How to Fix a Dryer That is Not Shutting Off

Appliance Express
September 23, 2019
Dryer Repair

When it comes to dryer problems, you might expect to manifest some problem in which your dryer won’t start. You are prepared to troubleshoot that and all the many issues that can cause it. However, something you probably do not expect is a dryer that won’t stop its cycle at all. It just keeps on tumbling and producing heat indefinitely. It will result in likely shrunk clothing and could even become a fire hazard over time as the clothing inside heats up and becomes overly dry. Luckily, if you have a dryer that won’t stop drying it can be easier to fix than one that won’t start. There is only a small list of potential causes that need to be checked with this issue to fix it up fast.

Door Switch

If you attempted to stop your dryer by opening the door in the middle of the cycle, the dryer should stop immediately. In every dryer, the door switch is a safety feature installed that will stop the dryer from tumbling when it senses that the door is open. It prevents wasted energy and keeps people from getting hurt by a tumbling dryer. However, if you opened your dryer and it does not stop, it is a sure sign that the door switch is faulty. However, this will cause the dryer to run with the door open, but will not cause it to run indefinitely. If the dryer does not stop after the cycle when you open the door, then, unfortunately, you have two problems that need to be repaired.

While you can test the door switch for continuity, the symptoms of this problem are pretty specific, meaning that you don’t really need to. Unfortunately, while it is easy to troubleshoot, removing a faulty door switch can be a bit of an ordeal. It is a different process in many dryers, but the most troublesome part is that it often means you need to significantly dismantle your dryer to reach it. The door switch is connected by wires at the front of the dryer by the door. You may have to remove both the control panel and the top of the dryer to reach it. Once the wires have been unplugged, you can then remove the mounting screws located by the latch on the inner lip of the door alcove. After that is done, the door switch can be pulled right out and either tested or replaced. For such a small part, it requires quite a bit of disassembly to reach. As such, some homeowners may be more comfortable just leaving this to a professional so that the dryer gets disassembled and reassembled in a timely manner without a fraction of the headache.


The timer is charged with determining how long your drying cycle should be running for. If the timer motor malfunctions is may not send the appropriate on or off signals to the dryer that would normally start, switch, or end a cycle. The timer can be checked for continuity when the dryer is unplugged by accessing it. The timer will be located in the control panel behind the knob that sets the cycle. You will likely need to remove the control knob before you can remove the timer motor box to replace it.

Cycling Thermostat

If your dryer is not stopping after the cycle should be finished, it is almost assuredly a timer problem. However, if you use the auto dry feature that is common in most newer dryers, it functions by using a cycling thermostat to advance the timer instead. While a malfunctioning timer can still be the cause of a dryer on auto dry not stopping, you will also want to look into the cycling thermostat. If it malfunctions, it may not accurately sense the temperature inside the drum that signals the timer how long it needs to dry the clothing for. You might also want to be aware that a malfunctioning cycling thermostat can also manifest in the heat not coming on at all.

In order to replace this part, you can find it by the dryer exhaust vent next to the thermal fuse for the dryer. After removing the wiring, it is as simple as unscrewing the cycling thermostat and installing a new one.

Cool Down Thermostat

Your dryer may use a cool-down cycle at the end of its set dry cycle. In this cycle, the dryer will spin until the interior of the drum has dropped in temperature significantly. Once the drum reaches the set temperature, the cool down thermostat will signal the dryer that it is okay to shut off. If this thermostat fails, it can result in the dryer spinning indefinitely. The good news is that because it is spinning on a cool-down cycle, it isn’t producing heat and isn’t much of a danger to your clothes or your home. Still, a dryer that spins indefinitely is using energy and won’t be good news for your energy bills if you forget about it.

If your dryer uses a cycling thermostat, then it also controls the cool down function. Otherwise, it is a similar thermostat installed in the same spot the by exhaust vent and the thermal fuse. You will want to consult your owner’s manual before replacing this part to make sure you get the correct kind of thermostat for your specific make and model of dryer.

While there are only a few select culprits that can be responsible for a dryer that doesn’t shut off at what should be the end of the cycle, it doesn’t mean the repairs are particularly simple. If you aren’t comfortable taking apart of your dryer or picking the correct replacement parts, then you need a professional. Even if you think you can make the repair, sometimes it is just faster to have a professional appliance repair technician out to do it. If you want to solve all your appliance repair issues, contact us today to see what Appliance Express can do to help.


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