Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher has stopped working isn’t a good way to start your day, especially if you are also faced with the expense of phoning a professional plus taking time off work to let them in just to determine the problem.

The good news is it’s possible to pinpoint and often resolve many dishwasher faults alone without needing to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to have a multimeter.

You might find you can resolve the problem quite easily yourself, particularly if you are good at DIY, and if you can’t at worst you will be better placed to describe the issue when you eventually do phone a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

In advance of looking for a new machine there are a few simple problems you can identify without too much issue.

Safety Warning: Always make sure your dishwasher is unplugged before attempting repairs.

Routine Dishwasher Problems That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of going through the following list of possible faults ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been inadvertently switched off, and that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

At this point you can also check that the child lock hasn’t been activated plus try resetting your machine.

You will most likely require the manual for this as machines vary but the child lock is usually fairly simple to activate accidentally. Similarly, the dishwasher could have power but will not start, in this case the solution might be as simple as resetting the cycle.

Once you have eliminated these issues you can start the real troubleshooting.

    1. Have a look at the door latch or door latch switch.
    2. Check the timer.
    3. Test the selector switch.
    4. Examine the motor relay.
    5. Test the thermal fuse.
    6. Check the drive motor.

To test these parts you will have to have a multimeter, or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter) to measure the resistance plus check the components are operating as they should.

Checking the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The initial thing to test is the door latches and door latch switches. Your dishwasher is designed not to start if the door latches are broken for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want run the dishwasher without meaning to with the door open.

A faulty switch will prevent your dishwasher from turning on plus running. You can test the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally found under the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure the machine is disconnected before taking off the door panel plus testing for continuity to ensure you do not get an electric shock.

If you discover the latches or switches are faulty you will need a replacement door latch assembly.

Checking the Timer

If your latch mechanism is working as it should the next component to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the component that sends electricity to all the different parts the machine requires to operate including the motor, and the water inlet valve.

If your machine is controlled electronically rather than mechanically then it could have to be checked while live, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the part of the dishwasher that chooses the cycle , it’s style and location will vary contingent on the make or model of your machine. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down could cause the dishwasher not to run.

You can usually see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you could need to unplug the machine in order to have a look at the control panel to test the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that may cause your dishwasher not to run, and this may be the problem if you have checked the control panel and thus have discovered that there should be power running to the main pump.

To check if this is the case you need to find the motor plus find the relay that should be located next to the motor. This could then be removed as well as checked using a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have checked the above issues yet still haven’t found the fault the next component to investigate would be the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

If you locate the fuse and discover it is blown it will need to be replaced in order for the control board to get power.

Checking the Drive Motor

The final component you should be able to investigate that could prevent your dishwasher from running is the drive motor. This is the component that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

When you have tested the other electrical components but still aren’t getting anywhere this may be the issue particularly if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually access the motor by removing the lower access panel. Check it using a multimeter and replace if faulty.

When to Get in Touch With an Engineer

Not everyone has a multimeter, or would know how to use one even if they do, in which case you will need to call a repair person.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you might well be able to resolve the problem without assistance. However if you are unsure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

And have a look at your insurance plus your home cover as dishwasher repairs might be included and so the costs may be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

  • Dishwasher Being Loud
  • Dishwasher Leaking
  • Dishwasher Not Draining
  • Dishwasher Not Drying
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