Dryer Won’t Spin and Makes a Humming Noise

Paradise Appliance
December 2, 2021
Dryer Repair

If your dryer makes a humming noise and will not spin, there is most likely an issue with the drive belt. Typically, when the dryer will not spin, it makes a humming noise while it tries to turn the drum, but because of a drive belt issue, the drum will not spin. Other likely causes of a drum struggling or failing to spin include the idler pulley, dryer rollers, glides, support bearing, or a defective motor.

Read on to troubleshoot the problem and fix your dryer.

Accessing the dryer

Accessing the dryer belt to check its condition will depend on the type of dryer that you have. In most cases, you will need to remove the front panel of the dryer and often the top panel as well. For some issues, the rear panel may need to be removed.

Depending on the type of dryer, you may also be able to remove the top panel by using a putty knife to release it. Once you remove the top panel, you will need to disconnect the door switch wiring harness and then unscrew and remove the front panel of the dryer.

If you are unsure how to access the dryer, examine the dryer for where screws are located. By noting where the screws are, you should get a good idea of how you can access the dryer to check and replace the components below.

Always disconnect the power or gas before accessing the dryer. Wearing work gloves to protect yourself from cuts and electric shocks is also advised.

1. The dryer belt is worn or broken

If your dryer makes a humming noise but will not spin, the dryer’s drive belt that turns the drum could be worn or broken. To get an indication if the dryer belt is defective, reach inside the dryer and try to turn the drum manually. If the drum turns easily without resistance, the dryer belt is likely responsible.

Follow these steps to check the dryer belt:

  1. Disconnect the power or gas to the dryer.
  2. Remove the relevant access panels.
  3. Locate the drive belt, which should be tight around the drum. If the belt is worn or broken, replace the belt.

2. Dryer belt is off the idler pulley or support rollers

Another source of the drum not turning is if the belt has come off the idler pulley or drum support rollers. To diagnose this issue, you will need to access the dryer belt and pulleys. Depending on the condition of the belt and the pulleys, you will either need to put the belt back on the pulleys or replace the worn belt or damaged pulleys.

3. Damaged idler pulley

The idler pulley helps rotate the dryer drum by putting tension on the drive belt. When the idler pulley is working correctly, the tension ensures the belt does not fall off the drum. If the dryer is humming and the drum is not turning, a broken idler pulley may be to blame. The most common symptom of a failing idler pulley is hearing a squealing or squeaking sound, which indicates the bearings inside the idler pulley have worn.

Follow these instructions to access and replace the idler pulley:

  1. Disconnect the power or gas to the dryer.
  2. Remove the relevant access panels.
  3. Locate the idler pulley at the bottom of the dryer, where the drive belt should be threaded through the pulley.
  4. Inspect the idler pulley for damage.
  5. If the idler pulley needs to be replaced, release the belt by pushing the idler pulley to the right to release the tension on the belt. Once the belt is taken off the idler pulley, you will either be able to simply remove it, or there will be screws to unthread to remove the idler pulley from the dryer.
  6. Replace a defective idler pulley with a new one; then rethread the drive belt through the new pulley.

4. Worn drum roller or axle

The dryer drum is supported by rollers, which help it to rotate. Some models have two or more rollers that support the rear of the drum, while other models may have two extra rollers to support the front of the drum as well.

If a roller or its axle wears out, the drum will either struggle or fail to rotate. Like the idler pulley, a squeaking sound when the drum is turning indicates a problem with the rollers or their axles.

If your dryer has front rollers, they will be located on the front bulkhead. To access the rear rollers, you will need to remove the back panel or dryer drum from the dryer.

If you find that a roller is damaged, it is best to replace all of the rollers at the same time.

5. Worn drum glides or slides

Some dryers have plastic glides, also called slides, that support the front of the drum. Over time, the glides can become worn, which then puts pressure on the dryer motor, affecting the drum’s ability to rotate. If the glides are badly damaged, the motor may shut down and not rotate the drum.

The glides can be checked for wear and tear by removing the front panel of the dryer. If a glide is defective, you might as well replace all of the glides, as they usually come in a set.

6. Worn drum support bearing

With some dryers, the dryer drum is supported by a bearing on the back of it. The bearing is located in the center of the drum support. If the bearing has worn, the drum will be making a lot of noise, and when the drive belt is removed, the drum will not spin.

To access the drum support, the rear panel of the dryer will need to be removed. If the bearing is defective, replace it with a new one.

7. Defective dryer motor

The dryer’s motor turns the drum and the blower wheel. A dryer that stops mid cycle is often an indication of a failing motor that is overheating and causing the dryer to shut down.

The dryer’s drum will likely need to be removed to access the dryer’s motor. However, depending on your model, you may be able to access the motor underneath the drum once you have removed the front panel.

Before checking the motor, make sure that the blower wheel can turn freely. If nothing is obstructing the blower wheel, check if you can rotate the drum when the drive belt is removed. If nothing is obstructing the blower wheel and the drum turns freely, the motor is most likely defective and will need to be replaced.

As a new motor can be expensive, it makes sense to contact a trained technician to be sure that the dryer motor needs to be replaced.


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