Common Dryer Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Is your dryer not working? Don’t despair! There’s a chance you can fix it yourself.

Here’s the first thing to understand about dryer repair: Many common dryer issues can be resolved independently. You don’t have to seek out a technician, schedule a service appointment, or spend hundreds of dollars on dryer repairs.

The repair solutions provided in this article address approximately 90 percent of dryer malfunctions. While most repairs can be completed within an hour, it’s advisable to allocate additional time for sourcing replacement parts. Apart from basic tools like a socket set and screwdrivers, you may also require a continuity tester or multimeter to diagnose the problem.

Unplug Your Dryer Before Repairing It

The initial step in any appliance repair is to ensure it’s receiving electricity. Unplugged cords and tripped breakers are among the primary causes of appliance “breakdowns.”

How to Disassemble a Dryer

Many types of dryer repair involve disassembling the outer cabinet to access internal components, and you may not even need a dryer repairman. The process of dryer disassembly varies slightly depending on the location of the lint filter. For gas dryers, accessing parts typically involves removing the top and front panels rather than the back or sides.

If your dryer’s lint filter is inside the front door, follow these steps for disassembly: Start by removing the screws at each corner of the control panel. Flip the panel up and back to reveal the screws in the top panel. Once the screws are removed, pull the top toward you and lift it off. To access the bottom panel, release the spring catches by inserting a putty knife into the slot just above them. With the bottom panel open, you can then remove the front panel by unscrewing two screws at the top and two at the bottom.

If your filter slides into the top of the dryer, begin by removing the screws alongside the filter slot. Then, using a putty knife, release the two spring catches located under the top panel at the front. Tilt the top panel up, similar to a car hood, and remove the screws that secure the front panel in place.

How To Fix A Dryer That Won’t Start

If your dryer appears completely unresponsive when switched on, it’s likely that the door switch is faulty or the plunger is damaged or misaligned. Door switches can wear out over time due to normal use, but excessive force, such as repeatedly slamming the door, can expedite their deterioration.

To begin troubleshooting the dryer, start by inspecting the plunger located on the door. If it’s missing or bent, it will need to be replaced. If the plunger appears intact, the next step is to remove the top cabinet panel to access the door switch. Refer to the disassembly instructions for guidance.

Test the door switch for continuity using a multimeter. If the switch shows continuity, proceed to test the thermal fuse, which is typically mounted on the blower housing. However, if you have a gas dryer with the lint filter located in the door, access the thermal fuse by opening the bottom panel. For dryers where the lint filter slides into the top of the machine, remove the entire front panel. In the case of an electric dryer, remove the rear service panel.

If the thermal fuse does not register continuity, do not simply replace it. A blown thermal fuse is an indication of other underlying issues, such as a malfunctioning thermostat or a clogged vent. Address these issues before proceeding with the dryer repair and replacing the fuse.

What To Do If Your Dryer Is Making Noises

If your dryer is emitting thumping or rumbling noises, the most probable cause is worn-out drum support rollers. It’s advisable to replace all of them. If the noise persists, consider replacing the tensioner roller as well (details below). As disassembling the machine takes longer than replacing the rollers and belts, it’s recommended to replace both components simultaneously.

Dryer Isn’t Heating

If your dryer isn’t drying clothes, the first step is to inspect the airflow from the dryer vent tube. Lint accumulation in the vent can obstruct airflow, resulting in prolonged drying times or ineffective drying altogether. If this isn’t the issue, there are several other common solutions to explore, ranging from checking the breaker box to cleaning the lint filter.

However, there are additional problems that could cause a dryer to tumble but fail to produce heat. In such cases, begin by testing the continuity of the thermal fuse. If the thermal fuse is functional, proceed to inspect the radiant sensor, particularly for gas dryers. This sensor monitors the igniter and activates the gas valve coils when the igniter reaches optimal temperature.

A faulty sensor can disrupt the entire heating process. Test it for continuity and replace it if necessary. If the sensor is functioning correctly, disconnect the electrical connector to the igniter and check it for continuity. Replace it if it fails the continuity test.

If both the radiant sensor and the igniter pass the continuity test, consider replacing the gas valve coils. To do so, remove the retaining plate, unplug the sensors, and detach them from the gas valve.

For electric dryers, if the thermal fuse is in working condition, examine the heater element for continuity. Replace the element if continuity is not detected.

Dryer Doesn’t Rotate

It could be a broken belt. To replace it, start by removing the front cabinet panel and lifting the entire drum out of the cabinet. Then, use a shop vacuum to remove all lint buildup. Next, manually spin the tensioner roller to check for smooth operation and inspect it for any cracks. If the tensioner fails either test, replace it.

Once the drum is reinstalled, loop the new belt around it with the ribs facing the drum. Some tensioners are positioned behind the motor, making them difficult to see from the front access panel. In this case, you’ll need to rely on touch. Reach around the blower housing, lift the tensioner, and guide the belt around the motor pulley.

Dryer Door Won’t Stay Shut

If your dryer door refuses to stay closed, it’s likely that the latch is either bent, missing, or the strike is worn out. Fortunately, the solution is simple and cost-effective. You can purchase the necessary parts from any appliance parts store. All you’ll need are pliers, a couple of small, straight-slot screwdrivers, and a roll of masking tape.

Start by removing the bent or broken latch and installing the new one. Apply firm pressure while pushing it in until the locking tabs securely seat. Next, safeguard the door’s finish by applying tape and proceed to remove the old strike. Use a small screwdriver to jam into the strike and bend the metal locking tab inward. Then, pry upward with a second screwdriver to release it (refer to Photo 2). Once the old strike is removed, snap in the new one, and your dryer will be back in business.

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