What to Do When Your Kenmore Dryer Won’t Start

Fleet Appliance
April 9, 2024
Dryer Repair

It’s always frustrating when an appliance won’t start, but even more frustrating when you have a load of wet laundry and no way to dry it! If your Kenmore dryer won’t start, this usually points to a power or control board issue, but there may also be other causes. Here, we break down the most common causes and solutions for a Kenmore dryer that won’t start. 

This guide covers all popular Kenmore dryer models, including:

















Check the Power Source

If your Kenmore dryer won’t start, the first place to check should be the power source. Inspect the outlet, making sure the plug isn’t loose and the power cord isn’t damaged. Try plugging a different device into the outlet to confirm that the outlet itself is functional. If your dryer uses a GFCI outlet (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter), press the reset button on the outlet to restore power. 

Check Your Electrical Panel

If everything is fine at the outlet, your next move should be to check your home’s electrical panel. If you’re not sure where this is located in your home, they’re usually in the basement, hallway, or garage. 

Inspect the panel for a tripped circuit breaker. If you’re not sure which breaker corresponds to your dryer, look for a breaker that is in a different position from the others. Flip the breaker back to the “on” position then return to your dryer and test if this has fixed the problem. 

Note: If you notice your dryer is frequently tripping the circuit breaker, this could indicate a more serious electrical problem. Check that there aren’t too many appliances plugged into the same circuit, or consult an electrician to get to the root of your problem. 

Try a Reset

If you’ve ruled out any electrical issues, try resetting your Kenmore dryer. If your dryer has experienced a technical glitch or power surge, it can freeze, meaning you won’t be able to start it. Here’s how to reset your dryer:

  • Unplug the dryer or trip the circuit breaker.
  • Leave your dryer disconnected from the power for at least two minutes.
  • Restore power to your dryer.
  • Test to see if the dryer starts. If not, move on to the next step in this guide. 

Check the Door Switch

The door switches on Kenmore dryers are designed to prevent the dryer from running while the door is open. If your door is not closed properly or if the door switch is faulty, it may prevent the dryer from starting. If this is your issue, you might notice the door doesn’t make its usual clicking sound when you close it. You might also find the display works as normal, but you can’t get the dryer to start. Here’s what to do:

  • Disconnect the dryer from its power source. 
  • Find the door switch. This is located on the front of the dryer, where the door meets the frame. Refer to your Kenmore manual for the exact location of your model. 
  • Use a multimeter to test if your door switch has continuity. No continuity means it’s faulty and will need replacing. 
  • Source a replacement door switch that is compatible with your model of dryer. 
  • Remove the old switch. Unscrew any screws, undo any clips, and disconnect the wiring. Take note of how it goes together to help you when installing the new switch. 
  • Install the new switch, ensuring all parts are properly connected. 
  • Restore power to your dryer and test to see if the dryer will now start. 

Check the Thermal Fuse

Another issue that can prevent a dryer from starting is a faulty thermal fuse. The thermal fuse is a safety device that cuts power to the dryer’s motor if it begins to overheat. If this fuse has blown, you may have noticed your dryer stopping abruptly during a drying cycle, preceded by a smell of burning. Your dryer may also still tumble, but not produce any heat. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Disconnect your dryer from the power. 
  • Access the thermal fuse. In most models, you’ll need to remove the back panel of your dryer to gain access. 
  • Test the fuse for continuity with your multimeter. No continuity means the fuse is blown and needs replacing. 
  • Purchase a compatible replacement fuse. 
  • Disconnect the faulty fuse, taking note of how it’s placed so that you can accurately install the new one. 
  • Put the new fuse in place.
  • Put your dryer back together and restore power. 
  • Run a test cycle to ensure your dryer is functioning properly once again. 

Inspect the Control Board

If none of the above solutions work, there might be an issue with the control board of your Kenmore dryer. The control board can be thought of as the dryer’s “brain”—it controls all the commands and functions of the dryer. If the control board is damaged or faulty, the dryer may not be able to start. You also might find that the controls are not responding when you press the touchpad, and it may have no lights or power at all. 

It can be difficult to diagnose exactly where an issue lies with the control board, so if you suspect it is faulty you will need to replace the entire thing. This is a complicated piece of electrical work, so if you don’t feel confident, we highly recommend hiring a professional.

To replace:

  • Purchase a replacement control board from an online appliance retailer.
  • Cut power to your Kenmore dryer.
  • Locate the control board—in most cases, you will need to remove the control panel.
  • Remove the faulty control board, taking note of the wiring connections. 
  • Put the new control board in its place.
  • Replace the control panel.
  • Restore power to the dryer and run a test cycle to confirm it is functioning.

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