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DIY Dryer Belt Replacement vs Buying a New Dryer

by Lucille Watson

man looking in dryer

At a Glance:

No matter the type of unit you have, whether it’s a gas or electric dryer, they all rely on a belt for rotation. The continuous motion dries your clothing, bedsheets, and towels through rotation. Knowing if you need to replace a belt on a dryer can be tricky, and it’s helpful to see if you should fix your dryer by yourself or buy a new one altogether.

The average American household does roughly 50 pounds of laundry per week, so it’s not hard to imagine your dryer belt fraying and eventually snapping. If you constantly overload your dryer with sheets, sweatshirts, and towels, you may experience this phenomenon sooner than other households. We’ll give you a few reasons why dryer belts snap (like overloading) and DIY steps if needed.

4 Reasons to Replace a Dryer Belt

There are four main reasons for a dryer belt replacement. Take a look to see if your appliance is experiencing these symptoms.

shot of towel in dryer with man         

1. Your Dryer Won’t Start

The biggest sign that your appliance could use a dryer belt replacement is if it won’t start a cycle. Of course, check first to make sure the dryer is hooked up correctly and that you don’t have any electrical issues. Your dryer’s door sensor could also be malfunctioning which, in turn, will leave you with wet clothing. But if all those check out and are working, your dryer belt could need replacing.

2. You Hear Loud Noises

If you haven’t loaded tennis shoes or heavier items into your dryer but still hear a rhythmic sound, it could be a snapped dryer belt. If you don’t mind the noise, you can easily call a repairman to come and fix the dryer belt once it snaps. But we advise a little DIY handiwork for a loud belt. If you let it go for too long, it can further damage your dryer.

3. Your Dryer Stops Before the Cycle is Over

If your dryer randomly stops and won’t turn back on, leaving your clothes wet, then most likely, the dryer belt is to blame. But if you are able to restart your dryer after a stop, you may want to check the moisture sensors.

4. Your Drum Won’t Spin

The drum is the largest part of your dryer, and if this part isn’t turning, there is a problem. If you can hear the motor of your appliance running but notice the actual dryer drum isn’t turning, then most likely, your dryer belt has snapped and needs to be repaired.

man fixing dryer with tools

Dryer Belt Replacement Steps

Once you’ve detected the belt is frayed or has snapped, your next move is to either replace or fix the belt. Although having a dryer not working can feel like a major disadvantage, dryer belt replacements are relatively easy and cheap. Below we’ll list a general guide on how to replace dryer belts but consider that this process may vary depending on which model of dryer you have, like a Samsung dryer or a Maytag dryer.

  1. To avoid electric shock, unplug the appliance's power cable.
  2. Remove the top panel of the dryer by unthreading the screws or lifting and supporting it (this may require detaching the dryer control panel first).
  3. Remove the front panel or panels of the dryer. Before you can fully remove the front panel, you may need to detach a door switch wire.
  4. Behind the front panel of certain dryer models is a bulkhead that supports the drum. Uninstall the bulkhead after removing any brackets and disconnecting any sensor wire connectors.
  5. If the old belt is still intact, reach beneath the drum and depress the idler pulley to release the tension, then disconnect the belt from the idler pulley and motor drive pulley.
  6. To remove the old belt, slide it over the front of the drum.
  7. Replace the old belt on the drum. To grasp the drum, most dryer types require the grooved side of the belt to face inward.
  8. In a zig-zag pattern, loop the belt around the idler and drive pulleys.
  9. To assist in positioning the new belt, rotate the drum by hand.
  10. Install the front bulkhead on the cabinet frame again, ensure the drum is centered on the bulkhead. To secure the bulkhead, reconnect any sensor cables and reinstall any bracing or supports.
  11. If required, reconnect the door switch wire connecter before reinstalling the front panel or panels.
  12. As needed, reinstall the top panel and control panel.
  13. Reconnect the power cord after the reassembly is complete.

Should I Buy a New Dryer? 5 Common Dryer Issues

Shopping for a new dryer is no small task. You’ll need a budget, knowledge of electric vs gas dryers, and a list of desired features. Your dryer should last anywhere from 10 to 14 years, so before you head to your local appliance store, make sure your dryer can’t be fixed by a few simple DIY guides. Check out our list of common issues to see if you should buy a new dryer or if it just needs a dryer belt replacement.

hand wiping towel over dryer door

Recommended Read: What Is the Best Washer & Dryer? + More Laundry FAQs

Loud Noises: If your dryer makes continuous loud noises while running, and you’ve checked to make sure your dryer belt doesn’t need to be replaced, then it’s most likely caused by overloading your appliance.

  Likely Cause: Failed Dryer Drum Seal

  Solution: Replace the Seal

Doesn’t Heat Up: If your dryer isn’t adequately drying your clothing and you notice your dryer runs well but doesn’t heat up, it could be caused by blocked ventilation, excess lint, or overloading.

  Likely Cause: Faulty Thermal Fuse, Blocked Ventilation, Lint

  Solution: Replace Thermal Fuse, Clean Dryer

Doesn’t Run: If your dryer simply doesn’t run correctly, there could be excess lint left in the vent, or the machine has been overloaded too many times. You may want to call a professional repairman for this issue if it continues

 Likely Cause: Clogged Vents or Lint Screens, or Faulty Thermal Fuse

✓  Solution: Replace Thermal Fuse, Clean Dryer, Call Repairman

Clothes Won’t Dry: If your clothing consistently won’t dry, and you’re left with sopping wet shirts at the end of the cycle, you may have a broken heating element.

✓  Likely Cause: Broken Ventilation or Broken Heating Element

  Solution: Replace Heating Element or Clean Dryer of Lint

Shut Off Quickly: If you’ve experienced pressing start on your dryer, walking away, and the machine quickly turning off, your dryer either has broken ventilation or a broken thermostat.

✓  Likely Cause: Overloading Machine, Clogged Ventilation, or Broken Thermostat

  Solution: Replace Thermostat or Clean Dryer

Shop Dryers at East Coast Appliance


Dryer Belt FAQs

Let’s review a few common questions when it comes to dryer belt replacements.

Is it worth fixing a dryer belt?

Dryer belts can last 10 to 20 years, so it’s definitely worth fixing it if you’re able to. If you need help, we recommend contacting your local appliance store for a reliable repairman.

How much does it cost to have a dryer belt replaced?

Dryer belts cost roughly $70, depending on the make and model needed.

How do I know if I need a new dryer belt?

If you experience any of the following issues, it may be that you need a new dryer belt:

  • The dryer drum will not turn
  • The dryer belt is making distinct noises
  • The dryer stops before clothes have fully dried
  • The dryer will not start

Dryer belt replacements are relatively easy to perform, but if you find common issues consistently reoccurring, look into buying a new dryer altogether. Trusted brands like GE dryers and LG dryers offer extensive features and multiple sizes that get the job done in record time.

Shop LG and GE Dryers Today

Why Trust East Coast Appliance?

Locally owned and operated since 1988, East Coast Appliance is the largest independent appliance dealer in Virginia. We sell it ALL — from new name-brand appliances to scratch-and-dent appliances to our very own refurbished appliances. Aside from our huge selection of every major brand and everyday low prices, what sets us apart from our competitors is that we service what we sell and that we are locally owned and operated with factory-trained associates. And if you’re a local, great news: East Coast Appliance is committed to providing the absolute lowest prices on the same available brand and model — simply bring in the ad of the local retail competitor while the lower price is in effect, and you'll receive your price match.

Shop Dryers and Accessories at East Coast Appliance

There is a reason we are dubbed “The Discount King” — for unbeatable deals, shop dryers and laundry accessories online at East Coast Appliance. Our friendly associates are always happy to answer any questions pertaining to dryer belt replacement steps, whether you call us or use our online chat feature. Better yet, stop by one of our showrooms to see why we are the best appliance store in Virginia. Visit us today!

Learn More: Check Out Our 6 Best Budget Washer and Dryer Sets