Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher has stopped working is never going to be the highlight your day, particularly if you are also faced with the expense of calling out a professional and staying home to let them in just to determine the issue.

The good news is it’s possible to determine and even resolve many machine issues alone without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to have a multimeter.

You may find you are able to fix the issue quite easily by yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if not at worst you will be better placed to describe the issue when you do phone a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you begin searching for a replacement dishwasher there are a number of simple issues you should be able to troubleshoot without too much issue.

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

Routine Dishwasher Faults That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of going through the following list of possible problems ensure that your machine hasn’t been switched off, as well as 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 as well as try resetting your machine.

You will often need the user manual to do this as models are all different but the child lock is often quite simple to put on inadvertently. Similarly, the machine could have power but will not start, in this case the answer could be as simple as resetting the program.

Once you have eliminated these issues it’s time for the real troubleshooting to begin.

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

To examine these components you will need a multimeter, or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter) to test the resistance plus check the electrical components are working 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 dishwasher is designed not to start if these are broken for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want run the dishwasher without meaning to with the door open.

A broken switch will prevent your machine from starting as well as completing a cycle. You may wish to test the switch using a multimeter. The switch is generally found behind the front door panel or control panel.

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

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

Testing the Timer

If the latch mechanism is operating as it should the next component to check is the timer or electronic control.

This is the part of the machine that sends power to all the other electrical components the machine needs to run such as the pumps, and the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher has an electric control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it may need to be checked while connected, in which case you will need to call an engineer.

Testing the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the program and will vary contingent on the make and model of your machine. A faulty selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down might result in the dishwasher not to turn on.

You should be able to visually check to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you may have to unplug the machine and gain access to 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 cause your dishwasher not to start, thus this might be the fault if you have tested the control panel and know that there should be power running to the main pump.

To test this you need to gain access to the motor plus locate the relay that should be mounted next to the motor. This could then be removed and checked with a multimeter, if faulty it could need to be replaced.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

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

If it will need to be replaced in order to restore power to the control board.

Testing the Drive Motor

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

Once you have checked the other parts but still haven’t discovered the issue this could be the cause of the problem especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually gain access to the motor by removing the lower access panel. Check it with the help of 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 are happy to undertake the above troubleshooting then you might well be able to sort out the problem without needing a professional. However if you are unsure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

Don’t forget to have a look at your insurance plus your home cover as appliance repairs could be included meaning the costs could be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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