How to Hook Up a 3 Prong Dryer Cord

In the excitement of purchasing a new or used dryer, it is easy to forget if the dryer cord is the correct cord for your home.
Newer homes have 4-prong receptacles, and some older homes have 3-prong receptacles. Changing the receptacles for one that matches your dryer becomes a job better left for an electrician. Dryer manufacturers recognize this and have designed dryers with removable cords. With a few basic tools, you can easily switch the 4-prong dryer cord with a 3-prong cord in under 20 minutes. .

Step 1

Use a Philips head screwdriver to remove the small metal plate on the back of the dryer that covers the terminal block. A dryer like a Kenmore,may have one 1/4-inch bolt holding the plate over the terminal block. Use a 1/4-inch nutdriver to remove the bolt.

Step 2

Use a Philips or a flathead screwdriver to remove the dryer cord retainer clip. Some manufacturers use flathead screws.

Step 3

Remove the 4-prong dryer cord from the terminal block by loosening the nuts. Some dryer manufactures like Kenmore may use flathead screws that bolt into the terminal block.

Step 4

Install the 3-prong dryer cord through the cord retainer clip and to the terminal block. Attach the center wire to the center post of the terminal block first and tighten. The center wire must be on the center post. Attach the outer wires and tighten. Make sure the wires are secure, and make contact with the terminal post.

Step 5

Secure the retainer clip, and bolt the cover plate back over the terminal block. Make sure your dryer venting is attached securely. Push the dryer into it's spot, and plug the cord into the receptacle.

Things You Will Need

  • Philips head Screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • 3-prong dryer cord
  • 1/4-inch nutdriver
  • 7/16-inch nutdriver
  • Or a nutdriver set


  • Do not plug the cord into the home receptacle and then attach it to the dryer terminal block.

About the Author

Hannah Scott has been a freelance writer for more than 12 years. Scott's first published article appeared in "The Mountain Press" in 1999. She has also written for the "Tennessee Star Journal" and several websites, including RAE Magazine.