How to Replace the Idler Pulley in a Dryer?

Quick Answer

  • Depending on your dryer type and model, you may have to detach its front or back panels.
  • Then, to locate the idler pulley simply get hold of the drive belt. It will be like a black rubber strip holding the drum and going through the idler pulley (a small wheel).
  • Simply, unscrew to loosen the pulley and then stretch the drive belt to remove it from its place.
  • Now remove the old idler pulley and install the replacement by screwing it in place.
  • Make sure to align the drive belt to it before you firmly tighten the idler pulley.

Finally, reassemble the dryer by reversing the above steps and then run a test cycle to make sure it’s working fine and there is no strange noise post-installation.

What is an idler pulley in a dryer?

An idler pulley is also known as a tensioner pulley or a dryer’s pulley. It helps maintain tension on the dryer drive belt as it wraps around the dryer drum.

In some dryer types, the dryer idler pulley includes a supporting idler arm that helps to preserve tension on the drive belt.

How does the idler pulley wear out?

The idler pulley wears out or can crack due to regular wear and tear, overuse, poor maintenance, or aging.

Hence, cleaning the idler pulley areas is of utmost importance, along with the greasing of its bearings in a timely manner.

Also, after a long time of use, the screws that hold the idler pulley in place get rusty and may wear out, which could damage the idler pulley while it is working.

So, regular maintenance is the key to a longer lifespan for your appliance.

Symptoms of a faulty idler pulley

If the dryer pulley wears out, your dryer will go through a lot of problems, such as:

  • The dryer won’t tumble during function.
  • Halt the dryer mid-cycle.
  • Make strange noise (at times squeaking sound).
  • It will take longer to dry.
  • In worst-case scenarios, the dryer won’t start at all.

How to replace the idler pulley in a dryer?

Replacing the idler pulley in a dryer can be done at home by following the below steps carefully.

You will need basic hardware tools such as a screwdriver, a putty knife, pliers, and a replacement idler pulley that is compatible with your dryer.

Instructions to replace the idler pulley in a dryer

Step 1: Unplug the dryer from the power

First, start by disconnecting the available supplies, such as gas (if applicable), exhaust vent hoses, etc.

Now, unplug the dryer so that you can move it away from the back wall to gain better access.

Step 2: Move the dryer away

Carefully move the dryer away from the wall so you can get to the back panel with ease.

You can get help from someone to move it carefully if you have a larger-sized dryer.

Step 3: Remove the panels

Remove the back or front panel to get to the idler pulley (you may need to remove the front or back panel or both in some cases).

With that said, top panels and the lint trap may come in the way of some model types.

To find the idler pulley inside the dryer’s body, you will need to remove the necessary panels and parts that are in the way.

Step 4: Locate and remove the idler pulley

If you confuse yourself after all the hard work, simply follow the drive belt (black rubber strip) surrounding the dryer’s drum.

It will take you toward the idler pulley, which is a small wheel secured with a couple of screws.

Loosen the idler pulley that holds it in place with a socket wrench or pliers.

Note: The location of the idler pulley may vary from model to model. Once the pulley is unscrewed, lift the drive belt away to remove the pulley from the dryer.

Step 5: Install the replacement idler pulley

Place the idler pulley in its place and use a socket wrench or pliers to mount and tighten it.

Make sure to align the drive belt over the pulley before proceeding further.

Also, ensure the drive belt is correctly aligned around the drum too, and there is no slack in the belt.

Step 6: Reattach the dryer parts

Reassemble the dryer by reversing the steps and then carefully moving it back to its place.

Step 7: Plug the dryer into the power socket and run a test cycle

Finally, connect all the required supplies, plug the power cord into the power socket, and run a normal dry cycle for testing.

Final Thoughts

The idler pulley’s main job is to maintain the tension on the drive belt around the drum and the drive motor for better movement.

A faulty idler pulley will lose the ability to tension the drive belt and won’t rotate the drum as it should.

That’s why it is recommended to replace the idler pulley as soon as you see the first signs of a problem.

It is always recommended to service the dryer, including the tiny components such as the idler pulley, in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the dryer idler pulley supposed to spin freely?

Yes, the idler pulley must turn freely without making any noise or vibrating.

Can you lubricate a dryer idler pulley?

Put a few drops of mild lubricant on the pulley shaft to lubricate the idler pulley. The lubricant can be in the form of a lightweight household oil or machine oil.

What is the cost of the dryer’s idler pulley?

You can expect to pay anywhere between $70 and $200 for the idler pulley and its installation, depending on your geographic location, type, and size of the dryer.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)