Kenmore Elite Dryer Issues: How To Troubleshoot

Fred's Appliance
April 9, 2024
Dryer Repair

Kenmore Elite dryers are available in both gas and electric and are part of Kenmore’s range of reliable, energy-efficient dryers. No dryer is immune to issues, however, and even Kenmore’s Elite range can suffer from performance problems. In this article, we break down the most common dryer issues and how to troubleshoot them. 

Dryer Not Heating

One of the most common, and not to mention most frustrating issues you can encounter with a Kenmore Elite dryer is the dryer not heating. This is usually due to a malfunction with the heating element, but could also be due to a problem with the thermal fuse, or even the thermostat. Here’s how to find the source of the problem:

  • Check the power: Make sure the dryer is properly plugged in and that the power outlet is operational. 
  • Check the thermal fuse: Check if the thermal fuse has blown, and if it has, replace it. 
  • Check the heating element: Use a multimeter to check if the heating element has continuity – if it’s faulty, it will need replacing. 
  • Check the thermostats: Test your thermostats with a multimeter to ensure they’re functioning, and replace them if necessary. 
  • Inspect gas valve and igniter: For gas models, ensure the gas supply, valve, and igniter are all functional. 

Dryer Overheating

Overheating is another common dryer issue, and this one can actually be dangerous! A dryer that’s too hot is a fire hazard because it can ignite clothing or lint. It can also cause your clothes to shrink or wear out faster, as well as using excess electricity, costing you more on your power bill. Here’s what to do if you think your dryer is running too hot:

  • Clean the lint filter and vent: A blocked lint filter/vent can prevent hot air from escaping your Kenmore Elite dryer during the drying cycle, leading to overheating in the drum. 
  • Inspect the thermostat: A faulty thermostat can mean that your heating element never turns off, leading to excessive temperatures. 
  • Inspect the heating element: A short in the heating element can lead to overheating
  • Check the timer: If your timer is faulty and your dryer is running for too long, this can lead to overheating. 

Noise/Vibration Issues

Excessive noise and vibration from your dryer are annoying, and it can also be a sign of a more serious problem. Continued vibration can cause wear and tear to your dryer’s parts and cause it to stop working sooner than it should. Addressing these issues as soon as they start can help ensure your Kenmore Elite dryer’s longevity, as well as ensuring it performs optimally. Here’s what you need to look at:

  • Balance the load: Unbalanced loads that clump together can cause the dryer to vibrate, or even make thumping noises. 
  • Check the drum rollers: A dryer drum runs on rollers, and if they become worn this can lead to a loud rumbling noise while your dryer operates. If this is the case, they’ll need replacing. 
  • Check the idler pulley: The pulley provides tension to the drive belt, allowing the drum to spin. If faulty, the belt may be too loose, leading to thumping. 
  • Check the drive belt: Over time, the drive belt can become stretched out, loose, and frayed. If your dryer’s drive belt appears old or damaged, it will need to be replaced. 
  • Make sure the dryer is level: If your dryer is not perfectly level, this can lead to thumping during the drying cycle. Use a level to ensure your dryer is sitting perfectly flat. 

Dryer Not Starting

Another issue that can occur with Kenmore Elite dryers is that they don’t start at all! While this is frustrating, it’s not uncommon. This can be due to a power issue, or something related to the control board and electronics. Here’s how to figure out what’s causing it:

  • Check the power outlet: Make sure the dryer is plugged in and that the outlet is functional. If necessary, plug another device into the outlet to test it. 
  • Check the circuit breaker: If the circuit breaker controlling the dryer has tripped, your dryer won’t function. Check the circuit board and reset the circuit breaker corresponding to the dryer. 
  • Check the door switch: Your dryer won’t work if the door isn’t closed properly, so inspect the door switch. It may have something blocking it, or it may be faulty. Either clear the switch or replace the switch assembly to fix the issue. 
  • Check the start switch: If the keypad is faulty, your dryer won’t be able to start. Check whether any of the keys are responding, and test the keypad with a multimeter to ensure it’s operational.

Dryer Drum Not Turning

If you turn on your Kenmore Elite dryer and you can feel hot air blowing, but there is no tumbling action, there’s an issue with the dryer drum. This is usually related to the drive belt, but it can also be due to issues with the bearings or idler pulley. Here’s what to do:

  • Inspect the drive belt: The most common issue related to a dryer drum that isn’t turning is a worn-out drive belt. Due to constant pressure, over time a drive belt can become stretched, frayed, or even snap completely. This is most likely in older models but can happen with dryers of any age. To fix this, order a replacement belt and switch out the old one. 
  • Replace the drum rollers: The drum rollers ensure the drum can spin smoothly. If they wear out, it can cause uneven tumbling and even cause the drum to get stuck. If they appear worn, replace them. 
  • Check the idler pulley: If the idler pulley is faulty, the drive belt may become too loose, meaning it is unable to spin the drum. Check and tighten this if necessary.
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