A cracked dryer drum is a serious issue leading to damaged clothes and can even cause fires. Whilst homeowners may be tempted to replace the entire dryer, an at-home fix exists which is straightforward to perform.
A crack in your dryer drum can rip clothes and increase the chances of your dryer catching on fire, so it is not a problem to ignore. If you see a crack in your dryer drum, it is recommended to call a professional, but you can also attempt to fix the crack yourself with JB Weld.
Before you attempt to fix your dryer yourself, know that this is not a simple task. Next, I’ll take you through the steps for fixing a cracked dryer drum and when to call it quits and buy a new machine. I’ve also included my best money-saving tips to prevent you from overpaying.
Honesty in information is important to me, especially since many websites often fall short in providing reliable content. That’s why Andy Fulenchek, a seasoned appliance repair professional with over a decade of experience and the owner of Grace Appliance, has reviewed this article. Pay close attention to his quotes and insights throughout.
a cracked dryer drum: What should you do?
Dryers become ineffective and even dangerous if the drum develops a crack. This is due to the fact that the sharp edges of the cracks or holes snag and harm clothing, and in rare cases posing a fire hazard by exposing the heating element to lint.
I personally collect leftover lint to use as fire starters for camping, so the thought of lint acting as a firestarter in my home is scary.
Unfortunately, a cracked drum is going to near the top of the list of most expensive dryer repairs. I recommend starting by contacting your manufacturer to try and resolve vs. attempting to repair a damaged drum.Andy Fulenchek
LG, Samsung, and Kenmore dryers have particularly been at fault in producing older machines susceptible to drum cracks. Samsung even had a class action lawsuit against them for using thin-gauge steel and rendering drums ineffective.
I’d therefore strongly recommend fixing or replacing a cracked dryer drum to maintain safety and prevent these issues from occurring.
What are the Symptoms of a Cracked Dryer Drum?
The actual symptoms of a cracked dryer include loud thumping or banging noises during operation, difficulty rotating or spinning the drum when it’s open, or clothes becoming caught or torn during a cycle.
Commenters online (on the class action lawsuit I linked above) also report losing their clothes in the dryer and metal shards appearing.
Obviously, a visible crack on the drum will give the problem away, but a big dent that’s not quite a crack can cause all the same issues.
How Do You Fix a Crack in a Dryer Drum?
If you experience a crack in your dryer drum, the best thing to do is take it back to the manufacturer or have it professionally repaired. They will know how to best fix it to ensure the issue doesn’t recur. I’ve heard about official manufacturers charging $500+ for a repair so I’ve researched the best ways for you to save money:
- Take it to a welding shop. They’ll be able to repair the drum and they’ll often do cash-in-hand work for $50 or so. Make sure they work on steel though, as not all welders do.
- Rather than purchasing a brand new drum replacement, look for an old dryer (making sure it’s the same model as yours) on Craigslist and take out the drum.
- Repair it yourself following the instructions below, using JB Weld (use only as a short term fix)
I’m not sure of the flammability of JB Weld, but use extreme caution of using anything flammable on a dryer to avoid dangerous situations here.Andy Fulenchek
If you are asking yourself ‘Can a cracked dryer drum be repaired?’ here are some steps…
Gather your materials. You will need the following:
- J-B Weld (a steel-reinforced epoxy) like this one (on Amazon)
- Flat lid for dispensing the J-B Weld
Note: I’ve deliberately recommended JB Weld due to its ability to withstand heat up to 500°F once cured.
Depending on the location of the crack, you also may need to remove the back panel of the dryer. This is an easy process and normally involves removing around 10 screws and the panel lifts right off.
Then apply J-B Weld to the crack by following these instructions:
- Unpackage and prepare your J-B Weld, as this will be the primary source that will bond the dryer drum material.
- Dispense the J-B Weld on the flat lid and mix it with a small stick or spatula until you achieve a smooth grey color.
You’ll also need to ensure a clean and dry surface before proceeding to the next step.
- With the product mixed, use the stick to smear it excessively across the cracks to ensure the cracks do not reappear.
For cracks inside the drum, you’ll need to ensure that the way the JB Weld dries is smooth. If it’s rough it’ll catch and rip clothes. You can also sand excess J-B Weld once it’s fully cured.
If you’re repairing a crack on the outside of the drum you can afford to use slightly more material and a rougher finish is acceptable.
- Leave it to set. The J-B Weld takes 4 to 6 hours to set, 15 to cure, and 24 to be its strongest. Hence, leave it for over 24 hours before using your dryer again.
If you’d rather follow along in video format, here’s a tutorial I found that’s helpful:
Can you weld a cracked dryer drum?
Repairing a cracked dryer drum can also be done through welding. Welding is a technique that joins metal pieces by melting them and allowing them to fuse together. Welding requires disassembling the dryer, utilizing a welding machine, and welding the crack in the drum.
Actual welding is generally stronger than JB Weld and would be the most effective way to repair a cracked dryer drum. Welding creates a molecular bond between metal surfaces, resulting in a more robust and durable connection.
JB Weld, while effective for some repairs, relies on an adhesive bond, which is typically not as strong as a welded joint.
However, obviously, most homeowners don’t have access to a welding machine and lack the expertise to perform welding repairs and will therefore either replace the drum or use a product like JB Weld.
If you are able to, I’d really recommend taking the cracked drum to a welding shop that specializes in aluminum welding. It should be relatively cheap and effective. You’ll need to remove the drum from the dryer first, though.
If you are interested in the welding process, here’s a video I found on how to remove a cracked dryer drum:
Is a Cracked Dryer Drum Covered Under Warranty?
Many manufacturers offer limited warranties that cover parts and labor for a certain period of time, but these warranties typically exclude damage caused by misuse, accidents, or other forms of neglect.
It’s important to review your warranty agreement carefully to determine whether you’re eligible for coverage and what steps you need to take to file a claim if necessary. If it’s covered under warranty you might be in a good spot.
It’s also worth hounding your manufacturer and claiming a defective product. I’ve read a few comments online where the manufacturer has agreed to replace a cracked dryer drum. Here are the support lines for the most common US dryer manufacturers:
Bosch – 800-944-2904
LG – 800-243-0000
Maytag – 800-344-1274
Samsung – 800-726-7864
Whirlpool – 866-698-2538
How to Avoid a Cracked Dryer Drum?
While some causes of a cracked dryer drum may be unavoidable, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing this issue. First, you should avoid overloading your dryer, which can put excess strain on the drum and cause it to crack or warp over time.
Avoid drying heavy items like shoes or backpacks without first ensuring that they’re evenly distributed in the drum.
And it’s important to keep your dryer clean and well-maintained, including regularly cleaning the lint filter and ensuring that the drum is free of debris that could cause damage.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Drum in a Dryer?
Fixing or replacing a drum in a dryer can be costly as it is the most technical part of the appliance.
Should you wish to remove the cracks completely, the best thing to do is replace the dryer. However, fixing certain cracks and reducing the risk of them reappearing is also possible.
Cost To Replace
Some people will consider replacing the dryer drum as opposed to fixing it. If the appliance is new, it should not experience cracks or damage. Hence, it is advised to seek advice from the manufacturer and get a much-deserved replacement.
Should the manufacturer not cover the cost due to a lack of insurance or the crack occurring outside the warranty, you should expect to pay $600-$800 for a new machine.
One money-saving tip that I’ve used in the past is to buy an old unit on Craigslist and take the part you need from that. It can work out far cheaper this way round compared to buying the replacement part.
Cost To Fix
The drum is one of the most expensive parts of a dryer to fix. You can expect to pay anywhere between $250 and $500 to fix a crack if using a professional. Should you wish to use the steps above to fix the crack yourself, it shouldn’t cost you much more than the cost of the J-B Weld.
Which Is Best: Replacing or Fixing?
Knowing the lifespan of your appliance is a good rule of thumb to follow when deciding whether to fix or replace your dryer. If the dryer has reached the end of its useful life, replacing it might be less expensive than attempting to fix it.
Ten to thirteen years after the date of acquisition, dryers typically reach the end of their useful lives. Naturally, this all depends on how frequently the dryer is used and maintained, as some dryers can last up to 20 years or longer. Consider using your washer on borrowed time, even though it has been 13 years.
Is It Safe to Use a Dryer With a Cracked Drum?
Some people might continue using their dryer with a cracked drum. However, it is advised not to do so because it is a fire risk.
Using a dryer that has a cracked drum could result in ripped clothes. You can risk damaging loved or expensive clothing beyond repair if you place it in the dryer. You might end up with a small tear or a huge rip. You will not be able to stop your dryer if you put it on a specific cycle, so you won’t be able to save the clothing.
If you want to save your clothing, do not use your dryer if there is a crack in the drum. Fix or replace it as soon as possible to continue using your dryer.
The biggest risk you run when using a dryer with a cracked drum is causing a fire. You might not notice that lint is escaping the dryer and building up behind your machine, so a fire might occur without you knowing it is brewing.
If you want to minimize the risk of fires in your home, avoid using the dryer when it has a crack. There is a possibility of lint escaping through a crack that has been repaired, especially if the J-B Weld disappears over time. Hence, it can be safer to replace the entire drum or ask a professional to fix it.