If your dryer shuts off a few minutes after it has been turned on, then this article is for you.
From relatively easy solutions to replacing a failed part, you can fix a malfunctioning dryer in several ways. But, before you decide on a course of action, you need to understand the cause of the problem, and we are here to help you with just that.
Below are six most common reasons why your dryer shuts off mid-cycle and what you can do to get it running again.
Several parts of the dryer can malfunction or become defective over time. Inspecting these parts and taking the required troubleshooting steps will help you pinpoint and resolve the issue.
Overheating Dryer Motor
The most common reason why your dryer might shut off minutes after it starts is an overheating dryer motor.
One of the first indications of a faulty dryer motor is a prominent buzzing sound coming from the dryer. When a dryer stops mid-cycle, you should wait 30 to 60 minutes before attempting to use it again. If the dryer restarts after 2 to 5 minutes, then it usually means that the dryer motor is overheating. In such a case, replace the dryer motor.
To replace the dryer motor, cut the power at the circuit breaker and remove the lower access panel if your machine has one. Next, take the lint filter out and unscrew the screws under it. To remove the top panel, pull the machine towards you and disconnect the wires attached to the door switch. Finally, take the front panel out.
Hold the idler pulley with one hand and push it while using the other hand to remove the belt from the motor pulley. The idler pulley will be in its mounting bracket. Lift it and remove the drum from the cabinet while making sure the belt remains on it
Remove the wires connected to the motor and unfasten the blower wheel. Now, replace it with a new dryer motor and connect the respected wires. Once done, work your way backward to reassemble the dryer.
Do a test run, and your dryer should run without any trouble.
Worn-Out Door Latch
With the advancement in technology, new dryer models come with a door switch, ensuring that the dryer door is closed correctly to allow the appliance to run. However, if you have a worn-out door latch, the door won't close all the way, and the dryer will stop before the cycle is complete.
Inspect the door latch, and if it's defective, the most straightforward fix is to replace it.
To replace a defective door latch:
1. Please cut the power and remove the door from its joints.
2. Unscrew the door all the way to remove it.
3. Separate the two-door halves and remove the faulty door latch using pliers.
4. Put the new door latch in before reassembling the door.
5. Change the old door catch.
Mount the newly assembled dryer door and do a test run.
Defective Moisture Sensor
The moisture sensor's function is to detect how much moisture is in the drum when the clothes are drying.
If the moisture sensor is defective or has failed, it will fail to send appropriate signals to the control board. As a result, the dryer control board would "assume" that the clothes are dry since the sensor will detect no moisture. Detection of no moisture will cause the dryer to stop immediately. Thus, despite the cycle indicating completion, the clothes would still not be dry.
To troubleshoot, replace the moisture sensor.
Switch the power off at the circuit breaker and move the dryer towards you to get to the back panel. Unscrew the top and move it back; lift it slightly and remove. Next, disconnect the wiring around the control board and unscrew the control panel. Pull out the panel once you remove the final wiring harness and set it aside.
To access the lint screen housing, open the dryer door and unscrew it from the front panel. Close the door afterward. Bend the front panel locking tab with pliers and unscrew the front panel in place. Be careful and hold the front panel while taking out the final screw. To completely pull out the front panel, unplug the door switch wiring harness.
Locate the moisture sensor wiring trappings on the right side and unplug it too. Now, use pliers to remove the mounting plate and pull out the lint screen to set it aside. Unscrew the grill and remove it altogether, which will allow you to pull out the lint filter guide. Now, you can install the moisture sensor after removing the wiring harness from the old one.
Trace back your steps to put all the parts in their place and do a test run.
Worn-out or Broken Drum Belt
Another reason why your dryer can stop after running for a few minutes and won't turn on is a worn-out or broken drum belt.
The drum belt is wound around three parts: the drum, the idler pulley, and the motor pulley. When the motor rotates, the belt moves around the drum and makes your clothes tumble inside the drum.
A clear sign of a broken drum belt is not to hear the motor running or if the drum doesn't spin. As you use the dryer for years, the belt can fray or break. If that happens, the only solution is to replace it.
Switch off the power and remove the dryer's top panel. Unscrew the front panel and place it against the cabinet side. Remove the belt, first from the idler pulley and then from the motor pulley. With a firm grip, hold the belt and pull it up to free the drum bearing. To remove the belt from the back of the drum, take out the front guide and pull the drum forward through the opening. You are now ready to install a new belt.
Wrap the new belt around the drum in a way that the scored side is against it. Make sure the belt is away from grease at the back end of the drum shaft. Move the drum back in position. Ensure the belt lines up in the center of the drum.
Now, reach down and place the belt through the idler pulley and the motor pulley. Take care to snug the belt the same way you took it off. The belt should be snug once you remove the tension on the idler. Reassemble the dryer and do a test run. During appliance repair, taking pictures of different components while taking them apart can be of great help during reassembly.
Idler Pulley is Broken
A ruptured idler pulley could also be a reason why your appliance stops after a few minutes of working, especially if the drum belt is in good working condition.
To troubleshoot, use the steps you did to locate the drum belt until you can see the idler pulley. Once you have the idler pulley insight, inspect to see if it is damaged. If you notice any significant damages or if the belt doesn't run through it snugly, replace it.
Once you replace the idler pulley, do a test run to see if the dryer is working correctly.
Tripped Thermal Fuse
Another reason your dryer stops working after a few minutes is a blown thermal fuse. The function of the thermal fuse is to prevent fires in case of an overheating dryer. If the dryer overheats, the thermal fuse trips and prevents it from operating again.
A clogged exhaust vent can cause the dryer to become too hot and trip the thermal fuse. The problem is that once the thermal tube trips, it won't reset and must be replaced.
You can easily buy a replacement thermal fuse from an electric appliance repair shop. Unplug the machine and remove the back panel cover.
A thermal fuse is pronged and connected to the dryer with spade connectors. You can put the new fuse in place and reassemble the dryer. If you aren't sure the old fuse has blown, check it for continuity using a multimeter. Setting it at the lowest, aim for an infinity reading.
Other Checks for a Dryer that Shuts off Before Clothes are Dry
You can perform other checks to troubleshoot a dryer that won't work for more than a few minutes.
- Check if the dryer vent is clogged and causing overheating. A clogged dryer vent would restrict hot airflow. Check at the exit port and clean any restriction using a long brush.
- Check the entire length of the power cord to make sure there are no exposed wires or any other signs of damage. If so, replace the power cord.
After making the checks mentioned above and replacing any defective parts, your dryer should usually start performing. Be very careful when replacing any electrical parts yourself, and call for a maintenance specialist if you are not up for the task on your own.