Dryer Won’t Start, Just Clicks? (How to Fix It)

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If your dryer will not start and instead makes a clicking noise, it is most likely due to a fault with the door switch, start switch, or thermal fuse. A broken dryer belt is the next most likely cause of the issue. If these parts are working correctly, the drive motor, idler pulley, belt switch, control board, or timer may be responsible for the issue. Most of these repairs are easy to do; however, issues with the drive motor, control board, and timer may require more advanced knowledge.

1. Blown Thermal Fuse

If your dryer just clicks and will not start, a blown thermal fuse is often the problem. The thermal fuse is a safety device designed to stop the dryer from catching fire. The thermal fuse is tripped if the temperature in the dryer becomes too hot. The thermal fuse is typically a white rectangle or oval-like shape, with two wires connected to it. It usually sits on the blower housing or at the dryer’s heat source. Thermal fuses are fairly easy to remove, and a replacement part can be purchased online for a reasonable price.

To check the thermal fuse:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  2. On most models, the thermal fuse can be accessed by removing the rear panel of the dryer. On other models, the bottom-front panel can be removed to access the fuse. Check your dryer manual to locate it on your model.
  3. Remove the thermal fuse from the dryer or isolate it.
  4. Test the thermal fuse for continuity with a multimeter. The fuse should show a reading of 0 ohms, indicating that it has continuity. If the needle doesn’t move or the display does not change significantly, it does not have continuity and will need to be replaced.

2. Faulty Door Switch

The door switch on a dryer is another safety precaution designed to stop the dryer from operating when the dryer door is open. Sometimes, the door switch will malfunction or the connection becomes loose, causing the dryer to think the door is still open. Checking the door switch can be as easy as listening to the clicking sound of the door switch when you close the dryer door. If you can hear the door switch clicking, it is most likely working. However, it still pays to check the door switch with a multimeter.

To check and replace the door switch:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  2. On top-loader dryers, the door switch is typically accessed by removing the control panel and lint trap. The door switch on front-loader dryers can usually be accessed by removing the dryer door panel. Check your dryer manual if you are unsure of its location.
  3. Remove the wires connected to the door switch.
  4. Unscrew the door switch from the dryer.
  5. Test the door switch for continuity with a multimeter. If the multimeter display does not significantly change or the needle does not move, the switch does not have continuity and will need to be replaced.

3. Defective Start Switch

If your dryer has a rotary or push-start switch to turn on the dryer, the switch may be responsible for your dryer not starting. The start switch can be tested with a multimeter to determine if it needs replacing.

To check the start switch:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  2. On most models, you will need to remove the dryer’s top panel to access the screws to the control panel.
  3. Unscrew the control panel. On most models, the lint trap will also need to be removed.
  4. When removing wire connectors, take a photo or mark the wire connectors to ensure each connector is put back correctly when the repair is complete.
  5. Remove the connecting wires from the start switch and test the switch’s terminals with a multimeter. If the multimeter needle does not move or the display does not change significantly, the switch does not have continuity and will need to be replaced.

4. Broken Dryer Belt

The dryer belt wraps around the dryer drum. With the drive motor and idler pulley, the dryer belt rotates the dryer drum. If the dryer is clicking but not starting, it could be because the dryer belt has broken or become loose. Try turning the dryer drum manually. If it turns without any resistance, the dryer belt likely needs to be replaced or refitted.

To check the dryer belt:

  1. Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  2. To access the dryer drum, remove the top cover panel. It can either be removed by using a flat-edge blade to release clips at the front or by unscrewing it from the back. Older models may have screws on the front of the cover panel. The lint trap may also need to be removed.
  3. You should now be able to see if the belt is broken or has come off.
  4. On front-loader dryers, remove the control panel and front door panel. On top-loader dryers, unscrew or unclip the front panel.
  5. The dryer belt comes off the bottom of the drum and is threaded through the idler pulley and motor pulley. It can be released by moving the idler pulley to release the tension from the belt.
  6. When replacing the drum belt, you will need to thread it through the idler pulley and motor pulley. The groove side of the belt should face the drum.

Additional Causes:

Defective Drive Motor

The drive motor is responsible for turning the blower and dryer drum. If the dryer is humming but the drum is not turning, the drive motor may need to be replaced.

Damaged Idler Pulley

The idler pulley helps the dryer belt to rotate the dryer drum by keeping the belt tight on the drum. The idler pulley should be examined to see if the pulley wheel can turn and that the dryer belt is correctly threaded through the pulley.

Defective Belt Switch / Idler Microswitch

Some dryers have a belt switch, which turns off your dryer if the dryer belt breaks. The switch is located near the idler pulley and is activated when the broken belt releases the idler pulley. It can be tested with a multimeter to determine if it needs replacing.

Defective Main Control Board

It doesn’t happen very often, but if the dryer is clicking and not starting, it could be because of a fault with the main control board. The board can be examined for signs of burning and the terminals tested with a multimeter to determine if it needs to be replaced.

Defective Timer

One of the least likely, but possible, reasons your dryer may be clicking and not starting is a defective timer. It is best to check all of the above issues before replacing a dryer timer.

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