How to troubleshoot your dryer timer



When any major home appliance malfunctions or breaks down, such as your fridge or washer, it can be quite an inconvenience. Whether you’re a DIY kind of homeowner or prefer help from a professional appliance repair company, quickly fixing the problem is important. 

We heavily rely on our home dryer, and it can be troublesome when there’s an issue with the dryer timer. The timer knob might not cycle, causing the dryer to run nonstop, and clothes might not come out as dry. Here you can learn specific signs that your dryer timer is on the fritz and some troubleshooting tips you can use to fix the problem. 


How can you know if your dryer timer is broken?

Whether your model is a Maytag, Kenmore or GE dryer, the timer functions the same. A working dryer timer adjusts the heat settings while progressing through the dryer cycle. When complete, the dryer automatically shuts down. A defective dryer timer can get stuck and not advance through its drying cycle. This problem can keep the drying cycle at a constant temperature, which might be too hot or too cool. A broken timer motor can also make the dryer run until someone physically turns it off. 

Signs like these can mean you need a new timer but can also point to other issues that mimic a problem with the dryer’s timer, such as a faulty control board or heating element. Find out how you can troubleshoot some of the most common types of dryer timer issues. 


Most common dryer timer problems

When dryer timers fail, the most likely issues include a breakdown of the timer, a broken cycling thermostat or a nonworking heating element. Read on and learn more about how you can identify these common problems and test these appliance parts. 

Broken timer motor

A defective timer motor can be stuck in one position and not advance through the drying cycle. If no one notices, the dryer can run a considerably long time. This can take a toll on your dryer and add to your monthly electric or gas bill cost. While advancing the timer by hand can move the dryer to the next level, this is not always a practical choice and takes a lot of your attention. To know if the timer motor is causing the issue with your machine, you can follow these steps and test the dryer’s timer motor. 

Testing the timer motor in dryers requires using a multimeter tool. Also called a volt-ohm-milliammeter, this handy device allows homeowners to check a variety of major household appliances for issues. A multimeter measures current, voltage and resistance. 

Before testing any electrical appliance, unplug it from the power source. You can even switch off the circuit breaker for added protection. If it’s a gas appliance, turn off the gas to the machine. 

After you take those safety measures, remove the control console. The control console is where you find the knobs and buttons that control the dryer’s settings and display. Set the multimeter to RX1, or ohms if RX1 is unavailable, and touch the probes on the timer motor’s terminals. A reading between 2,000 and 3,000 ohms is good. If outside this range, replace the broken timer motor or schedule an appointment with an appliance repair company.   

Broken cycling thermostat

The cycling thermostat is the component that moves the timer through the auto dry cycle and controls the temperature inside the drum of electric and gas dryers. When working correctly, the thermostat activates the heater circuit and maintains and adjusts the temperature inside the dryer drum. When this component fails, the dryer cannot control the temperature and may run at high or low temperatures. 

To test the cycling thermostat, make sure the inside of the dryer is room temperature and unplug it from the power source. Every brand differs, so refer to the machine’s owner’s manual for instructions on opening the dryer cabinet. Inside, you can find the cycling thermostat near the airflow duct or blower housing. Test the thermostat terminal probes with a multimeter set to RX1 or ohms (resistance). If there is no issue, you will get a reading of zero. Any other result indicates a problem, and the cycling thermostat needs replacement. 

Broken heating element

A broken heating element can cause issues with your dryer’s timer and make for a longer drying time. An overflowing lint trap can also slow down drying time. Fortunately, you can test your heating element and know if it is the issue and needs replacement. 

Once again, unplug the dryer from its power source. If working with a gas dryer, switch the gas valve to the “off” position. Pull the dryer from its location so you can access the back of the machine. With a screwdriver, remove the screws securing the metal coil panel. Inside is wiring and heating element coils. You can find a wiring diagram for your specific dryer in the owner’s manual or a quick search on the internet. Set the multimeter to a resistance scale of RX1 and touch the probe to the element. Any reading over zero indicates the element is bad and needs replacement. Use the dryer’s model number to find the right heating element for your dryer, or contact a repair company to switch out the heating element for you. 


How much does it cost to fix a timer on a dryer?

Busy households depend on their dryer. While a new dryer can last roughly eight to 12 years, things can go wrong during its lifetime. Issues such as a faulty door, a damaged start switch or a stuck timer can stop laundry day in its tracks. If the appliance is under warranty, repair costs are generally covered. 

There are several types of dryer brands. Frigidaire, LG, Samsung, Maytag and Whirlpool are just a few of the most popular. The cost of fixing a timer on a dryer largely depends on the model and brand of your particular dryer. For instance, LG dryer brands average less than Maytag in repair costs. On average, repairing a broken dryer timer runs from $130 to $270, according to HomeAdvisor.

The price tag of dryer repairs can be off-putting and make homeowners delay a repair or take measures to fix the problem themselves. While DIY is possible, hiring a professional skilled in appliance repair can save time and money. Trained appliance repair professionals already know what to look for and have the tools and parts to fix the problem quickly. They also know the ins and outs of electrical currents and gas lines and take the necessary safety precautions. 

While we can’t avoid issues with our dryer, regular maintenance can help these appliances last longer. Things like cleaning the lint from the lint trap and vent cap outside and avoiding overloading can help the dryer run more efficiently and last longer. 


Dryer repairs are covered under the Cinch appliances warranty

The dryer is a beloved household staple and often taken for granted. When this appliance runs inefficiently or breaks down, it can induce panic as we scramble and hang wet clothes to dry or have to head to the laundromat with baskets of heavy clothing weighed down with water. 

Don’t leave your home appliances out to dry. With a Cinch Home Services Appliances plan, you can cover the cost of major appliance repairs, including your household dryer. Cinch covers major home appliances, including dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators and, of course, dryers. 

Learn more about how Cinch can help keep your major appliances in tiptop shape and reduce costs associated with surprise breakdowns. Reach out today for an instant quote


Dryer timer not advancing? It may be time to get a replacement part.