Is your dryer shutting down on its own before the cycle should be through? Are the clothes still wet when it does? Does it start up again when you manually restart it? If it won't start again after the following:
- Having 15 minutes to cool
- Being unplugged and plugged in again after a couple of minutes
- Opening and shutting its door several times and pressing start
go to our Dryer Won't Start Page. Otherwise, let's walk through it.
Before we go to diagnose, make sure you have done the checks in our Dryer Maintenance Page. Improper maintenance can lead to these problems.
Run the dryer after you have done all the maintenance checks and cleaning, and see if the problem is still there. If not, you're done!
If your dryer will start again, it is time for some tests and questions.
- Does it shut down mid cycle on an automatic dry cycle (not timed)? Run the dryer on a timed dry cycle set for 60 minutes with a load of clothes in it and observe it. If it stops:
- Will it restart immediately if you open and close the door and press the start button? Go to the door switch section for more.
- Does it start up on its own after cooling down for 10-15 minutes?
- If it does, the drive motor is likely going bad.
- It will heat up and trip the motor thermal protection, which shuts it down until it cools.
- Some dryers won't restart by themselves at this point, so we have other checks to make sure.
- If it does, the drive motor is likely going bad.
- Does it start up manually after a cooling down period?
- If so you'll want to first run the door switch tests, as vibrations could be making the door switch act like the door is open.
- Next run the Moisture Sensor tests.
Faulty Door Switch
Run the dryer until it stops mid cycle again.
- Can you get the dryer to start again immediately (maybe not every time) by opening and shutting the door and pressing the start button if it has one.
* Does it seem to still be in the middle of its cycle, if so:
- Will it start if you open and shut the door several times?
- Can you get it to stop by giving the unit a hard blow near the door latch area?
- This points to a faulty door latch or door switch which cause the dryer to think its door is open, and it will stop. Replace the door latch and / or switch.
- If it won't restart this way, or the cycle seemed to be done, go to the next step, .
Moisture Sensor Malfunction
Are the clothes still damp? Does the dryer show that it finished its cycle when it shut off?
- Damp clothes points to a faulty moisture sensor or a failed cycling thermostat. First check the moisture sensor.
- If it has a moisture sensor, the dryer will have an automatic dry cycle that doesn't set a fixed time, and will allow more dry or less dry settings.
- The moisture sensor will be two shiny metal strips inside of the dryer. These strips are side by side about 1/4"-3/8" apart.
- The dryer checks the resistance between the moisture sensor strips caused by the wet clothes touching the strips.
- If there is a broken wire in the moisture sensor circuit, the dryer will think the clothes are very dry and shut off after a short time.
- Try running the dryer on a timed dry cycle (which ignores the moisture sensor) with a load of clothes, and see if the dryer still shuts down. If it does, next cause item.
- If not, check the moisture sensor connections for continuity. You need to check each strip and the wire corresponding to that strip back to the control board. Replace the moisture sensor or the wiring if there is any problem.
Clogged Exhaust Duct
A clogged exhaust duct can lead to mid-cycle shutdowns. A number of dryers are designed to shut off if they sense that the airflow through the exhaust system is insufficient. This lack of airflow is most commonly caused by lint buildup in the dryer exhaust duct, or by objects or accumulated lint trapped in the blower wheel on the dryer.
Faulty Motor / Cycling Thermostat
Can you get the dryer to start again after 5-10 minutes of cooling, but not immediately after it stops? Try running the dryer on a no-heat setting with a load of clothes, and see if it shuts down. Note the following outcomes:
- Does it get hot at all on the no-heat setting? If so, that's a problem in itself and one which could be leading to the shutdowns. Go to our Electric Dryer Overheats or Gas Dryer Overheats pages for more on this.
- It doesn't get hot, but shuts down after 10-15 minutes with no immediate restart? This is a bad motor; replace it.
- It doesn't get hot and keeps running? This points to a thermal issue with the heating system.
- When set to a heat setting, the cycling thermostat is bad and won't open, and the Hi-Limit thermostat operates and shuts the dryer down. Usually, the Hi-Limit Thermostat will just shut off the heat source, but there may be some designs that shut off the entire unit.
- When the Hi-Limit thermostat cools, which takes time, it resets and the dryer can be restarted.
- Replace or test the cycling thermostat. You can see some methods of testing a thermostat here
Motor Relay Failure
Another possibility is a weak or failing motor relay on the control board if your dryer has electronic controls. You'll want to test the relay with a multimeter and replace it if the readings are incorrect.
Broken Drive Belt
A less likely failure is a broken drive belt.
- On older machines without a broken belt switch, the dryer can continue to run without tumbling the clothes.
- This can lead to overheating and repeated shutdowns, while the clothes remain damp or dry very slowly.
- To check:
- Listen for tumbling clothes, or empty the dryer and put a clean tennis ball in and see if you hear it bouncing.
- If you don't hear anything try opening the door quickly and see if you can see the drum spin to a stop.
- If it doesn't seem to be moving check the belt and replace it if it is broken or worn.
- Using Hot Plate (Hi-Limit Shown)
- Using Hair Dryer and or heat gun (Clip from Appliance Parts Pros, full video here)