Years ago, people may have used clothesline to dry their clothes. However, today, people rely on a clothes dryer to dry their clothes. It is by far one of the more convenient appliances in the home.

Unfortunately, like all useful appliances, dryers do encounter issues from time to time that keep them from working the way they should. More often than not, this tends to happen when we need them the most!

If you are currently dealing with a clothes dryer that is shutting down after a couple minutes of starting its cycle, you are probably incredibly frustrated. You need dry clothes, and you don’t want to have to hang them up outside for your neighbors to see your all of your undergarments!

The good news for you is that we have a few causes for your dryer shutting down after just a few minutes and how you can potentially fix the problem. If you’re ready to learn more, keep reading.

Clothes hanging at the balcony
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to hang your clothes outside because the dryer is not working.

These Are Some Of The Most Common Reasons:

#1: The Dryer Vent Is Blocked

Dryers tend to generate a lot of hot air during their operation. When that hot air has nowhere to escape due to a blocked vent tube, the thermal overload switch may switch on in an effort to avoid a potential fire hazard. In other words, your dryer may stop working after several minutes.

As a general rule, you can take a look at your dryer vent to see if it’s clogged up with lint and even give it a good cleaning. Here’s what to do.

First and foremost, unplug your dryer and remove the dryer duct. Locate the exterior vent outside of your house and remove the cover. Using the hose attachment of a Shop-Vac or your household vacuum cleaner, suck up any lint in and around the interior and exterior duct hole.

Using a vent cleaning kit, attach a dryer brush to a power drill and insert it into the ducting. Carefully push the brush as far into the ducting as you can and slowly turn the drill on to spin the brush. Bring the brush out and clean up the lint and debris. Reconnect the dryer and see if it works now. If not, move on to the next possible problem.

#2: The Dryer Motor Is Overheating

When the dryer motor begins to wear out, it will start getting hotter the more it’s used. Eventually, the dryer may overheat so much that it causes the circuit breaker to trip to prevent a fire from starting. Once the motor cools down, it may start back up. However, continuing to use the dryer with a faulty motor will only exacerbate the problem. A new dryer motor is necessary.

One way to test your dryer to see if the problem is the dryer motor is to allow the dryer to cool down for about 10 minutes after the appliance has stopped working after only a few minutes of operation. If the dryer starts right back up, then there is a very good chance that the dryer motor is faulty and needs to be replaced. Also, more often than not, the motor will make a loud buzzing sound before it actually fails.

In order to replace the dryer motor, disconnect the power to the dryer and pull the appliance away from the wall, giving you plenty of room to maneuver. Remove the access panel, lint filter, and top panel. Disconnect the wires to the door switch, remove the belt from the idler pulley, and take off the pulley.

Finally, to get to the dryer motor, you must remove the drum from the cabinet (although it’s fine to leave the belt on it). Disconnect the wiring from the dryer motor while paying attention to where they hook up to the motor. Make sure to release the blower wheel. You should now be able to remove the motor and install the brand-new one. Now, comes the fun part: putting it all back together!

Once the dryer is pieced together again, test to see if your problem has been resolved. If it has, great! If not, you’ll need to check another component.

Two dryer motors, one new and the other old.
If the dryer shuts off at the middle of the cycle, it could mean that the motor is going sour.

#3: The Door Latch Is Faulty

Nowadays, dryers are designed with door switches that won’t let the appliances operate if the door is open. Because the door is open and shut so many times throughout its lifetime, the door latch will wear out over time, which can lead to it opening during its drying cycle. When this happens, the dryer comes to a halt immediately.

If this happens, the fix is an easy one. The door latch switch is an easy part to replace yourself, and here’s what you need to do.

First, ensure the dryer is disconnected from its power source. Next, take off the hinges and screws from the door so you can take it apart. Take a pair of pliers to remove the door latch. Now, you can install a new latch and put everything back together. Plug the dryer in and see if the appliance is working properly without shutting off after mere minutes. If not, let’s move onto the next possible problem.

#4: The Moisture Sensor Is Defective

The moisture sensor is a component in the dryer that is designed to monitor the moisture levels inside of the dryer. This sensor then transmits a signal to the dryer’s control board. In the event that this part stops working properly, it will send an incorrect signal to the control board telling it that the dryer has zero moisture—that the clothes inside the dryer are dry instead of wet—and turn the unit off.

In order to determine whether the dryer’s moisture sensor is defective and replace it if needed, you should first unplug the dryer and get it away from the wall. Remove the top panel and disconnect the wiring harness from the main control board. There are screws that prevent the control panel from moving, and these must be removed before the control board can be removed.

Use some pliers to help displace the locking tab on the dryer’s front panel. Next, take out the screws from this panel, disconnect the wiring harness from the door, and remove the panel.

Now, remove the wiring harness that’s connected to the moisture sensor, the mounting plate (will probably need your pliers), and the lint screen. Remove the screws from the grill and remove it from the dryer as well as the lint filter guide.

You should now be able to install a new sensor. Once this moisture sensor has been installed, you can put all the pieces of the dryer back together. Once finished, plug your appliance back in and see if the problem has been solved. If not, check out the next possible problem and solution.

#5: The Drum Belt Is Broken or Faulty

The drum belt is what goes around the dryer drum and both the motor and idler pulleys. As the dryer motor spins around, the belt works to rotate the drum, which is what tumbles your clothing. Through normal use, the drum belt can wear down. When it finally gives and breaks, though, it must be replaced before it can work properly again.

To inspect the drive belt and replace it if needed, disconnect power to the dryer and pull it away from the wall. Remove both the top and front panels. You should now be able to access the drum belt as well as both of the pulleys.

Inspect the drum belt carefully for any signs of significant wear and tear or breaks. If you notice any, it will require replacement. In order to replace the belt, it must be removed from both pulleys. While you’re there, check the pulleys for excess wear and tear and damage so they can be replaced if needed.

You’ll need to slightly pull up the belt to release the drum bearing, and then slightly pull the drum out of the dryer cabinet. This allows you to remove the belt from the back of the drum so you can begin the installation of the brand-new drum belt. Once the new belt has been placed around the drum with the groove side down and against the drum, the drum can be slid back into place.

Make sure the belt is in the center of the drum and then reattach it to both pulleys. Adjust the tension of the idler pulley, and begin the reassembly. Test the dryer once everything is back in place to see if this new part solves your dryer issues.


We hope that at least one of the aforementioned fixes solves your problem and you are no longer dealing with a dryer that is shutting off after only a few minutes of operating. However, if it did not, you should consult with a professional to find out what the deeper problem is.

Please check out some of our other helpful DIY articles and thanks for stopping by!