tumble dryer not turning

Tumble Dryer Making Noise But Not Turning – Causes and Solutions

A noisy tumble dryer that doesn’t turn… there are some common issues that can cause this. We’re covering these issues today and helping you do minor repairs to solve them.

We also have other tumble dryer articles that may help if you don’t find the cause of your tumble dryer issues below.

One of the best ways of identifying the issue with your tumble dryer, in this case, is the specific noise it makes when you turn it on.

If your dryer is making a humming noise, then it is likely to be one of the first issues we’ll cover below.

If it is making a humming noise and a squeaking noise, then it is likely to be one of the final two issues we’ll cover.

Don’t worry; all the causes have solutions that anyone with a bit of DIY knowledge can fix.


Cause 1: A Worn or Broken Drive Belt

dryer drive belt replacement

This is the most likely cause of a tumble dryer making a humming noise but not turning.

The drive belt wraps around the drum of the tumble dryer and is attached to a pulley that is attached to the motor. The motor spins the pulley, the pulley drives the belt, and this turns the drum. There is also an idler pulley that holds the belt in tension.

If the belt is broken or worn, it won’t be able to drive the drum, so the motor will spin (the humming noise), but the drum won’t.

Solution: Replace the drive belt

Replacing the drive belt involves removing all of the panels you can on your tumble dryer. You’ll want to unplug it and move it away from the wall before you do this.

Next, locate the belt. It is usually wrapped around the drum, but if it is broken, it is likely lying in a pile next to the motor. Remove this and order a direct replacement.

All tumble dryers have drive belts, but they are not a universal part, so make sure you buy the correct replacement by searching for your tumble dryer make and model and the suitable drive belt for it.

The pulley and motor are mounted to the machine with slotted holes. This allows for adjustment.

Loosen the bolts in these holes, put the drive belt around the machine and then on the pulley. You can then pull the belt tight and tighten the bolts in the slotted holes again.

The belt should be tight enough that it moves when you spin the drum by hand but not too tight that you are putting undue stress on it during operation.


Cause 2: Drive Belt Has Come Off the Idler Pulley

If you’ve checked the drive belt, and it looks to be perfectly fine, the cause may be that it has come off the idler pulley. If this is the case, reinstalling the belt should fix the issue.

Solution: Reinstall the drive belt

Before you reinstall the drive belt to the pulley by loosening the mounting bracket and placing the belt back on, it’s important to check the entire belt for any wear spots.

When the belt came off of the pulley, it may have become damaged. If you notice any wear at all, it is best to replace the belt. Otherwise, it will likely break soon after you reinstall it.


Cause 3: Damage to the Idler Pulley

A less likely cause of your tumble dryer making noise and not spinning is damage to the idler pulley. This pulley tensions the belt and ensures it spins freely as the drum does.

If the belt looks fine, then have a look at the idler pulley, which is usually located at the bottom of the machine close to the drive motor, but different models vary.

The idler pulley is a wheel (usually made of plastic but in some cases a soft urethane) on a metal bracket.

Solution: Replacing the idler pulley

If you notice any wear on the idler pulley, it is best to replace it.

 Most tumble dryer manufacturers use the same pulleys in all of their machines, but ensure you find the correct one by using the model number of your machine while you search.

Replacing the idler pulley is fairly simple. While you have the panels of the dryer removed and it unplugged from the wall, you can remove the drive belt from the pulley, remove the bolts holding it in place and put the replacement in.

It is always worth checking the drive belt during an idler pulley replacement. If the idler pulley is damaged, it may have damaged the belt as well, and if it has, this will need to be replaced too.


Cause 4: Drum Roller or Axle Is Worn Out

dryer drum roller

Your tumble dryer has several drum rollers. Most models have two rollers on the back of the drum, but some also have two on the front.

If any of the rollers are damaged, this can cause a squeaking noise as the drum rotates.

Solution: Replace the drum roller

Again, replacing the drum rollers on your tumble dryer isn’t too tricky; just ensure you buy the correct rollers for your dryer.

Removing the belt from the drum offers just enough side-to-side movement that you can reach in and unbolt the rollers and replace them.

From there, you can reinstall the drive belt on the drum and give it a test. You should find that the dryer now spins freely and is ready to test with a load of washing.



We hope this look at why a tumble dryer makes a noise but doesn’t spin has been helpful. The most likely cause of a tumble dryer making a humming noise but not turning is a worn or broken drive belt.

If you get stuck during your tumble dryer repairs, remember that there are plenty of videos available from various sources that can help you.

If none of these issues seem to be what’s causing your tumble dryer problems, we do have other articles detailing other common issues with tumble dryers and how to fix them. So do check them out before you leave.

We also have lists of the best tumble dryers available in the UK if your tumble dryer cannot be fixed.