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Clothes Dryer Doesn’t Advance Properly

A clothes dryer’s timer is designed to advance from one setting to the next when the heat in the tumbler has reached a certain level for a given period of time. If yours doesn’t, or if the dryer cycles properly when you advance the timer control by hand, it is likely that the timer is broken and needs replacement.

dryer control doesn't advance

Study how your dryer’s timer and controls are fastened to the dryer.

Some mechanical dryer timers have a small electric motor in them; this is the part that usually goes bad. The best solution is to replace the entire timer, which you can order online by model number. Be sure to disconnect the electrical power to the dryer and turn off the gas (if it is a gas dryer) before doing any work on it.

Study how the control panel is attached to the dryer; if possible, refer to your owner’s manual. The control panel may be screwed to the top of the dryer—you can usually remove it by simply unscrewing the attachment screws. To open it, you may have to remove a few control knobs. Don’t remove the defective timer until you have the new one. Then, remove the wires from the old timer and attach them to the new timer. Be sure to follow the directions on the new timer package in case the design of the new timer varies slightly from the old one.

If the timer does not seem to advance the dryer even when you cycle it by hand, it is more likely that something is preventing the dryer from heating properly. If the dryer is not heating as it should, the timer will not advance automatically. In this case, you need to look at the root causes of improper heating; see Dryer Does Not Heat Properly.
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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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