Online Dryer Diagnostic Guide

by Samurai Appliance Repair Man on August 25, 2004

in Dryer Repair

Dryer (Gas and Electric) Diagnostic & Repair Guide
Problem Possible Causes
[Gas and Electric]
Dryer drum won’t turn.
  • The belt’s broken. Turn the drum by hand. If it turns reeel easy, you gotsa broken belt, Hoss. Also, look for contributing causes for the belt to break such as worn drum rollers, damaged felt kit, or stiff idler roller. For belt replacement help on most major brands, click here.
  • The motor’s burned out. If you hear it "Hummmm…CLICK!" when you try to start it, you probably got a fried motor. Remove belt from motor pulley and start dryer to see if it still does it.
  • The thermal fuse is open. Check continuity with….your ohm meter.
[Gas and Electric]
The thing runs but it’s noisier ‘n my mother-in-law.
  • Could be worn drum rollers, idler pulley>, or drum front slide kit. Whirlpool/Kenmore problems will usually be in the rear drum rollers or idler pulley, Maytag problems will usually be the front slide kit. GE/Hotpoint problems will usually be the front slide kit or rear drum center bearing.
  • It’s fairly common for the blower wheel to wallow out and rattle around on Maytags and Magic Chefs. This type of noise is most noticeable when first starting the dryer and then when the stopping it.
  • If the idler pulley bearing is burned out, you’ll usually hear a high-pitched squealing noise.
[Gas and Electric]
Takes forever to dry a load of clothes.
  • Dryer vent is too long, kinked/restricted, or full of lint. I’ll betcha your using a big ‘ol run of white vinyl–that’s a Bozo no-no unless you want to burn down your house. Oh sure, don’t believe me. I only see this about every frikkin’ day. Do yourself a favor change out the cheesy vent system. For best results, vent length should not exceed 12 feet.
  • Your dryer lint filter is clogged with crap ’cause you’re too freakin’ lazy to clean it out each time you run a load of clothes.
  • Check them operating thermostats!
[Gas and Electric]
Lazy thing won’t run at all.
  • No power at the outlet, duh! Measure for 120v (gas dryers), and 240v L1 to L2 plus 120v L1 or L2 to neutral in an electric dryer outlet. More information on electric dryer outlet anatomy in this enlightening repair revelation.
  • The door switch is broken. Sometimes you can just look at it and tell, other times you gotta check the continuity using a meter (*gasp*).
  • The thermal fuse is open. Locate it with the help of the dryer’s wiring diagram and test it electrically. You gotta use the wiring diagram, Hoss. How in tarnation you gonna fix anything if you don’t use the wiring diagram? Don’t know how to read it? Well then, you shouldn’t be reading this repair guide, either–go call a professional.
[Electric Only]
My electric dryer runs but it won’t heat up.
  • One leg of the 240 volts AC at the dryer outlet is missing. Oh, I can hear you now, "Yo, Mr. Smarty=pants Samurai Guy, I know it has power because the motor runs. Dontcha get it?" Listen, knucklehead, the circuit breaker for an electric dryer is a two-pole, 30 amp breaker. One leg can break disabling the heating element leaving the other leg to run the motor. I only see this about every frikkin’ day, so try not running your mouth so much and learning something for a change. ‘K? ‘K.
  • The heating element is open. Ohm it out, Hoss. You should get between 12 to 35 ohms.
  • One of the thermostats are open. Check continuity.
  • Bad timer contact in heater circuit. You gotta use the wiring diagram here. If you can’t do this, call a pro.
  • Bad temperature selector switch…you know what to do.
[Gas Only]
My gas dryer runs but it won’t heat up.
  • First off, consult the much bally-hooed Gas Dryer Problem Solver.
  • Fried ignitor. This is definitely the case if the ignitor is visibly broken. Measure for 120v at the ignitor terminals. If you get 120v, it’s a bad ‘n.
  • Failed gas valve or holding valve coil. Check the resistance on each valve coil. You may also need to actuate each valve with a test cord since they may only fail after being actuated a couple of times. This can be tricky, Hoss, but I gots face in ya.
  • One of the thermostats are open. Check continuity.
  • Bad flame sensor. If flame fails to ignite at all and the ignitor is not getting 120v, suspect the flame sensor.
  • Couple links here on dryer gas burners: Dryer Gas Burner Know-How and How to Check the Components in a Gas Dryer Burner.

Recommended Reading: Dryer Disassembly for Most Common Brands and Models

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