Dryer Repair 101: common problems, fixes and who to call.


Written by Alyssa Chua

You're doing the laundry, but suddenly you hear strange noises coming from your dryer. Or perhaps it refuses to spin or keeps stopping mid-cycle. Whatever it is, it can be a hassle to encounter problems when drying clothes.

In this guide, we'll walk you through some of the most common dryer issues you may encounter. We provide tips on how to troubleshoot these issues and when to contact a dryer repair service for help.

Common dryer problems (and DIY tips).

Some of the most annoying dryer repair issues can create disruptive noises and prevent your clothes from getting dry. Here are the top five dryer problems you may experience — and how to troubleshoot them.

1. Your dryer is making strange noises or keeps vibrating.

You load your clothes in the dryer. But while it's running, you keep hearing strange sounds or it keeps vibrating. Here's what you should do:

Check if your dryer is level: If one leg is missing or items are leaning against it, they may make a knocking or rattling sound, causing the dryer to vibrate.

Check if the dryer needs cleaning or fixing: Squealing sounds may indicate your dryer needs cleaning from lint build-up. In this case, a professional may need to remove the back panel and clean the inside of the dryer.

You may also need a professional to check the belt, pulleys or the dryer motor. These components can wear over time and may need replacement.

Read more: Why is my dryer squeaking?

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2. Your dryer doesn’t heat up.

You load your clothes into the dryer, and while it does run, it doesn’t get hot. As a result, your clothes are still damp or even wet. Here's how to troubleshoot:

Check the size of your load: The dryer needs space for hot air to circulate through your clothes. If there are too many clothes, your dryer may not function properly. Make sure you fill the drum to only about ¾ full.

Check if you have enough power: Electric dryers need enough volts, or there won’t be enough power for the dryer to work properly. If you aren’t sure whether your outlet has this much power supply, check with a qualified electrician.

Check the gas valve: Gas dryers are powered by a valve. Make sure the handle is parallel to the gas pipe to open. If the valve is closed, your dryer will run but won’t heat.

Check your thermal fuse: Thermal fuses are one-time devices installed to prevent fires. When the temperature of your dryer gets too high, it will go off, shutting down the dryer. Contact a professional to replace it.

3. Your clothes don’t get dry.

You put your clothes in and let the dryer run. But your clothes are still wet after the cycle. Use these tips to pinpoint the issue:

Check the selected cycle: If your machine has a quick or rapid dry option, those are designed to dry smaller loads. Try selecting a different cycle, such as more dry or regular dry.

Check the dryer vent: If it’s clogged, it can keep moisture from leaving the dryer. Try drying clothes longer and holding your hand under the vent to check air movement. If there isn’t much air movement and your clothes don’t dry, try cleaning your vent or hire a professional to help you.

Clean the lint screen: A lint screen with too much lint can also prevent your clothes from completely drying. Use mild soap and water to clean your screen and dry it with a towel before running the dryer again.

Read more: Why is my dryer not drying or getting hot?

4. Your dryer isn’t tumbling or spinning.

You put all your clothes in the dryer and turn it on — but it doesn’t tumble or spin. Take these steps:

Check your dryer belt: A dryer belt helps rotate your drum so your clothes can dry. If you’ve had your dryer for some time, the dryer belt may have experienced wear and tear. It will likely need to be replaced by a professional.

Check your dryer’s motor, dryer drum or drum rollers: Like the dryer belt, the dryer motor, dryer drum and drum rollers help your dryer spin and rotate. If any of them are broken, they’ll need replacing. Enlist the help of a professional who can diagnose the problem and fix it.

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5. Your dryer doesn’t start or run at all.

You try to run the dryer, but it doesn’t turn on. No matter what buttons you press, it just won't start. Try these DIY tips to fix the issue:

Check the power supply: You may have unplugged it or failed to install the power cord properly. If it's plugged in but still not working, there could be an issue with the power cord. You can have it checked and replaced by a professional.

Check the door latch: Most dryers won’t operate if the door is open. There could be something preventing the dryer door from closing. If dirt is stuck, a quick cleaning should do the trick. If you think the latch is defective, contact an appliance service professional to check and possibly replace your latch.

Check the circuit breaker: Sometimes, using several appliances can cause the circuit breaker to trip. Check to see if the fuses are still intact and tight. If not, reset the breaker or replace the fuses. You can do it or get a professional electrician to do it for you.

Read more: Why won't my dryer start?

Dryer repair resources and tips.

Are you experiencing a dryer issue, but it's not listed above? Check out these helpful guides:

How much do dryer repairs cost?

appliance repair technician fixing dryer door sealDryer repair costs can vary depending on the kind of dryer you have, the amount of damage and the part that needs to be fixed or replaced.

For the most accurate estimates, contact top-rated dryer repair professionals near you and ask for quotes.

Find a dryer repair professional near you.

If you suspect your dryer isn’t working, there are several types of professionals you can contact on Thumbtack. 

Download the Thumbtack app, and start contacting dryer repair services, dryer vent cleaners, handymen and other appliance repair professionals.


What is the average lifespan of a dryer?

In general, clothes dryers should last around 13 years. However, a dryer's average lifespan depends on how often you use your dryer — and how well you maintain it.

Is it worth it to fix a dryer?

If your dryer is fairly new and a premium model, it’s probably worth repairing. That's because its value will likely outweigh the repair costs. 

If the dryer has been with you for a long time, you may want to consider getting a new one. Find out how much it will cost to repair your dryer or replace a part. Then, compare that cost to the cost of newer, more efficient models available on the market.

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