Gas and Electric Dryer Common Parts Glossary

Browse our common parts glossary for helpful definitions and explanations of gas and electric dryer parts at Sears PartsDirect. We have a list of dryer parts and their functions to help you better understand the ins and outs of your gas or electric dryer.

Ball and hitch bearing kit

Some dryers have a ball-and-hitch type of spin bearing system. A ball attached to the back of the dryer drum sits inside a bearing. The bearing supports the back of the drum while allowing it to spin with little resistance or friction. The replacement components are usually available in a kit that has the ball, the bearing and the related bracket and hardware. This bearing usually needs to be replaced when the dryer squeals or squeaks when running.

Blower fan blade

The blower fan blade is a turbine-shaped fan blade that rotates on the end of the motor shaft opposite from the drive pulley that rotates the drive belt. The fan blade blows exhaust air from the dryer.

Door catch

The dryer door catch is the part of the door latch assembly that's usually attached to the front panel, but sometimes is attached to the door. When the door is closed, the spring-loaded catch encloses and grips the strike, which is mounted across from it. The tension of the door catch keeps the door from opening until it's manually opened. Catches are available individually or in kits with various sizes of strikes and catches.

Door strike

The strike is the part of the door latch assembly that's usually attached to the door, but sometimes is attached to the front panel. When the door is closed, the strike slides into the spring-loaded catch mounted across from it. The tension of the catch keeps the door from opening until it's manually opened. Door strikes are available individually or in kits with various sizes of strikes and catches.

Door switch

The dryer door switch recognizes whether the door is open or closed. The dryer won't start unless the door switch senses that the dryer door is closed. The door switch also turns on and off the drum light on models with a light.

Drive belt

The drive belt wraps around the dryer drum and connects to the drive motor pulley and the idler pulley. The idler pulley maintains the proper tension on the belt. The drive motor rotates the drive pulley, which in turn rotates the dryer drum.

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Drive motor

The drive motor rotates the motor shaft, which in turn rotates the idler pulley, which rotates the drive belt that's wrapped around the dryer drum. The motion of these components rotates the drum. The drive motor also rotates the blower fan blade on most dryers, which exhausts hot air from the dryer.

Drum

The dryer drum is a metal cylinder that's open on one end and perforated on the other, with solid sides. It rotates during the drying cycle to circulate air around the garments.

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Drum glide bearing

The drum glide bearing is a plastic bearing on the front of the dryer drum. It allows the front of the drum to glide smoothly on the felt seal of the front panel when the drum is rotating.

Drum support roller kit

The support rollers hold the drum in place in the dryer cabinet while allowing the drum to rotate on the roller support wheels. The drum support rollers are on shafts attached to the bottom of the inside back panel and the inside front panel or bulkhead of the dryer. The drum support roller kit includes support rollers and shafts.

Electronic control board

The electronic control board is the circuit board that governs the timing and execution of functions in the dryer. It sends voltage to the drive motor and other components during the cycle. It senses the temperature in the drum and cycles the heating element on and off to maintain the proper temperature.

Felt drum seal

The felt drum seal is a felt gasket on the front and the back of the dryer drum. It seals the drum to prevents air from escaping and enables the drum to slide smoothly against the front panel and the back bulkhead.

Flame Sensor

The flame sensor detects when the igniter is hot enough to light the gas burner. When the igniter is hot enough, the flame sensor shuts off current to the igniter and current then flows through the gas valve coils, which open the gas valves to light the burner.

Gas valve coil kit

The gas valve coils are the part of the gas burner assembly. When the proper electrical current is applied to these solenoid coils, they open the gas valves for ignition and continued heating of the dryer.

Heater relay

Some dryers have a control system with a heater relay, which the electronic control board governs. The heater relay controls the heating element in an electric dryer and the gas burner assembly in a gas dryer.

Heating element

A dryer heating element is a coil or other arrangement of wire in which an electric current produces heat to dry clothing.

High-limit safety thermostat

The high-limit safety thermostat shuts off the heat when the dryer overheats either because the operating thermostat fails or the heating element has a short circuit. The high-limit safety thermostat resets when the dryer cools.

Idler pulley

The drive belt is routed across the spring-loaded idler pulley. The idler pulley exerts pressure on the outside of the drive belt to keep it tight so it grips the dryer drum and rotates the drum during the drying cycle.

Idler pulley bracket

The idler pulley bracket supports the idler pulley. The drive belt is routed across the idler pulley, which exerts pressure on the outside of the drive belt to keep it tight so it grips and spins the drum.

Idler pulley tension spring

The idler pulley tension spring fits onto the arm of the idler pulley and keeps tension io the drive belt that rotates the dryer drum.

Igniter

The igniter in a gas clothes dryer glows white hot until it reaches the ignition temperature, at which point the flame sensor opens electrically to divert current flow in the electrical circuit to the gas valve coils. The gas valves open, and the burner lights.

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Motor relay

The motor relay is an electrically operated switch on some dryers. The motor relay stays electrically closed to keep the drive motor running as long it receives the proper voltage from the electronic control board. When the voltage supply to the relay stops, the relay opens electrically to halt the voltage supply to the drive motor, which then stops.

Operating thermostat

The operating thermostat—also called the cycling thermostat—senses the air temperature inside the dryer drum. It cycles the heating element in an electric dryer and the burner is a gas dryer, turning the heat on and off to maintain the temperature at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit for the Normal setting.

Power cord

A 240-volt power cord connects to contacts on the terminal block in the back of the dryer.

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Preventive maintenance kit

The dryer preventative maintenance kit includes the parts that wear over time and need to be replaced to keep your dryer running smoothly and drying efficiently.

Push-to-start switch

For dryers with mechanical controls instead of electronic controls, the push-to-start button starts the drying cycle when the user presses and releases it.

Thermal cut-off fuse

The thermal cut-off fuse is a safety fuse that's usually mounted on the side of the heater box. If the dryer overheats because the heating element isn't cycling off, the thermal cut-off fuse shuts off power to the heating element. The thermal cut-off fuse doesn't reset when the dryer cools and must be replaced if it trips. This fuse is normally sold in a kit that includes the high limit thermostat.

Thermal fuse

The thermal fuse is usually mounted on the blower fan housing. It detects the temperature of the air venting from the dryer to the outdoors and trips if the air becomes too hot. In an electric dryer, the thermal fuse shuts off the dryer when it trips. In a gas dryer, it prevents the dryer from heating. The thermal fuse typically trips if the vent tube is clogged or the exterior damper is closed.

Thermistor

The thermistor is the dryer's temperature sensor, which usually is mounted on the blower housing. It's used for temperature measurement and control.

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Timer

The timer on the control panel enables the user to set the drying time by turning the timer's control knob. A small motor on the back of the timer advances the timer during the cycle.The timer's internal cams open and close switches or contacts to operate the various electro-mechanical components in the dryer (mainly the drive motor and the heating element).

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