Is your GE dryer making noises, but not spinning when you try to start it? Do the lights come on in the drum, but it won't spin? Can you hear the motor turn on when you start a cycle, but all it does is hum? Maybe no motor sounds, but you hear the timer running. This is the spot to walk through the causes for this situation.
- We're not talking about a dead, unresponsive dryer, for that try our Dryer Won't Start page.
- If your dryer just stopped spinning in the middle of a cycle, check our Dryer Stops Mid Cycle page.
Door Switch Failed
- Some dryers may show some signs of life, like a humming timer motor, but won't turn on and tumble the clothes when the start button is pressed.
- On older or simpler dryers, if the door switch goes bad, the dryer acts completely dead.
The door switch can be more readily checked from the outside of the dryer, so we do it first.
- A quick check is to plug the dryer in and try to operate the door switch with a pencil or your finger, listen for a click, and see if the dryer starts.
- If it does start, you know the switch can work.
- Check that your dryer door is not damaged or bent.
- Some dryers have a small boss or probe that operates the door switch, if this is broken it will not work. Replace it.
- If the door's ok, the switch may work, but be worn out or have a broken operating lever so that the door won't operate it anymore,
- Check to see if the switch has come loose or wiggles.
- If it's snug, replace it, it's worn out.
- If it wiggles or is loose, tighten it, then check it again with the door. If it doesn't work, replace it.
- If there's no click, and it doesn't start, unplug the dryer. It's time to test it with a meter.
- Disconnect one terminal on the switch.
- Using a multimeter set to the continuity or Rx1 setting to check the switch.
- When the switch is pushed it should show continuity. If it doesn't, replace it.
- If it tests good, move on to the start switch.
Start Switch Failed
Unplug the dryer. If you have a mechanical push button or knob to start the dryer, this is the one to check; if the start switch doesn't work, the dryer won't start.
- You may be able to get to this switch in an upper console on the unit, and not have to open the whole dryer up.
- Disconnect it from the machine (you probably don't have to remove it).
- Test continuity when the switch is pushed as it is only a momentary contact.
- If it doesn't show continuity when pressed (a continuity beeper on the meter helps here) it needs to be replaced.
- If it's good, go to the next step.
Drive Belt Problem
Some dryers will also show some small activity with a broken drive belt.
- In some cases, the motor will run, but the drum won't turn. That's a sure sign of a belt problem.
- In others, especially newer dryers, the unit will not do anything if it has a broken belt when a cycle is selected and you try to start it. The belt switch disables the machine.
- To check quickly for a broken drive belt:
- Reach into the dryer and try to spin the drum by hand.
- If it spins very easily, that's an indication of a broken drive belt. Go to the Loose or Broken Drive Belt step below.
- If it won't spin at all or is very hard to turn, it could be a bearing problem or a clogged blower.
- You'll need to check the belt and blower visually to be sure, which means some disassembly of your dryer. Go to the next step.
Blown Thermal Fuse / Thermal Cutout
Once you are inside the dryer cabinet, check the thermal fuse and thermal cutout at the same time you check the belt and blower. This fuse is a possible culprit for dryers that won't spin. The cutout is more often the culprit when they won't heat.
- Unplug the dryer. Many dryers are designed so that if the thermal fuse blows, the dryer will not start because the motor can't run when it is blown. The fuse will likely be located near the rear part of the unit, where the heated air will flow out of the dryer drum.
- There may be two of these fuses, on some models one is called the thermal fuse, and the other is called the thermal cutout. The cutout is usually located near the heat source, like on the heating element shroud on an electric dryer.
- To test these you just need to check continuity. Make sure the dryer is unplugged. (don't find out the hard way). Disconnect the wires from the thermal fuse and then check it. Use the continuity beeper of your meter if it has one. Does it indicate continuity? If no continuity, it needs to be replaced. The same thing can be done for the thermal cutout.
- If either the cutout or the thermal fuse has blown, it's an extremely good idea at this point to also make sure that all the exhaust ducts are not blocked with lint or other objects. These will slow the airflow and make the dryer overheat and blow the thermal fuse again. For more tips on thermal fuse issues see this page
- If either the cutout or the thermal fuse has blown, but your drum was hard to turn, you should also check bearings and rollers too and make sure everything is spinning freely. A blower running slowly can be a problem and can make the motor thermal protection activate from being overloaded.
Loose or Broken Drive Belt
You're looking at the inside of your dryer and you can see the drive belt that goes around the dryer drum. The drum works like a huge pulley for the belt to run on.
- Check the belt. Is it snug to the drum so you can barely slide it side to side? If it's good, go to the next step.
- Is it loose, but not broken? This is likely a problem with the idler or tensioner pulley. The belt may have slipped off the pulley, or the spring has broken. The idler pulley is usually located down low inside the machine, near the motor.
- Check that it turns freely. You might have to loosen the belt slightly to spin the pulley.
- Slip the belt back on if it fell off. The spring tension on the idler pulley should work so that the pulley makes the belt tight. So the belt should be looped around the pulley in a way that the spring on the pulley tightens the belt.
- If the belt is broken, you'll need to replace it. Make sure you get one for your exact model.
Also, it's possible the belt was installed wrong side up or has become twisted. Is the ribbed side against the drum? If you see the ribs you need to flip the belt over.
- Loosen the belt by slipping it off the tension pulley (note carefully how it went on before you do; maybe even take a picture.)
- Flip the loose belt over on the drum, then reach below and flip it on the motor pulley.
- Put tension back on the belt with the idler pulley, and spin things by hand to see that the belt is now smooth side out on the drum and the motor pulley.
Clogged or Jammed Blower
Your dryer's blower might have an impediment which will not allow the blower wheel to turn freely. This can be a small sock or other small piece of laundry that may have fallen down the lint filter holder. and been sucked in to the blower.
- Remove the blower cover and check inside for lint or small pieces of laundry
- Clean out any lint you find as well as any laundry items.
Drum Bearing Worn Out
Some dryers have a bearing in the center rear part of the drum, that supports the drum. This bearing can fail making the drum very difficult to turn. Take a look; does it look like the drum is supported from the back panel of the dryer? If your unit has rollers that support the drum from below, go to the next step, Drum Rollers Failed.
If the bearing is bad enough, the motor won't turn the drum. Loosen the belt by slipping it off the tension pulley (note carefully how it went on before you do)
- Try to turn the drum by hand, and watch if it turns easily. If not, the drum bearing is bad. You need to replace it.
- If things spin freely, then it's time to check the belt switch.
Drum Rollers Failed
Many dryers have rollers that support the drum both at the front and at the rear. To check this, you will try spinning the drum with the belt loose.
- Loosen the belt by slipping it off the tension pulley (note carefully how it went on before you do)
- Try to turn the drum by hand, and watch if it turns easily. If not, one or more of your drum rollers have gone bad. You need to replace them.
- If any are bad, it's a good idea to replace all of them at one time, since others may be wearing out too.
- If everything turns freely, go to the next step.
Belt Switch Problem
You checked the drive belt, the tensioner or idler, and the bearings and all is ok. What else? Try checking the belt switch. It doesn't often fail, but it is fairly simple to check.
- If you skipped to the Loose or Broken Drive Belt step earlier, go back and do the Blown Thermal Fuse/ Thermal Cutout step then do this check next.
- This is a switch that is usually located next to the tensioner or idler pulley assembly that keeps the belt tight around the drum of the dryer. If you didn't already check, make sure this pulley spins freely. Your dryer may just have the pulley mounted on a leaf spring and doesn't have a belt switch, if this is the case, skip to the next topic.
- This pulley is frequently mounted on a spring loaded arm. The arm is set up so that when there is no belt going around the pulley (like when the belt is broken) the spring pulls the arm down so that it operates a switch. This switch shuts down the dryer and keeps it from operating for safety. If the clothes can't tumble, they could overheat, or block airflow. If the switch fails the dryer will not work.
- Make sure the dryer is unplugged. You want to test for continuity with the switch in the un-operated or normal position, between the COM and NC terminals.
- Does the motor itself spin freely? If it doesn't, that's a problem that has to be corrected.
- The motor bearings may have just worn out. You'll need to replace the motor.
The timer may have failed, Replace it after you check continuity on the contacts. You will need specific information on your model to do this.
If your motor has failed, you are likely having issues with the dryer stopping mid cycle. This can come about because a motor overheats and stops until it cools down.
Faulty Main Control Board
The main control board can fail, but like the motor it is something of a last resort to replace.