Dryer Won’t Start – All 7 Common Causes to Check

Dryer error codes

Stuck trying to figure out why your dryer won’t start?

You’re not alone! Being unable to use your dryer because it’s experiencing issues can be super annoying.

But don’t worry; I’m here to help.

If your dryer won’t start, please turn the child lock off, check the power source, inspect the thermal fuse, and test the door and start switches. Examining the drive motor, belt, and main control board or interface is also important.

Read on to get your dryer working again!

In case you prefer to listen, here’s a clip from our podcast in which we discuss why a dryer can fail to start.

Fixing a Dryer That Won’t Start: 7 Simple Steps

In this section, I’ll guide you through the different reasons that can explain why your dryer is refusing to start and provide various solutions so you can forget all about the issue today.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

#1 Turn the Child Lock Off

When I see a dryer that won’t start, I always ensure the child lock is disabled.

You see, most modern dryers feature a child lock that prevents accidental operation. If the child lock is enabled on your dryer, you won’t be able to turn it on or select a cycle.

In such cases, you’ll need to turn the child lock off. To do so, press and hold a combination of buttons or follow a sequence of actions. For detailed instructions, please read the manufacturer’s manual.

Once you’ve turned the child lock off, press the “Start” button for two to five seconds to start your dryer. It’s also crucial to close the door properly to ensure proper operation.

Dryer start button
Turn the child lock off and press the “Start” button.

#2 Check the Power Source

I often find that when a dryer refuses to start, it’s typically due to a power issue.

So if none of the dryer’s indicator lights are turned on, please double-check that the unit is securely plugged in and examine the condition of the power cord. If it’s frayed or damaged, you must replace it with a new one.

move dryer
Carefully move your dryer to inspect the power cord. If necessary, ask for help.

If the power cord isn’t the culprit, then it’s time to inspect the outlet. The easiest way to do so is by plugging a different appliance into it. If the other device doesn’t turn on, then the issue can be traced back to the outlet. In such cases, it’s best to call a certified electrician, as you’re probably dealing with an underlying electrical failure.

I also recommend checking the circuit breaker, as there could be a tripped breaker or a blown fuse affecting the power supply to the dryer. Please verify that the breakers are switched to the “On” position.

#3 Replace the Thermal Fuse

If you’re still struggling with a dryer that won’t start, please inspect the thermal fuse.

The thermal fuse is a safety component that detects when the drum is overheating to prevent fire hazards. If your dryer overheats, the thermal fuse is designed to break the electrical circuit, cutting off power to your dryer and preventing further operation.

In such cases, I usually advise accessing the thermal fuse and testing it with a multimeter. If the needle on your multimeter doesn’t move, please replace the thermal fuse with a new one.

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

A blown thermal fuse often indicates an underlying issue within your dryer. While replacing the fuse can provide a temporary solution, you must address the root problem to ensure proper and safe operation.

Start by cleaning the lint filter and exhaust vents to ensure proper airflow. It’s also important to inspect the heating element and avoid overloading your dryer. If the issue persists, please call a professional.

#4 Test the Door Switch

In my experience, a faulty door switch can also explain why your dryer fails to start.

The door switch is a safety feature that prevents your dryer from operating when the door is open. Unfortunately, a malfunctioning door switch can signal that the door is open even when closed. As a result, your dryer won’t start.

If your dryer won’t start, please check the door switch.

Please unplug your dryer and access the door switch, which is typically around the door opening. Then, remove the door switch and test it with a multimeter. If you don’t get the recommended readings, you must replace it.

#5 Check the Start Switch

A malfunctioning start switch can also keep your dryer from starting.

You see, the start switch is activated when you press the “Start” button and is responsible for signaling the motor to start running and the heating element to activate to dry your clothes. If the start switch is faulty, your dryer won’t start, or you’ll hear a humming sound.

In such cases, you’ll need to unplug the unit and access the start switch, which is typically found on the main control panel. Test the start switch with a multimeter and replace it if you’re not getting the recommended readings.

#6 Check the Drive Motor

Is your dryer still refusing to start? Then, it’s time to check the drive motor.

The drive motor is responsible for turning the belt that rotates the drum so the load can dry evenly. It also spins the blower wheel to circulate heated air.

Unfortunately, if the drive motor becomes defective, your dryer won’t start, and you’ll probably hear a humming sound.

Unplug your dryer and test the drive motor with a multimeter. If it has no continuity, please replace it.

Keep in mind that replacing the drive’s motor is a complex task. So, if you’re not experienced with such repairs, it’s best to call a professional.

While you’re at it, please inspect the drive belt. If worn or broken, it will also need to be replaced with a new one. Otherwise, the drum won’t be able to rotate, and your clothes will not dry effectively.

#7 Examine the Control Board and Interface

If you’ve tried all the fixes above, but your dryer is still unresponsive (no lights or sounds), it often indicates a problem with the control board or interface.

From what I’ve seen, in most cases (around 75% of the time), the issue can usually be traced back to the control board, which manages different dryer functions. So, if the control board is faulty, it won’t recognize the signal to start.

The other 25% of the time, a dryer won’t start due to an issue with the interface, which is responsible for sending signals to the control board when you press the Start button.

Unfortunately, detecting issues with the interface can be challenging due to the low voltage it operates with. So, it’s best to consult your warranty status and call a professional.

In my opinion, it’s often more cost-effective to replace the entire dryer rather than the control board or interface. But please compare the costs and decide based on your dryer’s age and overall condition.

Wrapping Up: Getting Your Dryer Back in Action

Hopefully, now you know how to fix your dryer issues.

Remember that if your dryer won’t start, you must turn the child lock off, check for power issues, or examine the door and start switches. Don’t forget to inspect the control board or interface to solve the problem.

Please check out our related articles below if you found this post helpful.

Thank you so much for reading. Good luck!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more