How To Repair A Dryer That Isn’t Tumbling

About this repair:
  • Rated as EASY
  • 1011 repair stories
  • 5 step by step videos


The drive belt turns the dryer drum, but if it has gotten brittle, inflexible or frayed with age and use, the drum could stop tumbling the clothes. You’ll find the belt behind the front panel, or under the main top of the dryer, depending on your model. You can unplug the dryer and replace your drive belt if it’s lost its flexibility and no longer has good grip on both sides.

Idler Pulley Assembly

Your dryer’s idler pulley supplies tension on the drum belt to keep the belt from slipping on the drive motor pulley or the drum when your dryer’s spinning a load. The pulley spins quickly, so the friction here can wear it out. You can check by unplugging the dryer, then taking off the lower access panel or the front panel of your dryer and finding the idler pulley and its shaft, usually at the base next to the drive motor. Remove the belt. There shouldn’t be any play when you manually turn the pulley, and it ought to rotate smoothly. You can replace the pulley and also its shaft if that is worn out. There’s a spring assembly to keep the tension tight on the belt. If that’s not holding the belt firmly, you can switch it out for a new one.

Maintenance Kit

There are certain parts to a dryer that typically wear out over time. So your dryer’s manufacturer may sell a maintenance kit of these parts, many of which have to do with the tumble function. If you decide you need new belts, bearings, an idler pulley or drum rollers, you might want to calculate whether your model’s maintenance kit would be a better deal for you than buying the parts individually.

Drive Motor

The dryer drum is turned by a motor, which also operates the dryer’s blower. A broken motor may have been making a humming noise if a switch or winding has gone bad. The test to see if the motor is not working requires live voltage sent to the motor terminals, so this is a job for a service technician.

Door Switch

The door switch is a safety feature that only allows the dryer to run when the door is fully closed. So it’s possible that your dryer won’t tumble because the signal that the door’s really closed isn’t being sent. Depending on your model, you’ll usually find the switch poking through the front panel into the dryer door frame. Unplug the dryer, and use your multi-meter to check for continuity. Test between the C terminal and the NO terminal: you ought to get zero ohms if the door switch button is down or the door itself is closed.

More Repair Parts

Still not sure which part is broken? We can offer you custom troubleshooting help if you search with your model number.