Explore Black Friday Deals

Limited-time deals are here. Save on select Maytag® appliances that work harder for you.

A person adjusting controls on a stainless steel dryer

How to Fix a Dryer That Won't Start: Troubleshooting Guide

If you’ve been relying on an older dryer to keep your family’s laundry on track, issues ranging from defective parts to power failures and other malfunctions could be possible reasons for your dryer not working. Dryer problems can also differ depending on the type of dryer you have, such as gas or electric models. A dryer that won’t start can quickly derail laundry day. However, understanding the cause behind a dryer that won’t turn on is the first step in getting your day back on track.

Always follow the recommendations in your dryer’s owner’s manual to help avoid major issues. If you have an older appliance or experience unexpected issues, you may be able to solve some dryer issues with a simple adjustment. However, more complicated issues may signal that it is time to find a new dryer capable of taking on each load, like these dryers by Maytag brand. This guide will offer several possible reasons for your dryer not turning on and suggest helpful ideas for troubleshooting potential problems.

Two front loading Maytag® dryers side by side in a modern kitchen Two front loading Maytag® dryers side by side in a modern kitchen

FIXING A DRYER THAT WON’T START: A GUIDE

When your dryer doesn’t turn on when you need it to, laundry becomes an even greater hassle. The following troubleshooting tips will help you identify potential dryer problems so you can get your cleaned clothes folded and out of sight.

A start button icon

STEP 1: CHECK THE “START” BUTTON

To begin troubleshooting a dryer that won’t turn on, make sure the “Start,” “Push to Start” or “Hold to Start” button has been firmly pressed for approximately two to five seconds, depending on your model, before attempting a cycle. Simply tapping the “Start” button may not allow enough time for the appliance to engage the motor.

 

If your dryer has a digital control panel, ensure that electronic touch controls are being used properly. If the “Start” button for your dryer is located on the control panel, be sure to press the button with a dry finger, as moisture or pressing with a fingernail can cause the panel to be unresponsive.

A power symbol icon

STEP 2: MAKE SURE THE POWER IS ON

If your dryer won’t turn on but seems to be properly connected to a power supply, check to make sure your home isn’t experiencing any power outages, blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers.

 

Before attempting a dryer cycle, make sure all fuses are intact and tight. Also be sure to test your breakers by turning them off and back on. If problems with fuses or circuit breakers persist after replacement or resetting, consult a licensed electrician before continuing to troubleshoot the appliance.

A dryer door icon

STEP 3: INSPECT THE DRYER DOOR

If all power supplies seem to be functioning properly but your dryer still won't turn on, make sure the dryer door is fully closed and latched by pushing firmly. Your dryer may have one or two latches depending on the model, but all must be engaged for the dryer to operate. Also be sure that clothing items aren’t stuck between the body of the dryer and the door during loading.

A dryer cycle icon

STEP 4: SELECT THE CORRECT CYCLE OPTIONS

If your dryer turns on but doesn’t initiate a heat cycle, make sure that the correct cycle options have been selected. Some models may have features like Automatic or Timed Dry cycles, which may affect when and how the dryer operates.

 

To understand model-specific features and options, consult the owner's manual for your appliance.

A lock icon

STEP 5: CHECK “CONTROLS LOCKED” INDICATORS

If your electric dryer won’t start, check to make sure the appliance controls haven’t been locked. Some dryer models may have a “Controls Locked” or “Child Lock” indicator to let you know whether this feature is active. If the “Controls Locked” status light is on, deactivate the function according to the instructions in the owner’s manual for your appliance. 


If you have a dryer from Maytag brand, learn more about how to properly use dryer controls by visiting the Maytag® Manuals and Literature page for helpful information.

 

If you’re still experiencing problems with an older appliance, visit the Maytag® Repair or Replace page for further assistance.

Cycle option controls on a dryer with Wrinkle Prevent turned on Cycle option controls on a dryer with Wrinkle Prevent turned on

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DRYER START SWITCH IS BAD?

A sign that your dryer start switch or “Start” button is bad is if the dryer is still not starting a cycle despite the appliance turning on. If the dryer still won’t turn on after you’ve pressed the “Start” button for the appropriate length of time or flipped the manual start switch, allow a technician to inspect your appliance.

HOW DO YOU RESET A DRYER THAT WON’T START?

Some dryer models may have a dedicated “Reset” button that allows you to reset the dryer to its factory settings. On an electric dryer, your “Reset” button may be located on the appliance’s control panel with the other dryer options. Consult your owner’s manual to find out whether your appliance has a reset function and learn how to use it.

A person selecting the Extra Power option on a Maytag® dryer A person selecting the Extra Power option on a Maytag® dryer

WHY DOES MY DRYER TURN ON BUT NOT START?

If your dryer turns on but won’t start, the controls may not be operating as expected due to incorrect settings or user error. If your dryer won’t start but does turn on, ensure the following:

  • The “Start” button and electric controls are being pressed firmly

  • The dryer door is firmly closed and latched

  • Cycle-deactivation and timed/automatic cycle features are disabled

  • The “Controls Locked” indicator is off

Black Friday | Limited-time deals are here Save Now

SHOP MAYTAG® DRYERS

Upgrade your old and outdated dryer with an appliance that combines convenient features and durability to help you get the most out of every laundry day. Maytag® dryers are backed by limited warranties of up to 10 years so you can rely on your dryer with confidence.

Life moves fast. Keep up by browsing the full collection of gas and electric dryers by Maytag brand to find an appliance that works for you—not the other way around.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MAYTAG® DRYERS

Was this article helpful? Pass it on