Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken isn’t a good way to start your day, particularly if you are also faced with the cost of calling out a repair person plus staying home to let them in just to pinpoint the issue.

Fortunately it’s possible to pinpoint and often resolve a number of dishwasher problems alone without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to are able to find a multimeter.

You may realize you are able to resolve the issue quite easily yourself, especially if you are good at DIY, and if you can’t at least you will have a better idea of the fault when you do have to call a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you start considering a new machine there are a few common issues you should be able to troubleshoot fairly easily.

Safety Warning: Never attempt repairs while your machine is plugged in.

Routine Dishwasher Issues That Will Prevent Your Machine From Turning On

Before you begin going through the following list of potential problems ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been switched off, as well as that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

This is also an opportune moment to check if the child lock isn’t on as well as try resetting your dishwasher.

You will often need the manual to do this as machines vary but the child lock is usually quite simple to put on inadvertently. Similarly, if the dishwasher has lights but will not start, the solution might be as easy as resetting the program.

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

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

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

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first thing to test is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to start if these are not working for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want to be able to inadvertently run the machine with the door open.

A faulty switch will stop your dishwasher from starting and completing a cycle. You may wish to check the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be located under the front door panel or control panel.

Double check you have disconnected power to the dishwasher before taking off the door panel plus testing for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

If you discover the latches or switches are broken you will need to replace them.

Testing the Timer

If you have tested your door latch plus door latch switch and discovered they are operating as they should the next thing to check is the timer or electronic control.

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

If your dishwasher has an electronic control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it could have to be tested while connected, in which case you should call a repair man.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that selects the cycle and will vary depending on the make as well as the model of your machine. A not working selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down might cause the machine not to run.

You should be able to visually check to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you could need to disconnect the dishwasher and have a look at the control panel to test the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative part that may cause your machine not to start, so this may be the problem if you have tested the control panel and thus have ascertained that there is power going to the motor.

To check if this is the case you need to gain access to the motor and find the relay that should be mounted next to it. This can then be removed plus checked with a multimeter and you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

When you have tested all the above yet still haven’t found the issue the next part of the dishwasher 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 to restore power to the control board.

Examining the Drive Motor

The final part of the machine you can test that could stop your machine from operating is the drive motor. This is the component that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

When you have checked the other components and still haven’t discovered the issue this may be the issue especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You should be able to gain access to the motor by removing the lower access panel. Check it using a multimeter then replace if not working.

When to Contact an Engineer

If you don’t have a multimeter or are not confident in taking panels off your dishwasher and checking the electrical components then you will need to call a professional sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to undertake the above checks then you may well be able to fix the fault without assistance. But if you are not sure it’s always better to call in the professionals.

Don’t forget to have a look at your warranty plus your home cover as dishwasher repairs might be included meaning the costs could not be as high as you think.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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