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How to fix the timer on your dryer

Dryer timer steps to fix

Is your dryer timer not working? Have you noticed the timer knob getting stuck in one position, or your clothes coming out of the machine less dry than usual? If so, you've come to the right place.

Asurion is your one-stop-shop for troubleshooting, fixing, and maximizing your tech and appliances. Our experts are here to help 24/7 whether you need to repair a dryer that won't start or a dishwasher that's not cleaning dishes.

Here are a few things that could be causing your issue and our tips for how to fix your dryer timer.

Broken timer motor

When your dryer functions properly, the timer moves through the settings as heat inside the tumbler reaches a certain level. If you notice the dryer timer not advancing, or if you have to manually move it through its cycle, the timer motor may be the problem. This glitch can affect many models, so whether you have a Whirlpool® dryer timer that isn't working or a Maytag® dryer timer that isn't working, we'll show you how to troubleshoot your machine.

How to test your dryer's timer motor

One way to do this is with a multimeter, a device that measures the electrical current in appliances (check out our guide to using a multimeter to learn how this tool works). If you have one, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug your machine from the power source. If you have a gas dryer, shut off the gas.
  2. Remove the control console.
  3. Locate the timer. Depending on your model, you may need to remove the rear panel behind the control console to reach it.
  4. Set your multimeter to Rx1. If your device doesn't have this setting, set it to ohms and turn it up to a higher level than your expected resistance.
  5. Place the probes on the terminals and test for continuity in the contacts controlling the small timer motor. You're looking for a reading between 2,000 and 3,000 ohms.
  6. If one of those tests fails, or if you get a reading outside this range, it's time to replace the timer motor.

You can do so by looking up the model number online and ordering a new timer motor. If you decide to install it on your own, remember to turn off the gas if you have a gas-powered dryer, and disconnect the electrical power to the dryer, too. An Asurion Expert can also help you order the new part and replace it for you.

Malfunctioning cycling thermostat

Another reason your dryer timer may not work is a defective cycling thermostat. This component moves the timer through its cycle and regulates the drum temperature on both gas and electric dryers with an Auto Dry cycle. When the thermostat works properly, it turns on the heater circuit so the dryer reaches the correct temperature, then activates the timer motor until the temperature drops enough to turn the heater back on.

How to test your dryer's cycling thermostat with a multimeter

  1. Unplug your dryer from its power source and make sure the machine is at room temperature.
  2. Open the dryer's cabinet. You can consult your owner's manual for the best way to do this.
  3. Find the cycling thermostat, typically located on the blower housing or another area in the airflow ducting.
  4. Use a multimeter to test the thermostat for continuity. Set it to Rx1, or if your device doesn't have this setting, set it to ohms and turn it up to a higher level than your expected resistance.
  5. Touch the probes to the thermostat's terminals. If you receive a reading other than zero, you may have an issue with your cycling thermostat and need to replace it.

Issue with heating element

If you try moving through the dryer timer's cycle by hand but your machine still isn't working properly, you likely have a heating issue. To fix it, follow our experts' guide on troubleshooting a dryer that isn't heating properly.

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