How To Reset Dryer Timer

How To Reset Dryer Timer

You likely don’t give your dryer timer too much thought until your dryer starts acting up or running constantly. Then, you might find yourself frantically opening the dryer door, pushing random buttons, or pulling the plug to get your dryer to stop. But if your dryer won’t start or is running a never-ending cycle, it could be a timer issue.

Your dryer timer tells your dryer how long to run a cycle, so your dryer shuts off when the cycle’s complete. But if it experiences a problem, your dryer might not start, or the cycle won’t advance, causing your dryer to keep running. Depending on your dryer model, you can usually reset the dryer timer by pushing a button or unplugging the dryer.

In some cases, although not overly common, the timer could be faulty or damaged. You can test it to know for sure before getting a replacement, or you can always call a service technician.

What Does A Dryer Timer Do?

Quite simply, a dryer timer keeps tabs during the drying cycle, based on the selected setting. Typically, a knob on the dryer’s control option provides options for various cycles or timed drying modes. Each cycle runs for a certain amount of time, and when the timer reaches a designated point, it shuts off the dryer.


The timer has a motor that operates it, and within the timer are various mechanisms that open and close contacts during a cycle. This process is also what operates many other parts of the dryer, including the heating element.

For this reason, if your dryer isn’t heating, it could possibly be a timer issue. Likewise, the contacts also influence the drive motor, so if your dryer isn’t starting, it could be the timer.

Assuming all other elements are in good working order, if you’re experiencing issues, you can try resetting the dryer timer first.

How Do You Reset A Dryer Timer?

Resetting a dryer timer isn’t super difficult. Many models feature a reset button on the control panel, while with others, you simply unplug, wait, and plug back in.

Most Maytags and Whirlpool machines don’t feature a reset button, so you would reset by unplugging. The same holds true for Samsung dryers. The Whirlpool Duet dryer can be reset by holding down the start button for five seconds.

Other popular dryer brands, like GE, LG, and Kenmore, also vary by model, whether you can push a button or have to unplug. If you are unsure whether your specific dryer model has a reset button, check the manual.

In some cases, the start button doubles as the reset button, or you may have to push and hold two certain buttons at once. If you don’t have your dryer’s manual, you can typically download it from the manufacturer’s website.

Does Your Dryer Have A Reset Button?

If your dryer has a reset button, before pressing it, let your dryer cool down. Typically, many dryers feature a shutoff that automatically turns off the dryer when the air inside reaches a specific temperature. So, if the shutoff is registering a high temp, the reset won’t work; so, let the dryer cool for about 10 minutes.

What If Your Dryer Doesn’t Have A Reset Button?

If your dryer does not have a reset button, it’s time to unplug. Wait for at least 30 minutes before plugging the dryer back in and starting a new cycle.

You can also go a step further and shut your dryer down at the circuit breaker. Regardless, wait for the allotted time for things to clear and cool before turning everything back on.

Again, if all of your dryer’s parts, like the motor, electrical system, etc., are working correctly, the reset should do the trick.

How To Test A Dryer Timer Motor

If resetting the dryer timer doesn’t fix the problem, there could be many issues at play. Although a broken timer motor doesn’t happen often, it could be a faulty contact. Before troubleshooting other dryer components, test the timer motor first.


Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Towel
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Multimeter

1. Kill The Power

Image source: ToonyStark

Disconnect the dryer from the power supply, either by unplugging it or turning off the circuit breaker.

2. Remove The Control Panel

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Place a towel on the top of your dryer to prevent scratches as you work. Familiarize yourself with your dryer timer’s location on the control panel. It’s usually a dial with various settings like “Timed Dry,” “Delicate Dry,” “Normal Dry,” or different numbers.

Next, locate the screws keeping the control panel in place. Remove the screws with a screwdriver and set them aside in a safe place. Carefully lift off the control panel and rest it face down on the towel.

3. Remove One Power Lead From The Timer Motor

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Examine the timer motor, specifically the different wires that connect to it. Various models have different configurations of wires, but you can identify the ones powering the motor by their size. Typically, the wires that power the timer will be a little larger than the surrounding wires.

Using a pair of needle nose pliers, disconnect one of the power leads from the terminal by gently pulling on the connector. Note: Do not disconnect the lead by pulling on the wire.

4. Test The Timer Motor

Image source: BanksPhotos

Raise the dryer’s control panel to access the timer dial and set it to “Normal Dry.” Make sure you set the multimeter to read ohms. Touch one probe to the motor terminal where you disconnected the power lead.

Then, touch the other probe to another terminal. The goal is a reading of zero. If you get a higher reading, the timer motor is bad, and you will need to get a replacement.

How To Replace A Dryer Timer

If, upon testing, you discover that the issue is indeed a bad timer, you need to replace it. You can call a professional service technician to handle the job or attempt a DIY replacement.

If you decide to replace the timer yourself, follow these steps.

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • ¼-inch nut driver
  • Screwdriver
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Camera or marker
  • New dryer timer

Step One: Kill The Power

Once again, ensure you kill the power to the dryer by unplugging or flipping the circuit breaker. If you have a gas dryer, also make sure to turn off the gas.

Step Two: Remover The Timer Dial And Back Panel

Locate the timer dial on the front of your dryer’s control panel. Simply pull it straight off of the shaft and set it aside.

Next, slide your dryer forward enough so you can access the back. Using a ¼” nut driver, remove the back panel from the dryer. Set the panel and the screws aside in a safe place.

Step Three: Disconnect And Remove The Timer

It’s time to disconnect the timer, but before you do, take a picture. This picture will prove valuable later when you reconnect the new timer. If you aren’t able to take a picture, carefully study the locations of the wires and label them.

Disconnect the wires from the back of the timer, making sure to pull on the connectors and not the wires. You might be able to do this by hand; otherwise, use needle nose pliers to get a good grip.

Use a screwdriver to remove the screws securing the timer in place (keep the screws in case the new timer does not include any).  Finally, pull the timer out of position and discard it.

Step Four: Install The New Timer

Basically, you’ll follow the above steps in reverse to install the timer. Position the timer and secure it with mounting screws. Then, reconnect the wires according to your picture and notes.

It is imperative to attach the wires correctly, or you could damage the timer. So, if you get confused and aren’t sure about how to reconnect them, stop.  Call a technician to finish the job.

Once the new timer is installed, secure the back panel into place with the screws. Place the dryer timer dial on the stem on the control panel and return power to the dryer. If you had turned off the gas, don’t forget to turn it back on.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a dryer timer cost?

On average, a dryer timer costs about $50 to $125, depending on the make and model of your dryer. You can purchase replacement dryer parts at home improvement stores, appliance part stores, and online.

How much does it cost for a professional to repair your dryer timer?

If you opt to call a professional to repair your dryer timer, expect to pay between $150 to $300 for parts and labor. The price variation primarily depends on the cost of the required timer. Before you spend $300 for a new timer, consider the 50% rule.

You shouldn’t pay more than 50% of the cost of a new dryer on a repair. So, if you plan to get a new dryer for about $500, don’t spend $300 on a timer replacement. However, replacing the timer makes sense if your current dryer is a $2,000 relatively new appliance.

Can you bypass the timer on a dryer?

It is not recommended to use the dryer with the timer bypassed; it can further damage the dryer and cause fires. You should only attempt a timer bypass for testing purposes, then remove the bypass and replace the timer.