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

Why Your Dryer Shuts Off After A Few Minutes

Are you trying to figure out how to stop your dryer from shutting off after a few minutes of operating?

Unfortunately, I’ve been there. I know how annoying it can be to have this happen. After all, dryers should make our lives easier, not the opposite.

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. Having a damaged moisture sensor and a broken drum belt could also explain the issue.

But don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place to get these issues fixed.

Read on to stop your dryer from shutting off after a few minutes!

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

Fixing A Dryer That Shuts Off After A Few Minutes

#1 The Dryer Vent Is Blocked

Dryers 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 how to do it:

  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 you can, 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 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. This could explain why your dryer keeps shutting off after a few minutes.

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 issue 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. Here’s how to do it:

  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. To get to the dryer motor, remove the drum from the cabinet (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.

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 in 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. 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 its opening during the drying cycle. This could also explain why your dryer is shutting off after a few minutes.

Luckily, you can easily solve this 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 (this varies per model, you should just need a simple screwdriver)
  4. Install a new switch and put everything back together.
  5. Plug the dryer in and see if the appliance is working properly without shutting off after mere minutes.

If the steps above didn’t help you fix the issue, there’s a good chance the moisture sensor is faulty. Keep reading to learn more about this.

#4 The Moisture Sensor Is Defective

The moisture sensor is a component in the dryer that is designed to monitor the moisture levels inside the dryer. Then, it transmits a signal to the dryer’s control board.

In the event that this part stops working, 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 dryer off.

In order 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 these must be removed before the control board can be removed.
  3. Use some pliers to help displace the locking tab on the dryer’s front panel.
  4. Take out the screws from this panel, disconnect the wiring harness from the door, and remove the panel.
  5. Remove the wiring harness that’s connected to the moisture sensor, the mounting plate (will probably need your pliers), and the lint screen.
  6. Remove the screws from the grill and remove them from the dryer and the lint filter guide.

You should now be able to install a new moisture sensor. Once it has been installed, you can put all the pieces of the dryer back together.

Then, 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. Otherwise, your dryer will continue to shut off after a few minutes.

To inspect the drive belt and replace it if needed, please follow these simple instructions:

  1. Please 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 of the pulleys.
  3. Inspect the drum belt carefully for any signs of significant wear and tear or breaks. If you notice any, it will require replacement.
  4. In order 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 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.
  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.

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 that you are no longer dealing with a dryer that is shutting off after 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!

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more