Why Your Dryer Shuts Off After A Few Minutes: With Fixes

Why Your Dryer Shuts Off After A Few Minutes

Does your dryer keep shutting off after a few minutes, and it’s driving you crazy?

Unfortunately, I’ve been there. I know how annoying it can be to have your dryer shut off randomly. After all, dryers should make our lives easier, not harder.

But don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place for answers.

If your dryer is shutting off after a few minutes, there’s a good chance the dryer vent is blocked, the motor is overheating, or the door latch is faulty. A damaged moisture sensor and a broken drum belt could also explain the issue.

Read on to get your dryer back to normal!

Why trust us? This article was written by Craig Anderson and James Blackford.

Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.

James is one of our resident appliance experts with over 16 years of experience. He currently works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair business.

In-case you prefer to listen, here’s a clip from our podcast where we discuss fixing a dryer that stops mid cycle.

Fixing A Dryer That Shuts Off After A Few Minutes

Dryers are great when they’re working normally, but when they shut off after 5 minutes, they can become a great inconvenience. Luckily, there are some common problem sources that, when addressed, can get everything back on track.

From what I’ve seen over the years, here’s what you should consider first.

#1 The Dryer Vent Is Blocked

Dryer vents help blow out the excess heat produced during a cycle. But when vents are blocked, hot air has nowhere to escape, and the thermal overload switch may switch on in an effort to avoid a potential fire hazard.

My usual advice is to look closely at your dryer vent to see if it’s clogged up with lint and give it a good cleaning if that’s the case. Here’s how to clean your dryer’s vents:

  1. Unplug your dryer and remove the dryer duct.
  2. Locate the exterior vent outside your house and remove the cover.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 possible, and slowly turn the drill on to spin the brush.
  5. Bring the brush out and clean up the lint and debris.
  6. Reconnect the dryer and see if it works now. If not, move on to the next section.

Note: cleaning your dryer’s vents often is a great way to care for it and ensure it works well and lasts very long!

#2 The Dryer Motor Is Overheating

If your dryer keeps shutting off after 5 minutes or so, chances are its motor is overheating.

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 running again. However, using the dryer with a faulty motor will only worsen the problem. A replacement is needed if you suspect your dryer’s motor is faulty.

A diagram of where a dryer's motor is located
Your dryer will suddenly stop or randomly shut off if the drive motor overheats.

One way to test your dryer to see if the issue is the dryer motor is to allow the dryer to cool down for about 10 minutes after the appliance has stopped working.

If the dryer starts right back up, there’s your answer. In my opinion, unless you’re well-versed in appliance motor repairs, you should leave the job to a professional. But if you take on the repair yourself, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Disconnect the power to the dryer and pull the appliance away from the wall, giving you plenty of room to maneuver.
  2. Remove the access panel, lint filter, and top panel.
  3. Disconnect the wires to the door switch, remove the belt from the idler pulley, and take off the pulley.
  4. Remove the drum from the cabinet to get to the dryer motor (although it’s fine to leave the belt on it).
  5. 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.
  6. You should now be able to remove the motor and install the brand-new one.

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

Now comes the fun part: reassembling!

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

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

#3 The Door Latch Is Faulty

Another possible reason why your dryer keeps shutting off after 2 minutes is a faulty door latch. Dryers are designed with door switches that won’t let the appliances operate if the door is open. Since the door is open and shut so many times throughout its lifetime, the door latch will wear out over time, which can lead to the latch opening during the drying cycle.

dryer door latch
If your dryer keeps shutting off, inspect the door latch.

Luckily, you can easily solve the issue by replacing the door latch switch. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Ensure the dryer is disconnected from its power source.
  2. Remove the door panel to access the switch.
  3. Remove the door switch (the process for every brand is different, but in most cases, you should just need a simple screwdriver)
  4. Install a new switch and reassemble the dryer.
  5. Plug the appliance in and see if the dryer works properly without shutting off after 5 minutes.

If the steps above didn’t help, there’s a good chance the moisture sensor is faulty. Keep reading to learn what to do!

#4 The Moisture Sensor Is Defective

The moisture sensor is a dryer component designed to monitor the moisture levels inside the appliance. Then, the sensor transmits a signal to the dryer’s control board. Surprisingly, even if the sensor works normally, it could still be causing your dryer to keep shutting off after 5 minutes.

How so? Great question!

Almost all dryers have legs that can adjust the appliance’s height. The moisture sensor in many dryers is located near the front of the unit, so if you set the front legs too high, moisture from your clothes will never reach the sensor.

And if the sensor doesn’t detect moisture, well… you guessed it – it tells the dryer to shut off, thinking your clothes are dry. The same happens when the sensor is, in fact, faulty, but instead of simply adjusting the legs; you’ll have to replace the sensor.

To determine whether the dryer’s moisture sensor is defective and replace it if needed, you’ll need to:

  1. Unplug the dryer and get it away from the wall.
  2. 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 they must be undone before the control board can be removed.
  3. Use pliers to help displace the locking tab on the dryer’s front panel.
  4. Take out the screws from the panel, disconnect the wiring harness from the door, and remove the panel.
  5. Remove the wiring harness connected to the moisture sensor, the mounting plate (which will probably need pliers), and the lint screen.
  6. Remove the screws from the grill and remove them from the dryer and the lint filter guide.

If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.

After you’ve taken care of the replacement, plug your dryer back in and see if the problem has been solved. If at any point you feel uncertain about what you’re doing, please get in touch with a certified professional for help.

#5 The Drum Belt Is Broken or Faulty

The drum belt goes around the dryer drum and the motor and idler pulleys. As the dryer motor spins around, the belt rotates the drum, which tumbles your clothing.

Through normal use, the drum belt can wear down. When the belt finally gives and breaks, it must be replaced before it can work properly again. Otherwise, your dryer will continue to shut off after a few minutes.

To inspect the drive belt and replace it, please follow the simple instructions below:

  1. Disconnect the power to the dryer and pull it away from the wall.
  2. Remove both the top and front panels. You should now be able to access the drum belt and both pulleys.
  3. Inspect the drum belt carefully for any signs of significant wear and tear or breaks. If you notice any, the belt will require replacement.
  4. To replace the belt, it must be removed from both pulleys – a tension belt pulley and one pulley on the motor. While you’re there, check the pulleys for excess wear and tear and damage, so they can be replaced if needed.
  5. You’ll need to pull up the belt to release the drum bearing slightly and then pull the drum out of the dryer cabinet. This will allow you to remove the belt from the back of the drum so that you can begin the installation of the brand-new drum belt.
  6. 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.

Ensure the belt is in the drum’s center, 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 the new belt solves your dryer issues.


I hope that at least one of the fixes above solves your problem and that you’re no longer dealing with a dryer that is shutting off after 5 minutes of running a cycle.

Remember, in most cases, something as simple as keeping your dryer’s vents clean and avoiding extreme leg height adjustments will get everything back to normal.

Thanks for reading. If this article piqued your interest and proved useful, please consider checking out our other incredible resources below and subscribing to our newsletter.

Happy drying!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more