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Roper by Whirlpool Dryer runs but heating element only works sporadically.

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Trying to help a friend whose dryer is not heating properly. They say they have taken every part to the local appliance store and had them checked and all were fine… I began by testing for continuity in the fuses and in the heating element. As best I can tell, all are functioning ok. I did show low resistance on the element but it does work in certain situations so I want to think it is ok. Once everything was put together, I turned it to “timed dry” (high heat) and saw the element begin to glow right away. When I turned the knob to “automatic” or a low heat cycle, the element never came on. Even on “timed dry” I sometimes had to turn the knob to off then counterclockwise back to 20 min. or so to get the element to come on again. On one occasion, the element was on and I just barely touched the timer knob and the element shut off. I have been told it is rare for a timer switch to go bad so I need another opinion before telling my friends to drop $67.99 on a part I am not sure is the problem. Is there any way to test the timer? BTW, I am only a novice with basic to medium electrical skills. Thanks for any advice you may offer.

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