You’re trying to dry a load of laundry, but your dryer won’t start. The machine just buzzes or smells burnt and doesn’t do anything else.
Dryers have several components that can cause them to malfunction. Here are some of the most common issues why your dryer won’t start a spin or just buzzes or maybe smells burnt. It’s really not that complicated when you know what to look out for.
- Reasons Your Dryer Won't Start
- Checking Your Dryer Belt Drive
- Dryer Won't Start Belt Is Not Broken
- Verdict: Dryer Won't Start Spin Just Buzzes
Reasons Your Dryer Won’t Start
Dryers provide a much-needed service by helping you clean and dry your clothes, but it also saves you from having to hang out in the laundromat for hours. But sometimes, even when you’ve followed all the instructions and done everything right, your dryer just won’t start.
Check the Power Supply
The power supply is the first thing you should check if your dryer won’t start. Make sure that the circuit breaker is not tripped or that the breaker has not been turned off.
Examine the cord and plug for any damage and whether the line voltage is too high or low. In addition to cuts and tears, there may be a hole in the cord, a common problem if you unplug and replug into the outlet by pulling on one end. This can cause an electrical short and make your dryer buzz or smell like burning electronics when plugged in but not turned on.
If you open up the back of your dryer and see no visible damage to your power cord, check its connection to its socket at both ends for loose wires or damage to its plug prongs at either end of where they insert into their sockets. If everything looks okay, try resetting your circuit breaker by flipping it on and off several times.
Check for a Faulty Door Switch
If your dryer doesn’t start, it could be due to a faulty door switch. The door switch is the sensor that tells the dryer whether or not the door is closed. If this sensor is faulty, it will not send an electrical signal to the main control board, which will not allow your dryer to start.
To determine if this is your problem, you can test the door switch by removing it from its housing and checking for continuity between the hot and neutral wires. If there is no continuity between these two wires, you may need to replace the door switch.
Burning Smell Indicates Problem With Belt Drive
If your dryer makes a burning smell, you may have a problem with the belt drive. The belt drive is responsible for moving the drum from front to back and left to right. If your clothes aren’t going around in circles as they should be, there is probably an issue with this part of your dryer.
If your dryer smells of gas, this will require further investigation to check for blockages in the ventilation or exhaust systems. Or it could indicate a problem with the ignition.
Checking Your Dryer Belt Drive
Before you do any kind of inspection on your dryer, you must turn off the power. Unplug the device from the wall outlet, pull the relevant fuse from the fuse box, or toggle the relevant breaker in the panel. The belt can be found under the top panel of your dryer.
Is the Dryer Belt Worn or Broken
If your dryer belt is worn or broken, it can cause your dryer to not work properly. If the belt is damaged, you may notice that your dryer takes longer to do a load of clothes. You may also notice that the dryer’s drum doesn’t spin as fast as before.
If your dryer belt is broken or worn, it could also cause damage to other parts of your dryer, like the motor and drum bearings.
How to Check the Dryer Belt:
Step 1: Unplug and turn off the breaker before opening your dryer. This will keep you safe from electrical shock and help keep your dryer working well for years.
Step 2: Remove the lint filter. Once everything is turned off and unplugged, look at the back of your dryer to see if any screws are holding down the lint filter. If screws are holding down your lint filter, remove them using a Phillips screwdriver. Once you have removed all these screws, slide out your lint filter and set it aside.
Step 3: Remove the top panel. Pry the dryer’s top panel up with a flathead screwdriver until it comes loose. Set this aside so you can access all of its parts later if necessary.
Step 4: Find the dryer belt. Look inside at where your belt goes around each pulley. This will let you know where they are located when it comes time for a replacement.
Step 5: Examine the dryer belt’s resistance. Grab one end of the belt with your hand and pull downward while holding on firmly. Do not let go until you feel resistance. Try this at several points along the length of the belt to see if there are any weak spots where it might break or come off soon.
Step 6: Check the dryer belt for any signs of damage. Examine the dryer’s belt for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks and frayed edges. Immediately, if not sooner, you should replace it if you notice any defects.
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Dryer Belt Has Slipped Off Idler Pulley or Guides
Another reason your dryer won’t spin or makes a loud buzzing sound is that the dryer belt has slipped off the idler pulley or guides. This occurs because the idler pulley is connected to a pulley on the motor shaft.
When the belt slips off, the motor shaft runs too fast and slows down quickly when the belt slips back on. This produces a loud buzzing noise. To resolve this issue, you must remove your dryer drum to get to the idler pulley and guides.
Damaged Idler Pulley System
If your dryer is making a noise, the idler pulley system may be damaged and need to be replaced. The idler pulley system is made up of the drum support roller and two idler rollers that are responsible for moving the drum. If these pieces are broken or worn out, they can cause damage to other parts of your dryer and create excessive noise while running.
How to Replace Dryer Idler Pulley:
Step 1: Turn off the dryer’s power. Before starting, unplug the dryer and turn off the breaker switch to prevent electrical shock. Turning off the breaker also prevents any chance of damage to any other electrical appliances connected to the same circuit. Also, the dryer should be cool to the touch before you begin.
Step 2: Remove the screws holding down the top panel of your dryer.
Step 3: Remove the panel to expose the parts inside the dryer. This is a good time to clean and remove accumulated dust and debris.
Step 4: Locate the pulley. You will see an idler pulley attached to a shaft that rotates with each spin cycle.
Step 5: Remove the pulley. Use pliers or some other tool to loosen it from its shaft until you can remove it completely from your machine.
Step 6: Replace the pulley. Attach a new pulley to the motor shaft, making sure the new pulley is lined up with either end-cap of the old one for the same fitment.
Step 7: Replace the lid. Once the new pulley is attached, replace the lid and screw it back on. The dryer is now ready to be used again.
Dryer Won’t Start Belt Is Not Broken
If the belt on the dryer is not broken, the drum could be misaligned or bent.
The drum is a cylinder that sits on top of the motor and holds the clothes tumbling inside. It’s responsible for moving the clothes around in the dryer so they can tumble, and it’s also what allows airflow to get inside the dryer. When your dryer won’t start spinning, it typically means that something is wrong with your drum.
1. Drum Glides or Slides Worn
The drum glide or slide is a piece of metal that allows the drum to move back and forth as it rotates. When they become worn out, they can fall off and cause damage to other parts of the dryer, as well as make a loud noise when it rotates.
In addition, the drum glides and slides should be examined if the dryer won’t start spinning. When the drum rotates, it must move smoothly and freely on rollers. If the rollers are worn or damaged, they may prevent the drum from spinning.
2. Drum Bearing Worn
If your dryer is not spinning, it may be that the drum bearing is worn out. The dryer’s drum bearing allows the drum to rotate, so if your dryer is skipping its spin cycle, it could mean that something has happened to this part.
The drum bearing typically wears out when there is too much friction between the rotating parts of your dryer and those stationary ones. If this part fails, you’ll need to replace it for the machine to work properly again.
3. Worn Drum Roller and Axle
If your dryer won’t start spinning and just buzzes or smells burnt, the drum roller and axle are likely worn. The dryer drum roller is what spins to agitate the clothes and aid in drying them. It’s attached to a shaft, which runs through a pulley and belt system. When this part wears out, it can cause the dryer to overheat and produce smoke or an odor.
The best way to repair this problem is to replace the drum roller and axle assembly. This can be done by removing the front panel of your dryer, then removing the old part and installing a new one.
4. Dryer Motor May Have Failed
The motor may be defective if your dryer does not begin to spin. This is a not-so-common issue with clothes dryers that typically arises only after extensive use.
If your dryer won’t spin and it’s still under warranty, contact the manufacturer to see if they’ll pay for repairs. If they won’t cover them or if there is no remaining warranty on the product, consider having a qualified technician diagnose and repair your faulty appliance as soon as possible before it causes additional problems and costs you more money.
Verdict: Dryer Won’t Start Spin Just Buzzes
If your dryer is not starting or only buzzing, there are many reasons and ways to identify the buzzing sound.
If the buzz comes from your dryer’s drum, it can be caused by a few different things. It could be that you have a buildup of dust on the inside of the drum, which can cause friction between your clothes and the drum. If this is the case, use some cleaning products to remove the dust and lubricate your drum with a soft cloth.
Another cause may be something wrong with your motor or belt. If you think this might be an issue with your motor, try replacing it before you purchase new ones for other parts to save money and time.
Andy has over 8 years of experience working on residential household appliances, performing diagnostics, and repairs across most major brands. He graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology, is NASTeC certified, and has worked for Mr. Appliance. Andy has contributed to features on major publications including Better Home & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Yahoo.com.