How To Enter Kenmore Elite HE3 Dryer Diagnostic Test

Dryers are becoming more and more complex nowadays. Even seasoned technicians find it difficult to pinpoint the faulty component whenever your dryer has problems. Luckily, some dryers, like the Kenmore Elite HE3, are equipped with a diagnostic mode. 

You can enter the diagnostic test mode by pressing any two buttons, except the Pause and Cancel buttons, alternately for 2 seconds each five times. A successful entry into the diagnostic test is confirmed when the indicators light up.

Kenmore dryer

I will begin by elaborating on how to enter the diagnostic test mode. Then, I will discuss how to diagnose some individual components of your dryer too for a more in-depth check-up. Let’s get started.

Press Front Panel Buttons for Diagnostic Test

Generally, Kenmore appliances have shown to be reliable, efficient, and very consumer-friendly. They are known for their relentless innovation and seamless design. However, faults tend to appear on their products, much like in their dishwashers which I have written about before!

Entering the Diagnostic Test is pretty straightforward for their dryers, particularly the Kenmore Elite HE3. You have to be careful with the timing and the buttons you press. 

pressing Kenmore dryer button

To enter the diagnostic test, here’s what you need to do:

  1. With the dryer plugged in, ensure all the indicators are off except for the “Done” indicator. 
  2. In the front panel of your dryer is an array of buttons. Press any button for two seconds and then release it for two seconds. Press it again for two seconds, and then release it again for two seconds. Press it again one last time for two seconds. After the last press, you should be able to enter the Diagnostic Test Mode. 
  3. Take a look at the time display on your dryer. It should say 8:88. This is the main sign that you have successfully entered the Diagnostic Test Mode. All indicator lights should have been turned on for approximately 5 seconds. If you have no saved or active fault codes, the lights will turn off and turn on again. The 8:88 on the time display will remain flashing. 
  4. If you don’t see any of the signs of a successful entry, you can try a different button. Keep trying until you get in. 

Why Do a Diagnostic Test Mode

Doing a diagnostic test mode allows for a quick run-through of the many components of your dryer. This means there won’t be any need for individual component check-ups when the dryer can do a complete run-through. 

Error codes will be produced to pinpoint the problem area saving you or your repairman precious time. 

Still, there are ways for you to do individual diagnostic check-ups for the parts you feel are most sensitive and prone to damage. 

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Doing Diagnostics: Door Switch

To test if your door switch is working correctly, open and close it. When you open it, you should hear a beep. 

Look at the display to see if there is a number on the screen when you open it. Usually, when you close, the number should return to an 8:88 display. 

If there is no beep or display, there may be problems. 

Doing Diagnostics: Air Flow

Some mechanisms measure how much air is going into your dryer. The measure can be displayed on your Kenmore Elite’s front panel. 

To perform diagnostics, press the “Wrinkle Shield” button. This will turn on the airflow detection. 

The next step will depend on the temperature of the inside of the dryer. 

Assuming that the dryer has a temperature of less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.4 degrees Celsius, there will be nothing in the display. Airflow cannot be detected under frigid temperatures.

If the dryer is cold, a countdown timer will appear, counting down to 50 seconds. If too hot, the time will be 30 seconds. This will allow your dryer to cool down. Once this is up, the timer will restart to 50 seconds. 

Check the Dryness level indicators for this diagnostic. Less represents less than 29 cubic feet (216 gallons) per meter, Normal represents 29 to 40 cubic feet (216-229 gallons) per meter, and More represents more than 40 cubic feet (229 gallons) per minute. 

Doing Diagnostics: Moisture Sensor

If airflow indicators monitor dryness, the moisture sensor monitors water content. 

When you open the door of your dryer, you should notice two metal strips on the inside. Slightly dampen your fingers and place them on the metal strips. Alternatively, you can use a piece of paper or a slightly wet cloth. 

The sensor works to monitor the water that shouldn’t be there in the dryer. If you hear a beep, then that means the sensor is working. There should also be a number on the display. You may need further tests if there’s none of the two. 

doing diagnostic on Kenmore dryer

Doing Diagnostics: Voltage

There are also mechanisms to display the amount of voltage passing through the dryer and its wires. To access this, simply press the “Cycle Signal” button for the voltage value to be displayed. If no voltage shows up, that means you may have to do further tests. 

Doing Diagnostics: Motor and Heater

Sometimes, there will be problems with the motor, which allows the dryer to spin, and the heater. You can diagnose for errors by simply closing the door and pressing the Start button. Usually, both the motor and the heater should start running. 

Check the display monitor for project codes and updates to the software. 

Active Faults

Suppose you have already proceeded with the diagnostic test and noticed some active fault codes showing up. In that case, you may have to refer to your manual for the best way forward. The default display of 8:88 will appear only if there are no active faults. 


The Kenmore Elite HE3 dryer’s problems can be easily identified and solved via the diagnostic test mode. This can be accessed simply by pressing and releasing buttons in the front panel. For a more in-depth review of the dryer components, you may simply follow the instructions in this article to perform individual diagnostics.