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Kenmore Elite Dryer Not Starting: How to Fix? (Answered)

The Kenmore Elite dryer machines are popular household appliances. Although a reliable device, users often report problems and seek solutions to fix them. One such issue is that the dryer does not start for various reasons.

Reasons and solution for Kenmore elite dryer not starting

Several reasons can prevent the Kenmore Elite drying machine from working. Some causes include a blown thermal fuse, a defective start switch, and a faulty door switch. Moreover, clogged dryer vents and slackening of the belt connected to the drum can also cause the dryer machine not to start.

Kenmore dryer machines are famous among most users because these machines are reliable and energy efficient. Additionally, the Kenmore Elite series dryers come with a sensor that can detect when the load is dry and automatically shut down to save electricity. 

Among the series, the Kenmore Elite HE3, Kenmore Elite HE4, and the Kenmore Elite HE5 are the most popular, followed by the Kenmore Elite Gas Dryer and the Kenmore Elite Oasis St Dryer.

You might rarely hear Kenmore Elite buyers complaining about any issues because these machines run into problems infrequently. However, some problems are regular among the numerous users of these products. Here are some you may face and possible solutions.

Blown thermal fuse:

The purpose of the thermal fuse is to prevent the dryer machine from overheating. Overheating can lead to fatal disasters such as house fires. The thermal fuse is inside the blower housing or the dryer’s heat source. 

In electrical drying machines, you will have the electrical heating element and burner in the gas dryers. When the temperature rises above a certain level, the thermal fuse blows, and the current to the heat source stops to avoid reaching too high temperatures. 

If the thermal fuse has blown, you will not be able to use the dryer machine because it will not start until you replace it with a new one.


Replacing a blown thermal fuse is the only way to restore the electric connection with the heat source. Therefore, you must buy a replacement and install the thermal fuse. 

Before doing so, turn off the circuit breaker to stay safe from electrical hazards. Thermal fuses do not blow up often, so you will not need to buy more as backups. After installing, check if current flows through the thermal fuse using a multimeter.

Defective start switch:

The start switch is the button you press to start the drying cycle. Two ways you can check if the start switch is at fault. The first method involves turning on the machine and pressing the start switch. 

If you hear a noise but it does not start, the start switch is alright. However, if it remains unresponsive after pressing the start switch, the start switch is defective. Another way you can check is by using a multimeter. 

If you see no continuity, the start switch needs a replacement.


You cannot fix a defective start switch. You will have to replace the start switch to continue using your machine. To do this, you must purchase a replacement and install the start switch. Also, do not forget to turn off the breaker for safety purposes. 

After you have replaced the start switch, turn on the breaker and check for continuity using a multimeter.

Faulty door switch:

The door switch is like a sensor that activates when you close the door of the dryer machine. Most dryers make a snapping sound during door switch activation. 

If you want to check the status of the door switch, close the door and pay attention to any sound you hear. If you hear a clunk, the door switch is probably working. Otherwise, the door switch is faulty. 

Also, you can check the door switch for continuity to better determine if it is defective. A problematic door switch will not allow the machine to start working since it will send a false signal that the door is open. 


Replacing the faulty door switch is the only way to use your dryer again. Before starting, turn the circuit breaker off for your safety. After you have replaced the door switch, turn on the circuit breaker and look for continuity. 

If the machine still does not work, try restarting the device by unplugging and plugging the power cord.

Clogged dryer vents:

Dryer machines rely on clear working dryer vents to release the moist hot air. Clogged dryer vents will not allow the hot air to escape. It will be trapped inside the machine and cause it to reach dangerously high temperatures. 

Too high a temperature can lead to house fires and electrical hazards. Moreover, the hotness will cause the thermal fuse to blow, and the machine will no longer start. Then, you will have multiple issues to fix.


To unclog a dryer vent, clean it. Most dryer vents have a lint filter that catches lint and other materials. Clean the filters. Moreover, ensure that the dryer vent has no obstruction in front of the opening. 

Any obstacle will hamper the airflow, resulting in ineffective heat dissipation.

These are the major causes that can prevent your dryer from starting. We have also listed the solutions if you wish to fix the issues yourself.

How do I know if my Kenmore elite dryer start switch is bad?

The start switch of a dryer machine has a single purpose for starting the drying cycle. If the start switch is flawed, you will no longer be able to start it and dry your clothes. To fix this issue, you will have to replace the start switch with a new one.

If you want to check the start switch for any fault, remove it from the dryer machine. Before proceeding with the troubleshooting process, turn off the circuit breaker or power outlet to ensure your safety. 

Then, unscrew the screws holding the lid at the top, and you will find the start switch.

After removing the start switch from the dryer machine, use an analog or digital multimeter to check for continuity. If you do not see continuity, the start switch is defective, and you will need to replace it.

How much does it cost to replace a dryer switch?

The cost depends on where you live and the model of your dryer machine. Also, there are two types of switches in a dryer, the door switch, and the start switch. So, try figuring out which one you wish to replace and understand the costs.

The cost of replacing a door switch is $50-150. If you wish to do it yourself, you will save some significant money, but it is advisable to ask a professional to do it for you. An experienced technician will be able to do it more safely.

On the other hand, the cost of replacing the start switch will cost you approximately $20 to $50. If the parts are available in your area, you will get cheaper deals, and you can also save some money by replacing them yourself. But it is better to ask a certified technician to do it for you.

How to bypass a Kenmore elite dryer start switch?

If you want a temporary alternative to replacing the start switch, you can bypass it. Here are the steps you can follow to do it yourself.

Turn off the circuit breaker or power outlet of the dryer:

Turn off the circuit breaker or the power outlet for safety purposes. You do not want to feel an electric shock while working. Additionally, wear rubber or plastic gloves if available.

Open the control panel lid:

Unscrew the screws holding the control panel lid. You may also see some latches holding it down. After opening the control panel lid, you will come across some wires of different colors.

Bypass the start switch:

You will see a light blue wire and a white wire. Connect these two and tape these with the black wire. Doing this will bypass the start switch of the dryer machine.

Put the control panel lid back on:

After that, put the control panel lid back on and screw the screws securely.

Although you have successfully bypassed the start switch of the dryer machine, it is a temporary solution. The dryer will start as soon as you start the timer. The only way to stop it would be to turn off the power outlet or turn the timer knob off.

Final Thoughts

The Kenmore Elite drying machine may not start for several reasons. A blown thermal fuse, a broken start or door switch, and a clogged dryer vent are a few possible causes. Also, the dryer machine may fail to start due to a loose drum drive belt. The fixes are easy, and you can do it yourself.