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  1. Repair

Dryer burning smell

Common reasons your dryer burning smell

The most common reasons your dryer has a burning smell are an open heating element, broken idler assembly or a worn drum bearing.

  • 56%

    56% of the time it's the
    Heating Element

  • 23%

    23% of the time it's the
    Idler Assembly

  • 11%

    11% of the time it's the
    Drum Bearing

  • 10%

    10% of the time it's the
    Something else

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    Common dryer repair parts you may need

    Replacing one of these dryer parts may fix your problem.

    Heating Element Replacement

    If the heating element in your dryer breaks and shorts against metal inside the cabinet, it could emit a burning smell. You might detect a metallic odor or burning insulation from the wiring when the damaged element makes contact with metal. If you notice a burning scent emanating from the dryer, turn it off immediately and schedule a visit from a Sears Home Services Technician to inspect it. The technician will examine the heating element and replace it if necessary.


    Idler Assembly Replacement

    If you detect a burning smell from your dryer, it may be due to a worn or broken idler assembly. A faulty idler assembly fails to properly tension the drive belt on the drum, causing it to slip across the drum and heat up rapidly. If you notice a rubbery burning odor emanating from the dryer, it's advisable to have a Sears Home Services Technician inspect it. The technician will replace the idler assembly if necessary.

    Drum Bearing Replacement

    If you detect a burning smell emanating from your dryer, it might be due to a worn drum bearing. The drum bearing is responsible for reducing friction between the drum and the cabinet during rotation. However, when the drum bearing wears out, friction between the drum and the cabinet can lead to overheating, resulting in a burning odor reminiscent of metal or plastic. If you notice such an odor from your dryer, it's advisable to have a Sears Home Services Technician inspect it and replace the worn drum bearing if necessary.

    What to expect when you experience a dryer burning smell issue

    How is the burning smell problem in a dryer fixed?

    Addressing most instances of a burning smell typically requires replacing the heating element, idler assembly, or drum bearing. Nevertheless, given the various potential causes, conducting a comprehensive diagnosis is crucial for resolving the issue. An accurate diagnosis is vital for determining the extent of the repair needed.

    Sears Home Services advice for resolving a dryer burning smell

    If your dryer emits a burning odor, it could stem from various causes. To prevent unnecessary part replacements, we advise consulting a Sears Home Services expert to conduct diagnostic tests and pinpoint the underlying issue. Our skilled technicians specialize in diagnosing a wide range of dryer malfunctions.

    What to look for with a dryer burning smell diagnosis

    Understanding and diagnosing modern appliances without adequate knowledge and training can be challenging. Simply replacing parts without employing proper diagnostic methods may not effectively resolve the issue with your dryer. Over the past decade, appliances have evolved significantly, with many now incorporating complex electronic components that are challenging to assess. Consequently, do-it-yourself repairs on newer appliance models are becoming progressively more intricate.

    What our customers say about us

    With more than 1.3 Million 5 Star Reviews, you don't have to take our word for it

    Excellent service from Daniel

    Daniel provided excellent service and was very quick to perform the repair. I have nothing good to say about the warranty program and the LACK of customer service and the inability to contact a human being to talk.


    Tammy M, Hilton, NY

    Satisfied customer

    Excellent technician Very thorough and detail oriented Would be happy to have him work on appliances again He managed to find our ranch headquarters in the middle of the desert


    Rose W, Las Cruces, NM

    Dryer service

    He was professional and polite. I didn't call back later that afternoon, although he replaced a thermostat the smart dry timer doesn't work as I was still having the same issue. The lady said she would email him and have him return. Never heard from anyone else.


    Terry F, Oklahoma City, OK

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    Common dryer symptoms to look out for