Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the highlight your day, especially if you have to deal with the cost of calling out an engineer as well as taking time off work to let them in just to determine the problem.

The good news is it’s possible to pinpoint and often sort out many machine faults alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to own a multimeter.

You might find you can fix the issue quite easily yourself, particularly if you are quite handy, and if not at worst you will be better placed to describe the fault when you do have to call a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

In advance of considering a replacement dishwasher there are a number of common issues you can identify without too much trouble.

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

Common Dishwasher Faults That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of investigating your machine for faults make sure that it hasn’t been unplugged, and that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

At this point you may wish to also check that the child lock isn’t on and try resetting your machine.

You will most likely need the manual to do this as models are all different but the child lock tends to be quite easy to activate without meaning to. Similarly, if the machine has lights but will not start, the solution may be as simple as resetting the cycle.

Once you have ruled out these faults you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

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

Checking the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first thing to check is the door latches and door latch switches. Your machine is not designed to run if the door latches are broken for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want to be able to accidentally run the dishwasher with the door open.

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

Double check the machine is unplugged prior to removing the door panel plus checking 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 the door latch as well as door latch switch, are working as they should the next component to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the part of the machine that distributes electricity to all the other parts the machine requires to operate including the pumps, plus the valves.

If your dishwasher has an electric control rather than a mechanical timer then it may need to be checked while live, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Testing the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the program , it’s style and location will vary contingent on the make or model of your dishwasher. A faulty selector switch or even one that has not been fully depressed might cause the dishwasher not to start.

You can usually visually investigate to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you may need to unplug the machine in order to have a look at the control panel to check the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative part that can result in your dishwasher not running, so this might be the issue if you have checked the control panel and thus have discovered that there should be power running to the motor.

To check if this is the case you need to find the motor as well as locate the relay that will usually be mounted next to it. This can then be taken out plus checked with a multimeter and it might have to be replaced.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have tested all the above yet still haven’t found the fault the next part to check is the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is there to protect the control board.

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

Examining the Drive Motor

The final component you can investigate that might stop your dishwasher from working is the drive motor. This is the component that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

Once you have checked the other components yet still aren’t getting anywhere 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 by using a multimeter then replace if broken.

When to Contact a Professional

If you don’t have a multimeter and are not confident in taking panels off your dishwasher and checking the components then you will be better off calling a repair person sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you may well be able to resolve the issue without assistance. But if you are unsure 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 may be included meaning the costs might not be as high as you think.

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