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Kenmore Dryer Won’t Start/Turn On

Kenmore dryers seem simplistic, but can become very complicated when it won’t turn on and you don’t know how to fix it. Usually people have no need to look at the inner workings of their dryer to know what might be wrong. In order to make it easier for you, I have summarised my own research into this issue so that you can narrow the problem down to just a few fault components.

A Kenmore dryer will not start if there is a fault in the thermal fuse, motor, drive belt, control board, door switch or the start switch. If the dryer keeps turning off or tripping the fuse, you should check the heating element, motor, power cord, thermostats and timer, and clean out any lint.

Female putting clothes into dryer

I will explain how each of these components contribute to the running of a Kenmore dryer, as well as how they can cause problems when they are faulty or damaged. Even if your dryer turns on, you may find that it beeps or buzzes constantly. Fortunately, there are also simple explanations and fixes to these problems.

Kenmore Dryer Won’t Start / Turn On

Thermal Fuse or Thermistor

The thermal fuse or thermistor is responsible for breaking the circuit when the temperature within the dryer gets too high. This is achieved by the fuse itself breaking, preventing continuous flow of electricity.

Once the fuse is blown, the dryer will no longer turn on. However, the thermal fuse is very easy to locate and replace. Once you have purchased a replacement, follow the steps below to install the new thermal fuse.

Step 1: Turn off the electricity or unplug your dryer from the power.
Step 2: Remove the screws from the back panel and lift the panel off.
Step 3: Locate the thermal fuse (follow the wires).
Step 4: Unplug the two wires from the fuse.
Step 5: Remove the screw from the fuse to detach it from the dryer.
Step 6: Replace the old fuse with a new one by reversing these steps.

Drive Motor

The drive motor is what rotates the belt to turn the drum, and also what drives the fan blade in the blower. When this is broken, no air will flow through the dryer and the drum will not rotate. You should still see lights on the dryer when the drive motor is broken, but the dryer will not turn on.

The drive motor is more complicated to replace, but is located in the front of the dryer housing. You will need to remove both the front and back panels of the dryer to detach the motor from the drive belt and blower fan blade. You will also need to open the top of the dryer so that you can lift the drum out of the way.

Drive Belt or Belt Switch

The drive belt winds around a series of pulleys and the dryer drum, rotating the drum as it circulates around. This is powered by the motor and monitored by the belt switch. If the belt slips off its pulleys or breaks, the belt switch is activated, stopping the dryer.

If the drive belt is broken or has slipped out of place, the dryer would still blow hot air into the drum, but the drum would not rotate to circulate your clothes. However, if there is a belt switch, which is the case in Kenmore dryers, the whole dryer will turn off when this happens.

For this reason, the dryer will not turn on if there is something wrong with the drive belt, or if the belt switch is faulty. You can manually inspect these components by opening up the front of the dryer and following the drive belt all the way around.

Control Board

The control board manages all functions within the dryer, supplying voltage to each component when required. This is located behind the control panel, which you can easily remove by removing the end panels and unscrewing the control panel.

Some damage to the control board may not be visible, but other damage can include scorch marks or moisture build-up. When the control board is broken, you will not be able to use the dryer until you have replaced it.

However, not all control board malfunctions are a result of physical damage. Sometimes, such as in a power outage or a short circuit, the control board has an error that can be fixed by restarting the dryer. Follow the steps below to restart your Kenmore dryer.

Step 1: Unplug the dryer from its power source.
Step 2: Wait at least five minutes.
Step 3: Plug the dryer back into the power outlet and turn it on.

Door Switch or Latch

Kenmore dryers have a built-in safety mechanism that will prevent the dryer from running while the door is open. Therefore, if there is any fault with the door switch or the door latch, the dryer will think that the door is open, even if it is closed. You will not be able to start the dryer until the faulty component is fixed.

You can access these components by removing the top of the dryer. If the latch is faulty, you should notice the door does not close as it used to. A faulty door switch is not as obvious, but you can test this for electrical continuity using a multimeter.

Start Switch

It may seem obvious, but if the start switch is not working, the dryer will not start. This is not very common, so it is more likely to be one of the above issues. You can test the start switch by ensuring there is electrical continuity through the switch when using a multimeter.

The start switch can be accessed from behind the control panel. You can remove the front of the control panel by first removing the screws at either end. These screws are usually hidden by two end caps that can easily be slipped off.

Once you have removed the screws, you should be able to pull the control panel forward to reveal the wires. Make sure your electricity is turned off before touching any internal components of your dryer. Unplug the wires from the start switch and test it for continuity with the multimeter.

Kenmore Dryer Keeps Tripping Breaker

Man fixing dryer

Heating Element

The heating element is part of the electrical circuit within your dryer, heating up as electricity flows through it. This is what warms the air flowing into the dryer to dry your clothes. If this heating element is faulty, this can cause the whole dryer to short circuit, tripping your breaker.

You can see if the heating element is faulty by removing the back panel of your dryer and removing the heating element. Make sure you have turned the power off beforehand, but the heating element should be the silver box on the right side. Once removed, check the element for any broken wires that could be causing the short circuit.

Drive Motor

A faulty drive motor, which I mentioned is found in the front and bottom of the unit, can also cause a short circuit in your dryer. You can check whether or not the motor is faulty by using a multimeter. If the motor does not demonstrate continuity, it is likely the cause of the breaker tripping, and it will need to be replaced.

Power Cord

A damaged power cord can short circuit your dryer. If this is the case, you should be able to see the damage or burn marks, and you may even smell burning or hear popping or buzzing prior to the breaker tripping. This is true for any damaged wire within the dryer unit, including small wires on the control or circuit board.

Kenmore Dryer Keeps Turning Off

Dryer

High-Limit Thermostat

A thermostat is different to a fuse in that a fuse will only work once to shut off the power. Once the fuse is blown, you must replace it to run your dryer again. A thermostat, on the other hand, runs continuously and can turn the power off several times.

The high-limit thermostat will break the circuit if the temperature reaches dangerous levels. However, if this thermostat is broken, it may switch off the power prematurely, thinking that the dryer is overheating when it is not. This would cause the dryer to turn off at moderate or even low temperatures, giving the impression that it keeps turning off shortly after running the cycle.

There is another type of thermostat used in your Kenmore dryer, known as the cycling thermostat. I will discuss this further down, but this can also contribute to the dryer turning off prematurely.

Timer

The dryer’s timer allows you to set the length of time that you want your clothes to be drying. This timer contains switches that have the ability to break the electrical circuit within the dryer when it reaches the end of the allotted time. If this timer has malfunctioned, the switch may turn off too soon, causing the dryer to keep turning off.

Kenmore Dryer Keeps Shutting Off Mid Cycle

Dryer

Cycling Thermostat

The cycling thermostat regulates the air temperature within the dryer by switching the heating element on and off when required. Therefore, a broken cycling thermostat will either cause the air in the dryer to be too cold or too hot.

Having a broken cycling thermostat will not cause your dryer to turn off directly. However, the higher temperatures can trigger the high-limit thermostat, mentioned above. Because the dryer takes time to reach a dangerous temperature, this would cause it to turn off mid cycle, compared to shortly after it starts.

Lint Build-Up

The high-limit thermostat can also be triggered by a build-up of lint in the dryer. Lint can build up in the filter, but also in the air shaft that carries hot air out of the dryer. Too much lint can restrict the airflow out of the dryer, trapping the hot air and causing temperatures to increase.

For this reason, you should always clean your filter after each cycle. You should also clean the air shaft at least once per year to remove any lint that makes it through the filter.

Kenmore Dryer Keeps Beeping

Dryer

End Of The Cycle

All Kenmore dryers will beep at the end of the cycle. Therefore, you may need to press the ‘Stop’ button or open the dryer door to stop the beeping. However, this beeping is a normal occurrence, so if you believe the beeping is not indicating the end of a cycle, below are some other possibilities.

Overheating

As mentioned above, an overheated dryer can cause the thermostat to cut the power to the dryer. This not only stops the dryer, but can also cause it to beep constantly. You will need to press the ‘Pause’ or ‘Stop’ button to stop the beeping.

If the clothes in the dryer do not feel hot, the high-limit thermostat is likely broken. If they seem excessively hot, it is likely that the cycling thermostat is broken, which has allowed the temperature to rise above safe limits.

Diagnostic Test

Your dryer may have been put into ‘Diagnostic Test Mode’. While running the test, the dryer will beep continuously. However, your dryer may also be stuck in this state. If this is the case, you should notice that every function causes the dryer to beep, whether you are pressing buttons or opening/closing the door.

You can exit the diagnostic test mode by pressing and holding the ‘Pause/Cancel’ button and the ‘Select’ button at the same time. After around six seconds, the dryer should run normally again. If this did not fix your issue, your dryer may have had an error.

Error Codes

A Kenmore dryer will beep at you when it has experienced an error. You will also notice lights flashing on the dryer, which indicates a specific code. These codes, listed below, help determine the root cause of the error.

There are normally two numbers used in each error code. You can get the second number by counting how many times the ‘Start’ light flashes. The first number will be the number of times any of the other lights flash.

Error #Cause
01Control board has failed.
02Control panel/keypad has failed.
20Heater relay on the control board failed.
22 or 23Air outlet thermistor has failed
24 or 25Air inlet thermistor has failed
28 or 29Moisture sensor has failed
30Airflow is restricted
31Low L2 voltage
70 or 71Failed communication between control board and interface control
72 to 78Interface control has failed

Kenmore Dryer Keeps Buzzing

Dryer

Disconnecting the Buzzer

On some models of Kenmore dryers, there is a buzzing sound instead of a beep when the load has finished. This is connected to the cycle timer, with the buzzer going off when the timer ends. The buzzer is normal, but should stop.

If your buzzer is not stopping, you can find some possible causes below. Below are the steps required to disconnect the buzzer if this is the case, or if you do not want the buzzer to sound at all. Some people prefer this if they have small children that might be napping when the dryer finishes.

Step 1: Unplug the dryer from its power source or turn off your breaker.
Step 2: Remove the two screws on each side of the control panel.
Step 3: Pull the control panel forward to expose the wires.
Step 4: Locate the buzzer mechanism (black box with wires entering in).
Step 5: Disconnect one of the wires and cover the exposed wire with electrical tape.

Broken Buzzer

A malfunctioning buzzer will either not work at all, or buzz continuously when it is not supposed to. This can be the cause of your problem, and requires a replacement buzzer to fix the issue. As mentioned before, you can access the buzzer from behind the control panel to replace this part.

Start Button Switch

If the start button is stuck, activating the start button switch, this could also cause the buzzer to continuously sound. You should be able to work out if this is the case by turning the timer dial. If the dryer starts without you pressing the start button, this button is stuck and will need to be replaced.

ANother alternative is that the switch mechanism is broken. This would have the same effect as if the start button was stuck.