Short answer: A dryer that won’t shut off can be frustrating. Learn how to diagnose and fix common issues to ensure your dryer runs efficiently.

A clothes dryer is a modern convenience that many of us rely on daily, making laundry tasks more efficient and convenient. However, when your dryer refuses to shut off, it can quickly turn into an unexpected inconvenience. The continuous operation of your dryer not only wastes energy but can also lead to wear and tear on the appliance. In this guide, we will explore common reasons why a dryer might run endlessly and provide step-by-step solutions to help you identify and rectify the issue. Whether it’s a stuck start button, a malfunctioning door switch, or a faulty timer, we’ve got you covered with practical troubleshooting tips to ensure your dryer operates as it should.

Reasons why Dryer Won’t Shut Off

  1. Clogged Venting or Lint Filter: If the dryer’s venting or lint filter is clogged with lint or other debris, the airflow within the dryer drum will be restricted. This will substantially increase the drying time. While you should clean the lint filter after every load, you should also clean out the dryer’s venting and the lint filter housing at least once a year to ensure good airflow.
  2. Burned-Out Heating Element: The heating element warms the air before it enters the dryer drum. Over time, the element can burn out, which could cause the dryer to run continuously. To help determine if the element is burned out, you can use a multimeter to test the component for continuity. Continuity indicates a continuous electrical path in the part. If the element tests negative for continuity, you will need to replace it.
  3. Faulty High Limit Thermostat: Located on the heating element, the high limit thermostat monitors the dryer temperature and will shut the heating element off if the dryer overheats. If this thermostat fails, the heating element may shut off prematurely, greatly extending the drying time. You can use a multimeter to test the thermostats for continuity to determine if either component has failed or not.
  4. Malfunctioning Moisture Sensor: A moisture sensor monitors the dampness of the clothes and sends a signal to the control board when the clothes are dry. If the sensor is malfunctioning, the dryer may continue to run after the clothes have been dried. Although this is not a common problem, on some dryers, the control board will use a thermistor to monitor the dryer temperature and cycle the heat on and off. In rare cases, a defective thermistor may result in the heat being turned off too early, causing the dryer to run considerably longer than expected.

How To Fix A Dryer That Won’t Turn Off?

Error code on dryer
Fixing dryer error code

If your dryer seems to have a mind of its own and won’t shut off when it should, it can be frustrating. Fortunately, we’ve got a detailed step-by-step guide to help you troubleshoot and resolve this issue. Let’s get started:

1. Check for a Stuck Start Button:

  • Step 1: Ensure the dryer is unplugged to avoid electrical hazards.
  • Step 2: Locate the start button on your dryer’s control panel.
  • Step 3: Examine the start button for any physical obstructions or debris that might be causing it to stick.
  • Step 4: Gently press the start button and listen for a click. It should depress and release smoothly.
  • Step 5: If the start button is stuck or damaged, it may need cleaning or replacement. Consult your dryer’s user manual or manufacturer’s instructions for guidance on button replacement.

2. Check the Door Switch:

  • Step 1: Ensure the dryer is unplugged for safety.
  • Step 2: Locate the door switch, typically found along the door frame or rim of the dryer door.
  • Step 3: Press and release the door switch manually to check if it operates smoothly. You should hear a distinct clicking sound when you press and release it.
  • Step 4: If the door switch is loose, damaged, or not clicking, it may need to be replaced. Follow your dryer’s manual or manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.

3. Check the Timer:

  • Step 1: Unplug the dryer to prevent electrical accidents.
  • Step 2: Locate the timer control on the dryer’s control panel.
  • Step 3: Ensure the timer knob or dial is in the “Off” position.
  • Step 4: Turn the timer to various settings and check if it advances correctly. If the timer doesn’t advance or gets stuck, it may be defective and require replacement.

4. Test the Cycling Thermostat:

  • Step 1: Safety first – unplug the dryer.
  • Step 2: Locate the cycling thermostat, often situated on the blower housing or exhaust vent.
  • Step 3: Using a multimeter set to the continuity or ohms setting, test the thermostat for continuity.
  • Step 4: If the thermostat doesn’t show continuity when at the proper temperature, it’s faulty and needs replacement.

5. Test the Cool-Down Thermostat:

  • Step 1: Disconnect the dryer from the power source.
  • Step 2: Find the cool-down thermostat, usually located near the cycling thermostat.
  • Step 3: Use a multimeter to check for continuity in the cool-down thermostat.
  • Step 4: If it doesn’t show continuity at the correct temperature, it’s malfunctioning and should be replaced.

6. Replace the Motor Relay on the Control Board:

Replacing the dryer control board
Replacing faulty control board of dryer
  • Step 1: Unplug the dryer to ensure safety.
  • Step 2: Access the dryer’s control board, usually located behind the dryer’s control panel.
  • Step 3: Locate the motor relay on the control board.
  • Step 4: Carefully remove and replace the motor relay. Ensure you have a compatible replacement part and follow manufacturer guidelines.

After following these steps, your dryer should be back to its normal functioning, shutting off when the cycle is complete. If you’re unsure about any of the procedures or suspect a more complex issue, it’s advisable to consult a professional appliance technician for assistance.


My dryer keeps running even after the cycle is done. What could be causing this?

There are several possible causes for this issue. It could be a stuck start button, a malfunctioning door switch, a faulty timer, or problems with thermostats or relays. You’ll need to troubleshoot to pinpoint the exact cause.

How can I check if the start button is stuck?

To check for a stuck start button, make sure the dryer is unplugged, inspect the button for physical obstructions or damage, and press it to see if it operates smoothly. It should depress and release without any sticking.

What should I do if my dryer’s door switch isn’t working correctly?

If the door switch is malfunctioning, your dryer may not turn off. Test the door switch by manually pressing and releasing it to hear a clicking sound. If it’s loose, damaged, or doesn’t click, it may need to be replaced.

Can a faulty timer cause the dryer to keep running?

Yes, a malfunctioning timer can cause your dryer to run continuously. Make sure the timer knob or dial is in the “Off” position and check if it advances correctly through the cycle settings. If it doesn’t, the timer may need replacement.

What is a cycling thermostat, and how can I test it?

A cycling thermostat regulates the dryer’s temperature during a cycle. To test it, unplug the dryer, locate the thermostat (often near the blower housing), and use a multimeter to check for continuity or ohms at the proper temperature. If it doesn’t show continuity, it may need replacement.

What does the cool-down thermostat do, and how do I test it?

The cool-down thermostat helps cool down the dryer at the end of a cycle. To test it, disconnect the dryer from the power source, locate the thermostat (usually near the cycling thermostat), and use a multimeter to check for continuity. If it fails to show continuity at the correct temperature, it might be malfunctioning and should be replaced.

How do I replace the motor relay on the control board?

To replace the motor relay on the control board, ensure the dryer is unplugged, access the control board (typically located behind the control panel), locate the motor relay, and carefully remove and replace it with a compatible replacement part following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Removing dryer duct
Removing duct from the dryer


A dryer that refuses to shut off can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem to tackle. However, by systematically checking and addressing potential culprits such as a stuck start button, malfunctioning door switch, faulty timer, or problematic thermostats, you can often diagnose and resolve the issue on your own. Regular maintenance, including cleaning lint filters and vents, can also help prevent such problems. Remember that safety should always come first, and if you’re uncertain about any repair, seeking the expertise of a qualified appliance technician is a wise decision to ensure both your dryer’s functionality and your peace of mind.

Key Takeaways

Column 1: Problem Column 2: Possible Cause Column 3: Troubleshooting Steps Column 4: Prevention Tips
Stuck Start Button Internal button malfunction Inspect button for blockage or damage Regularly clean and maintain buttons
Malfunctioning Door Switch Faulty door sensor or wiring Test door switch, repair or replace as needed Keep the door seal clean and undamaged
Timer Not Working Timer mechanism failure Examine timer contacts and replace if faulty Use the timer gently; avoid forceful turning
Thermostat Issues Cycling or cool-down thermostat malfunction Test thermostats with a multimeter Clean lint filters and vents regularly to prevent issues

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