Solved! My Dryer Won’t Start

Getting stuck with a broken dryer in the middle of laundry day can put a damper on anyone’s mood. Troubleshoot why your dryer won’t start with these tips about what may have gone wrong.

By Brie Greenhalgh | Updated May 20, 2022 4:11 PM

Dryer Won’t Start


Q: I have a huge load of wet clothes that I threw in the dryer, but my dryer won’t start. It worked fine just yesterday, but now nothing happens when I try any of the settings. What could have happened? Do I need to call a repair person or buy a new one?

A: When dryers fail to operate properly, it’s a huge inconvenience. Gone are the days of stringing up yards of clothesline and hanging the family’s clothes on display, but this means that when the dryer isn’t working, you’re out of luck. It’s frustrating to have the dryer acting up after you’ve checked to ensure it’s properly plugged in and the door is completely closed. As with most major appliances, the possible solutions range from a simple fix to a heavy-duty repair that’s best left to a licensed technician. Here are nine possible reasons your dryer won’t start.

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The power cord may be disconnected or defective.

Dryer Won’t Start The Power Cord May be Disconnected


The first issue to check for when a dryer won’t start is whether the power cord is properly plugged in, directly connected, or showing signs of serious damage. Also, a dryer requires a lot of electricity to operate, so it may have tripped the breaker when pulling the necessary power.

Be sure to have the dryer plugged into the wall without an extension cord, which can reduce the overall power draw and prevent a washer or dryer from working properly. Any melting, fraying, or damage of any kind to the power cord needs immediate attention. A local repair technician can help replace it safely.

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There may be a problem with the thermal fuse.

The thermal fuse is a helpful safety feature designed to prevent overheating. It’s also a common cause of dryer issues. When the thermal fuse blows out, the dryer won’t start, which is a safety precaution to prevent a fire.

Sometimes thermal fuses go out due to clogged dryer vents. Keeping vents and hoses regularly maintained can help prevent a dryer from overheating. If it turns out that the dryer vent has been clogged for some time, a technician can test the thermal fuse to see if it’s gone out. It’s a common fix, so they’ll likely have a replacement part available.

Dryer Won’t Start The Start Switch May be Malfunctioning


The start switch may be malfunctioning.

Though they’re designed to last several years, the button to start the dryer could have worn out. A quick way to check if the start switch is the problem is to try pushing it while listening carefully to the dryer. If there’s any kind of humming sound, like the dryer is trying to start, the start switch is probably not the issue. But if no sounds come from the dryer, consider having a professional order and replace the start switch. They may even have one in stock for your model, which would get you back to drying clothes in no time.

A defective drive motor may be the culprit.

One of the more serious problems for why a dryer won’t start could be a faulty drive motor. When a motor goes bad, there is usually a slight humming sound coming from the motor as it tries to rotate the shaft and pulley that spin the drum. The drive motor is usually located at the back of a dryer, and a qualified technician will know how to access it quickly and inspect it for damage or an electrical problem.

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A damaged motor relay can be causing the problem.

A motor relay is a lesser-known part present in some dryers that helps the drive motor operate as long as it’s receiving sufficient electricity as determined by the control board. It’s designed to help prevent electrical overloads and potential ensuing fires.

If the motor relay loses the electrical current from the control board, the relay will trip and stop supplying power to the motor. That means the dryer won’t start or operate. Typically, the relay is damaged in these cases and will need to be replaced before the motor can receive the signal to operate again.

Dryer Won’t Start A Defective Door Switch


A defective door switch might be the issue.

For safety purposes, dryers are designed not to start unless the door is securely locked. Sometimes the simplest solution when a dryer won’t start is to repair defective door switches.

Though it may seem like the door is closing properly, the switches may have lost their ability to sense when the door is locked, or they aren’t locking at all. One indication that door switches have failed is that there won’t be the usual clicking sound that indicates a locked door. If your dryer has a window, another indication the door switches need to be replaced is if the light remains on rather than turning off.

A damaged drive belt can cause a dryer not to start.

The drive belt is what helps spin the drum to keep clothes moving during the drying process. Over time, drive belts can wear down, crack, loosen, or break completely. Some dryer models can still run with a damaged drive belt, though the heating efficiency may suffer. Other dryers have a switch built in that will stop the motor from running if a drive belt is damaged significantly or broken.

If you’re up for diving into the inner workings of your dryer—after unplugging it—you can remove the dryer cabinet to try to inspect the drive belt yourself for damage. Otherwise, a licensed professional can take a look at the belt and check for any other damaged parts at the same time.

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Shorted-out components on the main control board may be to blame.

Circuit boards are present in all electronics, from computers to home appliances like a dryer. Circuit boards help electronics perform tasks and source power. As with any electrical component, though, they can occasionally malfunction.

Though this problem is rarer than others, it’s worth looking into when other common issues don’t seem to be the cause of a dryer that won’t start. If other troubleshooting efforts have come up empty, it’s probably time to call in a licensed technician who will be able to inspect whether the main control board has been damaged or not.

The dryer’s timer may be broken.

If a dryer has a dial or knob to control the timer setting, the timer controls may have broken down. Usually, it’s a broken motor switch contact problem. The timer has its own motor and gears that rotate cams, which are designed to direct electricity to other parts of the dryer. When the motor switch goes out, a dryer won’t start, continue running, or advance the time.

Replacement is the only option for a defective timer. While a faulty dryer timer is another rare problem, it’s worth considering if no other obvious parts have malfunctioned.

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