Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher has stopped working isn’t a great way to start your day, especially if you have to deal with the cost of calling out a professional as well as staying home to let them in just to diagnose the issue.

The good news is it’s very feasible to diagnose and often sort out a number of machine issues alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you own a multimeter.

You could find you are able to sort out the issue quite easily by yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if not at least you will have a better idea of the issue when you do call a repair man.

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

In advance of searching for a new machine there are a few common issues you can identify fairly easily.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Starting

Before you start going through the following list of possible problems ensure that it hasn’t been accidentally unplugged, and that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

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

You will often require the manual for this as models are all different however the child lock tends to be quite easy to activate accidentally. Likewise, the dishwasher might have lights but will not run, in this case the solution could be as easy as resetting the cycle.

Once you have eliminated these problems you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

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

Examining the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The initial thing to test is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to operate if these are not working for understandable reasons. There’s no way you would want begin the machine without meaning to with the door not closed.

A broken switch will stop your machine from starting and completing a cycle. You may wish to test the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be situated behind the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure the machine is disconnected before accessing the door panel and checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

If you discover the latches or switches are not working you will need a replacement door latch assembly.

Checking the Timer

If you have tested your door latch as well as door latch switch and ascertained 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 different parts the machine needs to operate such as the motor, and the valves.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it might need to be checked while live, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Checking the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the cycle and will vary depending on the make as well as the model of your machine. A faulty selector switch or one that has got stuck could cause the machine not to run.

You can usually visually check to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you could have to disconnect the dishwasher in order to access the control panel to check the contact points for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that could result in your machine not starting, so this might be the fault if you have tested the control panel and so have discovered that there is power going to the motor.

To test if this is the case you will have to locate the motor as well as locate the relay that will usually be located next to the motor. This could then be removed and checked using a multimeter and it might have to be replaced.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

When you have investigated the above issues but still haven’t found the issue the next part to check is the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

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

Testing the Drive Motor

The final component you should be able to check that might stop your machine from operating is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

When you have checked the other electrical components and still haven’t discovered the issue this might be the cause of the problem 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 panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it by using a multimeter then replace if faulty.

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 professional.

If you are happy to undertake the above checks then you could well be able to fix the problem without needing a professional. However if you are unsure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

Don’t forget to check your insurance plus your home cover as dishwasher repairs might be covered which means the costs could be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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