Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the best part of your day, particularly if you have to deal with the expense of calling out a repair person plus staying home to let them in just to diagnose the problem.

Luckily it’s possible to diagnose and often resolve a number of machine problems alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to own a multimeter.

You might realize you are able to resolve the problem quite easily by yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at least you will have a better idea of the issue when you eventually do call an engineer.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you begin looking for a replacement machine there are a few possible issues you should be able to identify without too much trouble.

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

Common Dishwasher Faults That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of going through the following list of possible faults ensure that it hasn’t been inadvertently unplugged, and that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

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

You will most likely need the manual for this as machines vary however the child lock is often fairly easy to put on accidentally. Likewise, the dishwasher could have lights but will not run, in this case the solution might be as simple as resetting the cycle.

When you have eliminated these faults it’s time for the real troubleshooting to begin.

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

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

Examining the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to start if these are broken for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want to be able to accidentally start the machine with the door ajar.

A broken switch will stop your machine from starting as well as completing a cycle. You should test the switch using a multimeter. The switch is generally located behind the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure you have disconnected power to the machine before taking off the door panel and checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

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

This is the component that distributes power to all the other components the machine needs to operate including the motor, and the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher has an electric control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it might need to be tested while connected, 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 machine. A faulty selector switch or one that has got stuck might cause the machine not to start.

You can usually see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might be required to unplug the dishwasher and have a look at the control panel to test the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that can result in your dishwasher not running, so this may be the problem if you have tested the control panel and have ascertained that there is power running to the main pump.

To investigate if this is the case you need to gain access to the motor and find the relay that will usually be mounted next to the motor. This could then be taken out plus checked using a multimeter, if faulty you may have to replace it.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

When you have checked all the above and are yet to find the fault the next component to investigate would be the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is designed to protect the control board.

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 should be able to investigate that may stop your machine from operating is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

When you have checked the other electrical components and still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the issue especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually gain access to the motor by taking off the lower access panel. Test it using a multimeter and replace if broken.

When to Contact a Repair person

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

If you are happy to undertake the above checks then you may well be able to resolve the fault without assistance. But if you are con confident it’s always better to contact an engineer.

And check your warranty as well as your home cover as appliance repairs may be included and so the costs might 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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