Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the highlight your day, especially if you have to deal with the expense of calling out a repair person plus taking time off work to meet them just to diagnose the fault.

Luckily it’s often easy to diagnose and even resolve a number of machine faults alone without needing to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to have a multimeter.

You could discover you can fix the problem quite easily yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if not at worst you will be better placed to describe the problem when you do phone an engineer.

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you start considering a new dishwasher there are a number of common issues you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Faults That Will Stop Your Machine From Turning On

In advance of checking your machine for problems ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been inadvertently unplugged, as well as that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

At this point you may wish to also check that the child lock hasn’t been activated and try resetting your dishwasher.

You will probably require the user manual to do this due to the fact that models vary however the child lock is usually fairly easy to activate inadvertently. Similarly, the dishwasher might have lights but will not start, in this case the answer could be as easy as resetting the cycle.

When you have eliminated these problems it’s time for the real detective work to begin.

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

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

Checking the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

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

A defective switch will stop your dishwasher from starting and operating. You should check the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally found behind the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure the machine is disconnected prior to removing the door panel and testing for continuity to make sure you do not get an electric shock.

If the latches or switches are broken you will need a replacement door latch assembly.

Checking the Timer

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

This is the part of the machine that distributes electricity to all the different electrical components the machine requires to operate such as the pumps, and the valves.

If your machine has an electric control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it could need to be tested while plugged in, 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 , it’s style and location will vary contingent on the make as well as the model of your machine. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully depressed might cause the dishwasher not to turn on.

You can usually visually investigate to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you could need to disconnect the dishwasher and access the control panel to test 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, thus this could be the fault if you have checked the control panel and thus know that there is power running to the motor.

To test this you will have to locate the motor and find the relay that should be mounted next to it. This could then be taken out plus tested with the help of a multimeter, if broken it might need to be replaced.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

When you have tested the above issues and are still looking for the fault the next part to investigate would be the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is there to protect the control board.

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

Checking the Drive Motor

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

Once you have tested the other parts and still haven’t discovered the issue this might be the issue especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually locate the motor by taking off the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it using a multimeter then replace if broken.

When to Contact an Engineer

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 might well be able to sort out the issue without assistance. However if you are unsure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

Plus check your insurance plus your home cover as dishwasher repairs could be included meaning the expense could 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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