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If your dryer only runs for a few minutes before stopping, something is amiss—and your laundry is accumulating! Fortunately, there are only a handful of possible causes for this particular problem. Whether it demands a thorough cleaning, a new part, or the attention of an expert, let's find out what could be causing your dryer to keep shutting off.


Dryers have to vent the hot air they generate. If that hot air can't escape because of a blocked vent tube or exterior damper (think of several years' worth of lint building up), the dryer's thermal overload switch will activate to prevent a potential fire hazard. Depending on its location, you may be able to clean out the vent tubing—although you may need a specialized tool to reach. If clearing the vent doesn't solve the problem, something else may be tripping the thermal overload switch, or the switch itself may be damaged.


If your dryer motor starts to show signs of wear and tear, it may get hotter than usual during the drying cycle. This, again, may trip the thermal overload switch. Although the motor may restart once it has cooled down, the problem is only likely to worsen over time. A new dryer motor may be required.


Your dryer will not work when the door is not firmly closed. If your dryer keeps shutting off in the middle of a cycle, it could be that the motion of the laundry is popping the door open. Whether it's the door catch or the door strike (or both), replacing this small part is usually a fairly straightforward DIY fix. If it's the door switch instead (which detects whether or not the door is closed), a little electrical expertise may be required.


If your dryer is able to automatically detect when laundry is dry, it is equipped with a moisture sensor. It's a convenient feature—but it also adds another potential cause for a dryer that turns off after a few minutes. If the sensor is defective or dirty, it may fail to detect moisture and inadvertently tell the dryer to shut off when the laundry is still wet.


With the exception of clearing out lint filters and venting tubes, a little DIY expertise is required for most dryer issues. If your dryer runs for a few minutes then stops, you can self-diagnose the issue by referring to the user manual—or you can simply book an appointment with our local specialists. We're usually able to get the job done in the first visit.*

*GE Appliances technicians carry an extensive parts inventory on their service trucks. In the event a part is not available on the service truck, a follow-up service call may be required.
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