuit Breaker Is Tripped

A tripped circuit breaker is another common reason why your dryer won’t start –– but it’s usually a problem with a simple solution. Overloaded or short circuits and ground faults can cause breakers to trip; however, you may want to check the condition of your heating element if your dryer frequently trips your circuit breaker.

How To Fix It: Open your electrical panel and look for any switches that appear to be in the "off" position or not aligned with the rest of your breaker switches. If you see a tripped breaker, reset it by switching it to the "on" position and see if that gets your dryer working again.

4. The Thermal Fuse Is Blown

A thermal fuse protects the dryer from overheating and is usually located on the blower housing behind the back panel. There may be another one on the heating element. If you are able to unplug the dryer and remove the thermal fuse, test it with a multimeter. If the fuse does not conduct electrical current, it needs to be replaced. Keep in mind that a clogged vent, vent hose, lint screen, and lint trap are common causes for a blown thermal fuse. Prevent this issue — and fires — from happening in the future by scheduling a professional dryer vent cleaning.

How To Fix It: Contact your local Mr. Appliance service professional to confirm your suspicions and replace your unit’s thermal fuse.

Diagram of the front and back of a dryer showing the location of common parts to troubleshoot.

5. The Door Latch/Switch Is Defective

If the dryer can’t sense that the door is closed, the motor will not run. To check for this problem, you’ll need to unplug the unit, remove the door switch (from under the top panel), and use a multimeter on the switch.

How To Fix It: If you need to diagnose this issue, source the part, or have a new latch and switch installed, contact Mr. Appliance.

6. The Start Switch Is Broken

It’s impossible to run a dryer with a broken start switch. If you start your unit and hear it humming, your start switch is in working order. However, if you turn your appliance on and hear nothing, it’s time to call a professional.

How To Fix It: If your unit is not starting, contact your local Mr. Appliance and schedule a ‘start switch’ repair.

7. The Belt Is Broken or Worn-out

Another common dryer issue is a broken or worn-out drive belt. This belt is responsible for rotating the drum inside your unit. If the belt malfunctions, your dryer will stop spinning and working properly. This belt can be replaced, which should resolve the problem.

How To Fix It: It’s best to contact a professional to repair a broken or worn-out belt, but it’s possible to DIY.

8. The Motor May Be Malfunctioning

If your unit’s motor is malfunctioning or faulty, its drum or blower may not turn, which stops the dryer from operating properly. An obstruction under the unit’s belt may also prevent the unit from starting. If there are no obstructions, consider calling a professional to replace your defective motor.

How To Fix It: Schedule an appointment with a service professional to replace a malfunctioning motor.

9. The Vent Is Clogged

Clogged or restricted dryer vents can cause appliances to overheat. This can lead to blown thermal fuses and dryer malfunctions. Clogged vents can also cause other serious problems, like dryer fires. Regularly clean your vents to prevent these types of dryer issues and prolong the life of your unit.

How To Fix It: Unplug your dryer and turn off any gas lines. Pull the unit away from the wall and disconnect the dryer duct. Use a vacuum to clean out the entrance to the dryer duct and the exhaust duct. If there is a significant buildup of lint, you may need to call a professional to clean your dryer venting. Consider inspecting and cleaning the exterior vent surface as well.

10. The Control Board Is Malfunctioning

Malfunctions in the control board or electronic components of your dryer can disrupt the unit’s operation. While this is an uncommon occurrence, it’s still a potential performance disruptor. If your belt, motor, thermal fuse, vents, start switch, door latch, and drum are all in good working order, you may want to consider testing the main control board and contracting a Mr. Appliance professional to replace it.

How To Fix It: Reach out to your local Mr. Appliance for repairs regarding your dryer’s control board.

11. You’ve Overloaded the Dryer

Overloading the dryer with too many clothes can cause it to stop working, as it may become unbalanced or overheated. Filling your unit with too many clothes can also strain the drum and motor, which can cause additional dryer issues in the future.

How To Fix It: To extend the life of your appliance and keep it working longer, make sure you only fill your dryer about halfway. For items made of denser fabrics, consider keeping your loads to about one-third of the drum size.

12. The Drum or Rollers are Misaligned

A misaligned drum and worn-out support rollers can prevent dryers from turning properly. These issues can also impact the drive belt, so check the condition of your belts before replacing the rollers or calling a professional to check the condition of your drum.

How To Fix It: Contact a service professional to diagnose your dryer’s issue and repair or replace your unit’s drum and rollers.

13. The Child Lock Is On

Accidental activation of child lock or control lock features can prevent your dryer from starting. These are safety features designed to keep young children safe around large machinery, but they can also cause frustration when accidentally employed. For units with digital displays, a padlock icon should indicate when this feature is on.

How To Fix It: Refer to your appliance’s user manual for activation and deactivation instructions. Deactivate your unit’s child lock.

14. It’s Time for a New Dryer

Just like any other appliance, your dryer is not designed to last forever. As dryers age, general wear and tear can lead to various mechanical and electrical issues that cause them to stop working. You may want to consider upgrading to a washer-dryer combo or a newer model if you are unable to pinpoint why your dryer won’t start or if the repairs become more expensive than the value of the unit.

How To Fix It: Visit a local appliance store or order a new unit online. Consider scheduling appliance installation for your new dryer.

15. The Unit Timer Is Damaged

A broken timer can result in the knob not properly setting the cycle. Start by checking if the knob turns freely without engaging or if it feels loose. Additionally, listen for any unusual clicking sounds or complete silence when you try to start the dryer.

How To Fix It: Reach out to your local Mr. Appliance and let our professionals inspect and potentially replace your timer.

Additional Common Dryer Issues and How To Fix Them

There are plenty of reasons why your dryer won’t start, heat, or spin. Many of these common dryer issues have quick and easy solutions. However, it may be necessary to contact a professional repair service to resolve bigger jobs and more complex issues.

Dryer Won’t Heat

If your electric dryer is running but won’t heat up, there may be a faulty heating element in the unit. For gas dryers, this issue may be caused by a clogged or blown thermal fuse. You can use a multimeter to test for breaks in your appliance’s electrical path and issues with the thermal fuse.

To remedy your dryer’s heating issue, consider the following:

  • Replacing your electric dryer’s heating element
  • Replacing the thermal fuse on your gas dryer

Drum Won’t Spin

It’s possible your dryer drum won’t spin even if your unit is on. If this occurs, your appliance may have a worn drum bearing or dryer belt. Test it by removing the belt and attempting to turn the drum with your hand. You will need to replace the bearing if the drum stays stationary.

A dryer drum may also not spin if the drive belt is broken. You'll need to check it manually by unplugging the dryer and inspecting the belt inside the unit. Consider replacing an older belt during this check, even if it isn’t the cause of your dryer issue.

Dryer Starts, Then Stops

It's frustrating when a dryer only dries your clothes halfway. When your unit starts and then stops, you lose time and energy. For gas dryers, a failing gas valve solenoid coil may be the culprit. Contact a professional to troubleshoot or repair this issue.

For electric dryers, this can be caused by a blown thermal fuse. To repair your dryer so it functions normally:

  • Clean your dryer vents, vent hose, lint screen, and lint trap
  • Regularly maintain your appliance

Dryer Squeaks or Squeals

White noise from appliances is nearly constant, but loud squeaking and squealing from your dryer are indications of an issue. Typically, these types of noises are caused by malfunctioning idler pulleys. These parts control a drum’s tension, which can cause excessive friction and noise if they fail.

To stop these noises, you'll need to replace your idler pulley system. Consider calling a professional repair service like Mr. Appliance to quickly and effectively replace a loose or malfunctioning idler pulley.

FAQ About Dryer Repair

It’s common to have questions about repairing a broken dryer. Below, you will find answers to a few frequently asked questions about dryer repair from our team of experts.

What Do I Do if I Press the Start Button on My Dryer and Nothing Happens?

If you press the start button on your dryer and nothing happens, you need to check the continuity of your thermal fuse. If your thermal fuse is blown, a multimeter will measure your unit with no continuity. If this occurs, you need to arrange for a thermal fuse replacement.

What Will Cause a Dryer Not To Start?

Various things will cause a dryer not to start, including a blown thermal fuse, clogged vent, malfunctioning motor or control board, misaligned drum or rollers, engaged child lock, overloaded unit, broken or worn-out belt, broken start switch, defective door latch, tripped circuit breaker, faulty outlet, or an unplugged appliance.

How Do I Know if My Dryer Fuse Is Blown?

You will know if your dryer fuse is blown if your unit doesn’t turn on. However, in some models, a blown fuse will only affect the unit’s heating element. If your dryer turns on and the drum spins, but the unit does not heat up, you may have blown a thermal fuse. Use a multimeter to check the continuity of your thermal fuse for the best insights into the condition of your fuse.

Contact an Appliance Pro for Help

If you have tried all the troubleshooting ideas above and your dryer still won’t start, the problem could be related to the motor or other component that requires professional expertise. In this case, it’s time to contact your local Mr. Appliance and schedule a service. Our experienced service professionals have years of experience in the appliance repair industry. They can diagnose the problem quickly, find a solution, and get your dryer working again. Don’t go another day without a working dryer. Contact your local Mr. Appliance today!

This article is intended for general guidance only and may not be applicable to every situation. You are responsible for determining the proper course of action for your property and your situation. Mr. Appliance is not responsible for any damages that occur as a result of any advice or guidance derived from blog content. For the most accurate guidance, contact an independently owned and operated Mr. Appliance business for a professional custom and on-site assessment.