When a dryer won’t turn off unless the door is open, or if it keeps turning even though the door is open, it’s a sure sign that something isn’t functioning right with the machine. Clothes dryers are supposed to shut off when the door is opened. This is a safety feature to prevent overheating of the appliance and injury to the user.
If your dryer only shuts off when you open the door, unplug it immediately and begin troubleshooting to fix the issue using the information below. The remedy could be as simple as a faulty door switch or as complicated as a malfunctioning control board. Keep reading to diagnose the problem before attempting to use the appliance again.
The Dryer Won’t Stop Running Unless The Door Is Open
If your dryer won’t stop turning unless the door is open, the reason could be one of several causes. Don’t worry, though, as I will help you figure out what is causing the problem and tell you how to fix it. In most cases, you should be able to repair the issue yourself without the need for professional assistance. If, however, you are not comfortable troubleshooting or repairing the issue yourself, don’t hesitate to call a trained professional to fix it for you.
Some of the most common reasons a dryer won’t shut off at all or won’t stop running unless the door is open include an enabled anti-wrinkle feature, a faulty door switch, a broken timer, a malfunctioning thermostat, a stuck start button, a shorted motor relay, or a bad control board.
Fix A Dryer That Wont Turn Off Automatically
I know all of this sounds a bit overwhelming, but in the paragraphs that follow, I’m going to dive deeper into each cause to help you diagnose and fix your issue. Again, you can make the repairs yourself relatively easily, so keep reading to find out how.
Some dryer brands like Samsung have an anti-wrinkling feature that makes the dryer keep turning after the drying cycle is finished to prevent wrinkles. If this feature is enabled, the drum will continue to turn for a few minutes, or it will tumble periodically after the drying cycle has finished keeping wrinkles at bay. If your dryer has this feature, disabling it may fix your dryer not turning off unless the door is an open issue.
Faulty Door Switch
If your dryer won’t turn off even when the door is open, it is an indication that the door switch is faulty. When the door switch is working correctly, it tells the dryer when the door is shut, and it is safe for the machine to turn on.
To test if the door switch is bad, open the dryer and use your finger to push the door switch. If the switch seems sticky or broken in any way, this is likely the issue. If the switch is dirty, all it needs is a good cleaning. If it is broken, you will need to replace it. Unplug the dryer and don’t use it again until you’ve fixed this issue.
Replacing a broken door switch is an easy fix. It is a simple mechanism with only a couple of wires to connect. If you have any electrical knowledge at all, you should be able to make this repair yourself – just don’t forget to unplug the appliance before you begin!
Broken Dryer Timer
Your dryer’s timer tells it when to shut off at the end of a cycle. If the timer is faulty, your dryer may fail to shut off unless you open the door. The bad news here is if your dryer is a newer model, you may not be able to replace the timer yourself as it is usually part of the appliance’s computer processor/circuit board, and you need to be a trained professional to repair it.
If your dryer is an older model, the timer might be a mechanical one that you can replace safely and easily yourself. Unfortunately, depending on how old your machine is, it might be difficult to find parts.
Replacing a dryer timer, especially one on a newer model, can be tricky if you don’t have prior training in the technology of it all. If your dryer is an older model, though, check with your local hardware store to see if they have the part you need to fix your dryer’s broken timer. If they don’t, try searching online for a reputable seller of dryer parts. Remember, the older your dryer, the harder it might be to find a timer to fix your issue.
Faulty Cycling Thermostat
Regardless of whether your dryer is electric or gas, it has thermostats that help regulate temperature and tell the appliance when to transition through a cycle. The cycling thermostat is somewhat difficult to diagnose as it requires the dryer to be running and the electrical components of the machine to be exposed. It is best to have a service tech conduct this diagnosis, as it does pose a safety hazard.
With that said, if you do decide to diagnose and repair a cycling thermostat, be sure to take the proper safety precautions. You will need to disconnect the power supply before removing the access panel on the back of the machine. Again, if you aren’t sure about replacing the cycling thermostat, call in a repair technician who can safely and effectively diagnose and repair the issue.
Start Button Stuck
A less common cause of a dryer that won’t turn off unless the door is open is a start button that gets stuck. When this happens, the dryer doesn’t send the signal to turn the machine off at the end of a cycle. The only way to get the dryer to stop turning is to open the door.
If you suspect this to be the problem, jostle the start button a little bit to see if it releases. If it doesn’t, you will need to replace it to get your dryer to shut off when it is supposed to.
Motor Relay Electrical Short
The motor relay (located on the control board) relays the signal to shut off the dryer from the control board. If the relay is stuck on or shorted out, the signal to stop running can’t be relayed, thus the machine won’t shut off until the door is opened. A shorted motor relay is probably the most common reason a dryer won’t shut off unless the door is open.
How To Replace Control Board
To find out if this is the issue, you will need to access the control board. To do so, follow these steps:
- Unplug the dryer from the power.
- Pull the dryer out from the wall so you can access the back of it.
- Remove the screws on the back of the control board panel.
- Tilt the control panel until you can see the control board.
- Find the motor relay – it is usually a black, rectangular box.
- Inspect the relay and control board for damage (black marks, burn marks, burnt pins, etc.)
If you find that the motor relay is faulty, you have two options: replace the relay itself or replace the entire control board. Replacing the motor relay itself is relatively easy if you know how to use a soldering iron to solder electrical components. If you don’t want to solder, replacing the entire control board is the best option since the new one comes with a new relay switch already installed.
If you decide to replace the motor relay yourself, follow the steps below.
- With the control board exposed or removed, use a soldering iron to heat the pins located on the back of the relay.
- As the solder melts, remove the faulty relay from the control board.
- Clean up the holes in the control board so that the new relay fits properly.
- Install the new relay in the holes on the control board.
- Solder the pins in place.
- Replace the control board and put everything back together. Plug the dryer in and test to see if the issue is resolved. If not, you will need to replace the control board.
Replacing a bad control board in a dryer is simple. Be sure you get the right replacement board for your machine by comparing model numbers and then follow the step-by-step instructions I listed above to replace the control board.
Is There a Reset Button on A Dryer
Many dryer brands have a reset button located on the control panel. If your dryer isn’t functioning properly (it won’t shut off automatically as it should), pressing this reset button may resolve the issue.
Start by unplugging the dryer and letting it cool down for 10 minutes or so. Once the machine has cooled, press the reset button. Provided there are no electrical or mechanical issues with the dryer, this should return the machine to proper functionality. If the appliance still won’t shut off unless the door is open, you will need to troubleshoot the other areas I’ve listed above.
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Verdict: The Dryer Won’t Stop Running
While it can be frustrating when a dryer won’t shut off automatically, the fix is usually a simple one. Usually, when a dryer won’t shut off, it is a shorted motor relay. Before you start tearing the back of your machine apart, though, be sure to check that its anti-wrinkle feature is turned off (if it has one) and that the door switch isn’t faulty because these are easy issues to fix. If neither of these is the problem, troubleshoot further to see if the timer, thermostat, motor relay, or control board are the cause and replace the part(s) as needed. As always, be safe and if you are uncomfortable making repairs of this nature, call a service technician to fix the issue.
Andy has over 8 years of experience working on residential household appliances, performing diagnostics, and repairs across most major brands. He graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology, is NASTeC certified, and has worked for Mr. Appliance. Andy has contributed to features on major publications including Better Home & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Yahoo.com.