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How to Repair a Dryer

Servicing the Drum Rollers

The front of the dryer's drum is usually supported by two rollers. These wheels are either metal with a rubber rim or pressed nylon. If the rollers squeak but appear to be in good condition, apply a few drops of 20-weight nondetergent motor oil (not all-purpose oil) to them. If the rollers are worn, you can replace them if the roller assembly is not riveted. To replace drum rollers:

Step 1: Remove the front of the cabinet. Rollers are usually held on a metal shaft by a spring clip.

Step 2: Remove the rollers by prying the spring clip off with a screwdriver. Under the clip are a washer, the rollers, and another washer. You might have to remove a small nut at the back of the shaft and remove the shaft itself to reach the rollers. Remove the rollers from the shaft and clean away built-up lint and dirt before installing the new roller. This dirt and lint buildup could cause the drum to turn slowly, which prevents proper drying and strains other dryer components.

Step 3: Install the new rollers on the shaft with the washers in the same position.

Servicing the Motor

Motor malfunctions usually call for service by a professional. There are three main causes of motor failure: lack of lubrication, a defective motor switch, or worn or frozen bearings. A humming sound can be related to a burned-out motor or a defective switch. Check these trouble spots before you call a professional service person or take the motor to a repair shop. Here's how to check a dryer motor:

Step 1: Remove the back access panel. Then reach behind the drum, motor pulley, and idler arm pulley. If these areas are clogged with dirt and lint, undue strain on the motor may be causing the humming noise. Worn or broken belts can also cause a humming noise. Check the belts for wear and damage. If the belts look all right, you may be able to stop the noise by spraying them with fan belt dressing, available at automotive and hardware stores and home centers.

Step 2: Turn the dryer on. The noise you hear may be the whirl of the spinning drum, not the motor. Some noise is normal.

Step 3: Force a little 20-weight nondetergent motor oil (not all-purpose oil) around the ends of the motor shaft. This lubrication may stop the humming noise. If this doesn't solve the problem, remove the motor and take it to a professional service person.

The centrifugal switch on the dryer motor may be located on top of the motor. Humming, no motor power, and no heat can be caused by a faulty centrifugal switch. If the switch is externally mounted, check the terminals of the switch to make sure they are tight and not burned. If you spot trouble, remove the switch and take it to a professional service person for testing. A faulty switch will probably have to be replaced. Some centrifugal switches are located inside the motor housing; you won't be able to remove the switch in this case. Remove the entire motor and take it to a professional for repairs.

Caution: Before turning the pulley, make sure the power to the dryer is turned off.

If you can't turn the pulley, or if the pulley is very hard to turn, the bearings in the motor may be worn. Remove the motor and take it to a professional service person for repairs, or replace the motor. Replacement may be cheaper than repair.

Some motors have overload protectors that turn off the motor when excess strain is put on it. Often, dryers are equipped with a reset button on the control panel. If the motor won't run, let the dryer cool for about ten minutes. Then press this reset button. If the dryer still doesn't operate, check for an overload protector on the motor.

Test the overload protector with a volt-ohm-milliammeter (VOM)set to the RX1 scale. Disconnect one lead wire to the protector and clip one probe of the VOM to each protector terminal. If the meter reads zero, the protector is working. If the needle jumps to a high reading, the overload protector is faulty and should be replaced. Remove the protector by prying it off or unscrewing it from the motor housing. Replace it with a new one of the same size and type, connecting the new protector the same way the old one was connected.

Routine maintenance will keep your dryer working properly, especially when you need it most. You can handle most maintenance and minor repairs yourself by following the guidelines in this article.

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