Common Reasons Your Dryer Won’t Start

Laundry gone wrong can become an extreme headache. Your dryer not starting can be a huge setback on your laundry day This list of common reasons why your dryer won’t start can help you troubleshoot and find the reason your dryer isn’t working properly. Of course, there could be other issues, but these are the most common culprits. Some are simple fixes that won’t even require a screwdriver and other solutions may fall outside of your comfort level and you may choose to hire a professional to do the work.

If your dryer won’t start, there are a number of different things that could be causing the problem. You’ll likely need to do a little troubleshooting to identify the cause. But as simple as it may sound, first check your control settings to ensure that all buttons are fully depressed and that the settings are correct. Also, check that the start button was either pressed or turned enough to activate the dryer.

Before you begin

We highly recommend taking detailed notes or photos as you remove panels, parts, and especially wiring. What may seem obvious while you are removing the parts may seem less clear when the time comes to replace the pieces. The time you spend upfront will be saved in the end and you’ll likely be far less frustrated.

Dryer problems 2

What you’ll need

Beyond a screwdriver and a few other common tools, you likely have in your toolbox, you’ll need a multimeter to perform many of the troubleshooting tasks. If you don’t already have one, they are an inexpensive and handy device that you’ll find yourself using whenever you have an issue with an appliance.


First, check the power supply to ensure that electricity is reaching your dryer. Use your multimeter to check the voltage at the outlet. If power is not flowing to your dryer, check your home’s electrical panel to see if any breakers may have been tripped.

If the breakers haven’t been tripped, the outlet may need to be replaced. If this is your problem, it’s probably a good idea to contact an electrician unless you are comfortable working with electricity.

If your outlet has worked according to the multimeter (and your dryer is getting electricity), the problem could be the power cord. Dryer power cords are prone to fraying due to movement and age.

Terminal Block

For this test, the power must be on, so make sure you are extremely careful. If you are uncomfortable working with electricity, this may not be something you will want to do on your own and you should call an experienced repairman.

Remove the power cord access panel and use your multimeter to check the voltage at the terminal block.  Replace the terminal block if it is faulty.

Unplug the dryer and unscrew the mounting screws to disconnect power wires from the terminal block. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the terminal block from the casing. Install a new terminal block.

Door Switch

The door switch will keep the dryer from starting if the door is open. Lint or other debris can collect around the door gasket or switch. This build-up can prevent the door from completely closing and engaging the switch. If this is your problem, it’s an easy fix and something you can clean regularly to prevent future occurrences.

If you suspect the door switch is faulty, you may need to open the cabinet in order to troubleshoot and replace the switch depending on the model and manufacturer.


There are a variety of different thermostats within your dryer. They all have the single purpose of regulating the internal temperature. The thermostat being used is determined by which drying cycle is selected.

The cycling thermostat is generally located in the airflow path as it leaves the drum. It is frequently inside the venting/exhaust system or on the blower wheel housing. A thermostat is about 1-1/2″ long and is oval-shaped. Be sure to label the 2 wires when you remove them so you can reconnect them in the same way.

When the thermostat is at room temperature test with your multimeter set to RX1 and touch the probes to each terminal. If the thermostat is still in working order it will give a reading of zero since we are testing for continuity. If you receive anything other than a zero reading it will need to be replaced.

Start Switch

If the start switch is faulty your dryer won’t start. To troubleshoot this problem remove the knob from the start switch and open the control panel. Set your multimeter to RX1 and remove the leads to the switch. Clip the probes to the terminals of the switch. You should have a reading of infinity.

Next press the start button and check the reading. It should now read zero. The start switch is faulty and will need to be replaced if this was not the case.

Thermal Fuse

Some dryers can be designed with a thermal fuse that is within the exhaust duct in the rear panel. Once the thermal fuse is tripped, the dryer will not operate (or it may simply stop heating). There is no way to reset this fuse, so it will need to be replaced if it has been tripped.

These are just some of the most common reasons why your dryer won’t start. If these solutions didn’t fix your problem or if you prefer to leave it to a professional, call ASAP Appliance and Plumbing. Our team has the training and expertise to find a solution to your dryer problem.

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