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First, always clean the lint filter between loads. On those with filters just inside the door opening also clean out occasionally the area into which the filter is inserted as far as you can to remove at least some of the lint that has gotten past the filter. These include most brands other than most Kenmore and Whirlpool models, and most Maytags. Always replace a torn filter immediately. Also twice a year disconnect the vent hose and clean out the entire vent system. This is especially important if the vent hose goes into an interior wall and up to the roof or makes a long and/or multi-bend path to the outside. Metal vent tubing is better than plastic and shorter and straighter is also more trouble free. Dryer fans never were designed to push the lint- laden exhaust great distances or up to 1st or even 2nd story roofs. While disconnected also reach into the vent pipe on the dryer itself and pull out any accessible lint.

Opening up the dryer cabinet and removing all interior lint, especially around the motor itself will prevent eventual overheating requiring motor replacement. This should be done at least once a year and will also minimize the possibility of lint catching on fire inside the dryer. Each brand varies greatly in cabinet design and access.

While you have the machine apart always check the belt for cracking and wear indicating a need for replacement. If you do need to replace it be very careful to note the belt path around the idler pulley/tension device and the motor shaft. On recent Westinghouse Consolidated Industry models(Frigidaire, Kelvinator, Westinghouse,etc) check that the "pushnut" which secures the idler pulley to its shaft is firmly in place, they tend to work their way loose. On GE/Hotpoint/JC Penney models with the heating coils in a large circle behind the drum the cover on the rear of the drum tend to collect lint, as does the area inside the door which is above the filter when the door is closed. Late model Kenmores and Whirlpools with a filter inside the door opening have a removable panel on the front of the duct into which the filter is placed. Clean inside there.

Also on the GE etc. models the rear drum bushing can be greased while the drum is out for lint removal and the nylon support glides attached to the inside of the dryer front can be checked for wear and replaced as necessary. The nylon can be replaced by itself for less than replacing the entire metal assembly to which it is riveted. <> On all the top-filter Kenmore and Whirlpool models there a 2 rubber rollers supporting the rear of the drum which should be lubricated lightly with white lithium grease in the shaft/bushing area, or replaced if sloppy on the shaft or "flat-spotted", which causes a thumping noise when the drum turns. Also remove and lubricate the idler pulley on it's shaft with a light machine oil like "3-in-1" or with turbine oil. (Local appliance parts stores carry the belts, rollers, glides and lubricants you may need.)

Dryers are pretty simple machines which, for many brands, with minor maintenance can be kept working for years. Even when malfunctioning, diagnosis and repair is usually neither difficult nor expensive. Replacing motors or timers tend to be the most expensive and, if you keep lint off the motor, most will last a long time.

If you notice a significant change in the way your dryer works or sounds, investigate promptly. Inexpensive fixes can quickly become expensive major problems if ignored. "If I ignore it maybe it will go away" is rarely wise thinking.

Contributed by: Dave, the Appliance Wizard

If you have a non-functioning appliance, you can ask a question in our Appliance Repair Forum or check Dave's web-site at Appliance Help for possible solutions. If that isn't enough, you can call Dave at 888-490-1393 toll-free(8am-9pm Pacific, 11am-midnight Eastern) and, for a small fee, he will call you back with individual help for diagnosis and repair. Bookmark our sites and save the number for future use.

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