Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher is broken isn’t a good way to start your day, especially if you have to deal with the cost of calling out a professional and staying home to let them in just to pinpoint the issue.

Luckily it’s very feasible to determine and even fix many machine problems alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you are able to find a multimeter.

You may find you can resolve the fault quite easily by yourself, especially if you are good at DIY, and if not at worst you will be better placed to describe the problem when you do have to call a repair person.

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of considering a new dishwasher there are a number of simple issues you can troubleshoot without too much issue.

Safety Warning: Always make sure your machine is unplugged before testing or replacing any electrical components.

Common Dishwasher Faults That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of checking your dishwasher for faults ensure that your machine hasn’t been switched off, plus that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

This is also a good time to see if the child lock hasn’t been activated and try resetting your machine.

You will often need the user guide for this as models vary however the child lock is usually fairly easy to put on accidentally. Likewise, the machine may have lights but will not start, in this case the solution might be as easy as resetting the program.

Once you have ruled out these problems it’s time for the real detective work to begin.

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

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

Checking the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to start if these are not working for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want to be able to inadvertently run the dishwasher with the door open.

A broken switch will stop your dishwasher from starting and completing a cycle. You can check the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally situated behind the front door panel or control panel.

Double check you have disconnected power to the dishwasher before removing the door panel as well as testing for continuity to ensure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

If the door latch and door latch switch, are working as they should the next component to check is the timer or electronic control.

This is the part of the machine that distributes electricity to all the other parts the machine needs to run such as the pumps, and the valves.

If your machine has an electronic control rather than a mechanical timer then it may need to be checked while connected, in which case you should call a repair person.

Testing the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the cycle , it’s style and location will vary contingent on the make as well as the model of your dishwasher. A not working selector switch or one that has got stuck could result in the dishwasher not to run.

You should be able to visually check to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might have to unplug the machine and access the control panel to check the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative part that may cause your dishwasher not to run, and this may be the fault if you have checked the control panel and have ascertained that there should be power going to the main pump.

To investigate this you need to gain access to the motor as well as find the relay that will usually be located next to the motor. This could then be taken out plus checked with the help of a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

If you have investigated all the above and are still looking for the problem the next part to test would be the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is designed to protect the control board.

If you will need to replace it in order to restore power to the control board.

Testing the Drive Motor

The final component you can check that could prevent your dishwasher from operating is the drive motor. This is the component that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

If you have checked the other electrical components but still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the cause of the problem especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually access the motor by taking off the lower access panel. Test it using a multimeter and replace if not working.

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 professional.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you could well be able to sort out the problem without assistance. However if you are unsure it’s always better to call in the professionals.

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

More Dishwasher Problems:

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