4 Reasons Why Your Dryer Won’t Tumble & How to Fix Them

Fleet Appliance
November 12, 2020
Dryer Repair

Dryers have a few distinct functions that work together. They heat, they tumble, and they channel hot moisture-filled air out of your clothes. But when one of those three functions stops working, your clothing stops getting dry. If the dryer stops heating, then the other functions simply flop wet clothes around for half an hour with very little effect. Without airflow, evaporated moisture could not escape and allow the clothes to become dry.

However, if the dryer doesn’t tumble then the clothes simply sit in a heated, moist pile. Talk about the best possible environment for mildew. If your dryer is audibly not tumbling, never spinning when the door is opened, and the clothes enter-exit in the same pile: you have a problem.

The good news is that you don’t have to replace the dryer, just the part preventing that spin. There are a few different parts that might be playing a role in your dryer’s spinning troubles. Let’s explore how to troubleshoot and determine the right course of action for each non-tumbling dryer. 

Prep for Repairs

There are two steps you should take before other investigative repairs. While some tests are best done with the power on, otherwise you want your dryer both empty and unpowered while doing repair-related tasks. 

Empty the Drum

Start by removing all the clothing from your dryer. Whether it is dry or still a pile of damp clothes, pull it out. Damp clothes should be hung and dried traditionally to avoid mildew and to allow your clothes to become wearable.

Unplug the Dryer

Pull the power plug from the wall. For a dryer, this is a formidable task. Remove that giant plug from that giant socket. This will ensure that your dryer is not capable of shocking you when you perform repairs. 

Investigate the Door Switch

Start by checking out whether the door switch is working correctly.  You can often do this by opening and closing the dryer door and pressing the control buttons. Does the dryer acknowledge when the door is open or closed? Does the dryer stop trying to run when you open the door? Does the dryer refuse to start when the door is open, but half-start when the door is closed?

If the dryer responds to the door’s open or closed status, this is not your trouble. However, if your dryer cannot tell if its door is open, the door switch will need to be replaced.

To replace the dryer door switch, you will need to remove the top panel first. Open the dryer door then reach down into the dryer cabinet toward the door pocket. Find the door switch and remove it. Test the old unit and replace it with an identical newly ordered part. Then reassemble your dryer. 

Inspect the Dryer Belt

The next step must go deeper. Make sure your dryer is fully switched off and disconnected before you disassemble it for further tests. After the door switch, the second most likely culprit is the dryer belt. This is the strip of rubberized cloth that surrounds your dryer and keeps it spinning evenly. Combined with the pulley system and the drive shaft, these three pieces are what spins the drum and holds it steady at the same time.

Open up the top and/or front of your dryer by removing the necessary mounting screws and using a putty knife to release clamps underneath the top panel lift. Pull the panels apart until you reach the drum. Spin the drum by hand and see if it spins freely. Inspect the belt all the way around as it spins. Run your hand along and look for damage. Dryer belts can also age and become hard and inflexible, which will detriment the spin of the drum.

If your dryer belt is hardened or damaged, it will need to be replaced. Unfit it from the pulley assembly, then fit a new belt in its place. 

Check Out the Belt Pulley Assembly

The next item to check is the dryer belt pulley assembly. This is often one spring-loaded or flexible pulley designed to hold the dryer drum belt tight while allowing it to have some extra length. The pulley assembly also ensures that the belt stays in the same place as it rotates around the drum. Take a close look at the pulleys that hold your belt in place, look for signs of wear or damage. The pulley arm may have broken or the spring may have lost its force. Most likely, however, the pulley spinner itself will have worn away and begun to scrape against the belt. This may have done additional damage to the belt so that both pieces need to be replaced.

If your belt pulley assembly is broken, slip it out from the current belt. Then attach the new pulley assembly and fit the belt around it until the tightness and alignment is correct. 

Test the Drive Motor

Finally, consider the drive motor. This is the actual motor that spins the entire drum, stabilized by the belt and pulleys. If your drive motor is busted, you will need to replace it. Unfortunately, you will need to remove the drive motor to run a thorough testing. Go though the disassembly process to remove your dryer drum and access the drive motor or to open the back panel to access the drive motor. From there, test the leads of the drive motor to see if it can still process electricity. If your multimeter gives a positive result, ask a trained technician to test the motor with live voltage. If the drive motor is clearly no longer functional, replace it to restore tumbling to your dryer.

—The ability to tumble your clothes is essential to in-homes clothes drying. Tumble fluffs clothes, throwing them through the air where they can release the most moisture. While heat and airflow are important, tumbling makes it possible for your clothes to make the most use of that moisture-removal system.

Are you having dryer performance troubles? Is your dryer too quite and not working because the drum has stopped tumbling? We can help. Our team of appliance repair technicians can assist you with any appliance repairs you may need. Contact us today to schedule your repair services. We look forward from hearing you!


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