Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher is broken isn’t a fun way to begin your day, particularly if you have to deal with the cost of calling out a professional as well as taking time off work to let them in just to pinpoint the issue.

Luckily it’s often easy to pinpoint and even resolve a number of machine faults by yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you are able to find a multimeter.

You may find you are able to resolve the issue quite easily by yourself, especially if you are good at DIY, and if not at worst you will be better placed to describe the fault when you eventually do phone a repair man.

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

In advance of searching for a new dishwasher there are a few common issues you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Common Dishwasher Faults That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Turning On

In advance of going through the following list of potential faults make sure that your machine hasn’t been unplugged, and that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

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

You will often require the manual for this as models vary but the child lock tends to be quite easy to put on inadvertently. Similarly, if the machine has lights but will not run, the solution could be as simple as resetting the cycle.

When you have ruled out these issues it’s time for the real troubleshooting to begin.

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

To examine these electrical components you will need a multimeter, or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter) to measure the resistance and check the parts are working as they are meant to.

Examining the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches and door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to run if these are broken for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want run the dishwasher without meaning to with the door ajar.

A faulty switch will stop your dishwasher from turning on as well as running. You may wish to test the switch using a multimeter. The switch will usually be located behind the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure the dishwasher is disconnected prior to removing the door panel plus checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

If you have tested your door latch and door latch switch and ascertained they are operating correctly the next component to test is the timer or electronic control.

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

If your machine is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it could have to be checked while plugged in, in which case you should call a repair person.

Checking the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that selects the program and will vary contingent on the make or model of your dishwasher. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down may result in the machine not to run.

You can usually see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you could be required to disconnect the machine and have a look at the control panel to test the connections for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another component that can result in your machine not running, thus this could be the fault if you have tested the control panel and have discovered that there is power going to the motor.

To investigate this you will have to gain access to the motor as well as locate the relay that will usually be located next to it. This could then be removed and checked using a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have investigated all the above but still haven’t found the issue the next part of the dishwasher to test would be the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is designed to stop the control board overheating.

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

Testing the Drive Motor

The final part of the machine you could test 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.

If you have tested the other components and still aren’t getting anywhere this may be the issue particularly if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually access the motor by taking off the panel at the bottom of the machine. Check it by using a multimeter and replace if not working.

When to Contact a Repair person

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 sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you could well be able to sort out the fault without needing a professional. But if you are not sure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

Don’t forget to have a look at your insurance and your home cover as appliance repairs might be included which means the expense may be less than you were expecting.

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