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Why Won't My Dryer Start all of a Sudden?

Troubleshooting Your Dryer Issues

Common Dryer Problems and Solutions

Rely on Sears Home Services for Dryer Repairs and Maintenance

Schedule your dryer repair now!

Call (213) 596-2538
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Dryer Won’t Start? Here’s What to Do

10 min readUpdated Mar. 08, 2024Lyle WeischwillDryer
Fixing dryer problems

If your dryer refuses to start, consider exploring common reasons why it might not be kicking into gear before calling in the pros. From simple issues like a door not fully closed to more complex problems like a blown thermal fuse or faulty switches, these troubleshooting tips and DIY repair strategies can help get your dryer back up and running without the need for a technician.


  • Start by ensuring the dryer door is shut completely, and verify that the control panel or timer dial has power, checking the power cord and house circuit breaker if necessary.
  • A faulty door switch, blown thermal fuse, defective start switch, or problems with the electronic control board or timer could be behind a dryer suddenly not starting.
  • To prevent breakdowns and ensure optimal performance, perform regular maintenance tasks such as removing lint, cleaning the vent tube, and scheduling annual preventive maintenance with a Sears technician.

Check the basics first. Something as simple as the dryer door not being shut completely can keep your dryer from starting. Here are some additional reasons why your dryer won't start:

  • The "Control Lock" is enabled on the control panel.
  • A bad door switch is preventing the control from detecting that the door is shut.
  • The house circuit breaker for the dryer is tripped.
  • An internal thermal fuse has blown inside the dryer.
  • The start switch is defective.

If your dryer has a control panel, you know it has power if the control panel lights up. If your dryer has a timer dial instead of a control panel, check for power by opening the dryer door and seeing whether the drum light turns on. If not, check the power cord to make sure it’s plugged in securely and check the house circuit breaker for the dryer to see if it has tripped.

Restoring power to the dryer may fix the starting problem.

Why Won't My Dryer Start all of a Sudden?

There are numerous reasons for a clothes dryer suddenly not starting. Common dryer issues include a faulty door switch or start switch and control problems such as a broken dryer timer or faulty electronic control board:

  • Problems with the door switch can prevent the dryer from starting. To test the switch, open the door press in the door switch lever. If the drum light doesn’t turn off, a failed door switch is the likely reason the dryer won’t start.
  • A blown thermal fuse often prevents an electric dryer from starting. You’ll find the thermal fuse on the blower housing. Unplug the dryer and check the thermal fuse for continuity. Replace the thermal fuse if the multimeter measures no continuity. Check the exhaust vent because a clog in the vent likely caused the thermal fuse to blow.
  • For dryers with a dial timer, a broken push-to-start switch can prevent the motor from running. Use a multimeter to check for continuity through the push-to-start switch. Replace the push-to-start switch if you don’t measure continuity through the wires between the push-to-start switch and motor. It could instead be that the timer has a broken motor switch contact. Following the wiring diagram for the dryer, test for continuity through the wires between the timer and motor. If you don’t have the wiring diagram or this tasks sounds too complicated to do on your own, have a service technician check the timer.
  • Electronically controlled dryers have a circuit board that operates the dryer’s components. A faulty circuit board prevents the dryer from starting. Unplug the dryer and then find the circuit board in the main control panel. It might have burn marks or areas that are shorted out. If the circuit board is faulty, it’s best to let a professional handle the fix.

Troubleshooting Your Dryer Issues

Knowing what can prevent your dryer from starting is one thing – finding and fixing the problem yourself is a whole different ball game. To figure out why your electric dryer won’t start and learn how to fix it, watch this DIY repair video:

If you have a gas dryer, use the advice in our Gas dryer won’t start troubleshooting video to find and fix the problem.

Common Dryer Problems and Solutions

A dryer uses a simple system to dry your clothes: An inner drum rotates wet clothes while circulating heated air through them to collect the moisture and then carry it out through the exhaust hose. Like most people, you probably use your dryer at least once a week. Dryer care is important. When you find the dryer not working, you want to fix the problem as quickly as you can.

Some simple troubleshooting tips for gas and electric dryers help pinpoint the problem and determine if you can repair your dryer or if you need to make a service call to get your dryer repaired by a professional.

Dryer Not Working

A dryer not drying clothes may be because of a broken part or because the dryer isn't getting enough power to operate. Before you start looking at the interior of the dryer, check the plug, power cord and breakers:

  1. Make sure the dryer is securely plugged in and that there is no damage or wear to the plug or cord.
  2. If you have an electric dryer, check the breaker box to make sure the breaker hasn’t been thrown. Since your dryer operates on 240 volts, only one-half of a double breaker may be thrown. This could explain a dryer not heating even though it is running.
  3. If you have a gas dryer, check the gas supply -- if it's not heating (or not running at all) you should check the breaker.

Once you rule out these simple fixes, you can look at how to fix a dryer that's not drying. Specific problems may include the following:

  • Dryer won’t heat
  • Dryer won’t start
  • Dryer won’t spin
  • Dryer makes a lot of noise
  • Dryer starts then stops

Important: Before doing tests or repairs, unplug the dryer. If you have a gas dryer, also shut off the gas supply.

Dryer Not Heating

An electric dryer not heating, even though it's running, is often due to a faulty dryer heating element. You can test the element with a tool called a multimeter. The tool tells you if there are breaks in the electrical path. The reading should be about 15 ohms. If there is no measure of continuity on the meter, replace the dryer heating element.

Besides a broken heating element, several other failures in an electric dryer can keep it from heating.

Here’s an advanced troubleshooting video that shows how to check all components inside a common electric dryer that will keep it from heating.

A gas dryer will run but won’t heat if its thermal fuse blows because the dryer overheated (usually because the vent is clogged, so check the vent path). Use a multimeter to check the thermal fuse and replace the thermal fuse if you don’t’ measure continuity.

In addition to a blown thermal fuse, several other failures can prevent a gas dryer from heating.

Here’s an advanced troubleshooting video that shows how to check all parts inside a common gas dryer that will keep it from heating.

Dryer Not Starting

We covered troubleshooting for a clothes dryer not starting at the top of this article. Follow that advice to fix your dryer when it won’t start.

Dryer Drum Not Turning

If the dryer starts but the dryer drum won’t turn, the dryer might have a worn drum bearing or dryer belt. To test the bearing, remove the belt and try to turn the drum with your hand. If the drum doesn’t turn, the bearing needs to be replaced.

If you hear the dryer motor running but the dryer drum doesn’t turn, the drive belt could be broken. Unplug the dryer, check the drive belt and replace it if it's broken. Even if the belt isn't the cause of your dryer problems, it's a good time to replace an old belt that could cause problems later.

Dryer Making Noises

If your dryer is making squeaking or squealing noises, the idler pulley assembly may be the cause. This assembly controls the tension on the drum belt through friction. Over time, the idler pulley may fail.

Dryer Starts Then Stops

It can be surprising when you start an electric dryer only to come back a few hours later to find your clothes are still wet. If your electric dryer starts and then stops too soon, a dryer thermal fuse could be the culprit if you have an electric dryer.

The dryer thermal fuse is a safety mechanism that detects the temperature of air flowing to the outside vent. If the air too hot, the fuse blows, stopping an electric dryer (a gas dryer keeps running but won't heat). Unfortunately, if the thermal fuse trips, it must be replaced before the dryer will work again. To help keep the thermal fuse from blowing again, perform the dryer maintenance described in your owner's manual.

Rely on Sears Home Services for Dryer Repairs and Maintenance

To keep your dryer running the way it should, pay attention to signs that the machine may be starting to fail. A dryer not drying clothes well today may signal that it is time to make needed repairs.

When you need professional dryer repair services, you can always count on the experts at Sears Home Services. Sears dryer repair technicians know all the top dryer brands such as Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Samsung, GE, LG and Kenmore. We can fix your dryer no matter where you bought it. Sears Home Services has more than 2,500+ local repair technicians across the US who are highly trained and skilled to fix your dryer.

Our techs repaired over a million laundry appliances in the past year, so they have the experience needed to repair your dryer the right way. Choose the nationwide leader in appliance repair to fix your clothes dryer when you encounter a failure.

Regular dryer maintenance such as removing lint, cleaning the vent tube and drum cleaning are recommended to keep your dryer in good shape. You can also prevent costly breakdowns, reduce energy costs and extend the life of your dryer by scheduling a Sears technician to perform annual preventive dryer maintenance.

Bundle dryer and washing machine maintenance to keep both of your laundry appliances in top shape. Add kitchen appliances to your maintenance bundle and save even more by having all of your home appliances serviced in one trip.

When it comes to your home, the house experts at Sears want you to know you don’t have to do it alone. Sears Home Services delivers solutions for your entire home, from appliance care to upgrades for your home. You can trust our experts to help take care of your house so you can enjoy your home.

Schedule your dryer repair now!

Count on our knowledgeable technicians to provide thorough dryer repairs, ensuring your appliance operates at peak performance for years to come.

Call (213) 596-2538 or schedule online now.

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