5 Reasons Why Dryer Shutting Off After A Few Minutes

The clothes dryer is one of the most useful appliances in your home. However, sometimes these machines will encounter problems that prevent them from working properly.

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Are you dealing with a dryer that shuts off after only a few minutes of running?

This can be enough to give you a headache!

Today we will discuss what may be causing this and how you can fix the problem.

Here is a list of possible issues when your dryer shutting off after a couple of minutes:

  • Dryer Motor Overheating (Most Common)
  • Faulty Door Latch Or Switch
  • Moisture Sensor Wires Came Off or Oxidized
  • Drum Belt Broke
  • Broken Idler Pulley or Tension Roller

Dryer Motor Overheating

If your dryer stops after only a few minutes, it may be caused by the motor overheating.

The most common cause a dryer motor will overheat is it’s faulty and needs to be replaced.

Sometimes this will cause a noticeable buzzing sound before the motor actually stops working.

When you encounter a dryer that stops before the cycle is finished, it’s best to start by waiting 30 minutes to an hour before trying to use it again.

If it restarts after the cool down period after 2-5 minutes by itself, the motor is probably the cause.

Here’s how to replace the motor:

  1. Disconnect the power
  2. If your machine has a lower access panel, remove it
  3. Remove the lint filter and the screws underneath of it
  4. Pull the machine away from the wall
  5. Remove the top panel
  6. Disconnect the wires that go to the door switch
  7. Remove the front panel from your dryer
  8. Use your left hand to grasp the idler pulley. Push the pulley back and slip the belt off the motor pulley with your other hand
  9. Lift the idler pulley from it’s mounting bracket
  10. Leave the belt on the drum, but grasp the drum and remove it from the cabinet
  11. Notate where the wires connect to the motor and remove them
  12. Loosen the blower wheel and allow it to rest in the housing
  13. Install the new motor and work backwards through these steps to reassemble your dryer

Faulty Door Latch

Modern dryers feature door switches that won’t allow the machine to work when the door is open.

Over time the door latch can become worn, thus allowing the door to open during cycles. When this occurs the dryer will stop running immediately.

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If this keeps happening to you, the easiest thing to do is replace the faulty door latch.

Replacing this part is easy. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Disconnect the power
  2. Open the dryer door and remove from its hinges
  3. Remove all screws going around the door to take it apart
  4. Take the two door halves apart
  5. Use pliers to remove the door latch
  6. Install the new door latch
  7. Reassemble the dryer door
  8. Remove the old door catch and replace with the new one
  9. Mount the door back on the dryer and your problem should be fixed

Issues with the Moisture Sensor Wires

Dryers also have what’s called a moisture sensor which checks to see how much moisture is left inside the drum.

When this part fails it will cause the machine to lose signal from the sensor to the control board and the dryer will stop within 5 minutes of operation, “thinking” that clothes already dry.

While the machine will say the cycle is done, your clothes will still be wet.

Here’s how to locate and repair this part:

  1. Disconnect the power
  2. Pull the dryer away from the wall, so you can access the back of it
  3. Remove the screws that hold the top on
  4. Pull the top back about an inch, lift to remove, and set aside
  5. Remove the wiring harness from the control board
  6. Remove the screws that hold the control panel in place
  7. Pull the control panel out, remove the last wiring harness, and lay the panel on top of the dryer
  8. Open the dryer door and remove the screws that hold the lint screen housing onto the front panel
  9. Close the door
  10. Use pliers to bend the locking tab that holds the front panel on
  11. Remove the screws holding the front panel on. Make sure to hold the panel when taking out the last screw
  12. Unplug the wiring harness for the door switch and remove the front panel, set aside
  13. You should now see the moisture sensor wiring harness on the right side. Reach in and unplug
  14. Take out the mounting plate with pliers
  15. Pull the lint screen out and set aside
  16. Remove the screws holding the grill in place, remove the part and set aside
  17. Pull the lint filter guide out
  18. Remove the wiring harness from the moisture sensor
  19. Install the new wiring harness and move backward through the steps to reassemble your machine

Broken Drum Belt

If your dryer stops after only a few minutes, and will not restart the first thing you should check is the drum belt.

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This belt goes around the drum, idler pulley, and the motor pulley. As the armature on the motor spins, the belt rotates the dryer drum, thus tumbling your clothes.

If you can hear that the motor not turning on and the drum not spinning, this is a clear sign your belt is broken.

The belt can wear out over time through normal use, and when it breaks the dryer will not work again until the part is replaced.

Here’s how to change a broken drum belt:

  1. Disconnect the power
  2. Remove the top panel from your dryer and lean it back against the wall for support
  3. Remove the screws that hold the front panel of the dryer in place
  4. Support the front panel against the side of the cabinet
  5. Release the belt from the idler pulley
  6. Release the belt from the motor pulley
  7. Grasp the belt firmly and pull up with it to release the drum bearing
  8. Remove the front guide
  9. Slide the drum forward through the opening enough to get the belt off the back of the drum
  10. Install the new belt
  11. Drape it around the drum with the groove side against the drum
  12. Take care not to get the belt into the grease on the rear of the drum shaft
  13. Slide the drum back
  14. Lift it up and locate the tumbler shaft into the rear bearing
  15. Line the belt up
  16. Reach in and run the belt through the idler pulley and motor pulley
  17. Release the tension on the idler to snug the belt up
  18. Move backward to reassemble your machine

Broken Idler Pulley

If you have the problem where your dryer shuts off within 5 minutes of operating, and it will not start again, but the belt isn’t broken, then you’ve probably got a broken idler pulley.

Using the same steps above to disassemble the machine, do so until you locate the idler pulley. Now, look closely at it to inspect for damages.

If you see noticeable damages, or if it no longer maintains the required tension, replace it. After this part is replaced the dryer should work normally.

Have you owned a dryer that kept shutting off after only a few minutes? Did you encounter a problem that we didn’t discuss? If so, please comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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