Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

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

Fortunately it’s often easy to diagnose and even sort out plenty of dishwasher issues alone without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you have a multimeter.

You may find you can fix the issue quite easily alone, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at least you will be better placed to describe the problem when you do call a repair man.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you start searching for a replacement dishwasher there are a number of possible faults you should be able to identify without too much issue.

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

Routine Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Machine From Starting

In advance of checking your machine for faults make sure that your machine hasn’t been accidentally switched off, as well as that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

At this point you should also check that the child lock isn’t on and try resetting your machine.

You will often need the manual for this as machines vary but the child lock tends to be quite easy to engage accidentally. Similarly, if the dishwasher has lights however will not run, the answer may be as simple as resetting the cycle.

When you have eliminated these issues it’s time for the real investigations to begin.

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

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

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first thing to check is the door latches and door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to run if these are faulty for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want run the machine without meaning to with the door open.

A faulty switch will prevent your machine from turning on plus operating. You should test the switch using a multimeter. The switch is generally located behind the front door panel or control panel.

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

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

Checking the Timer

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

This is the component that distributes electricity to all the other components the machine needs to operate such as the motor, plus the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it might have to be checked while live, 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 cycle , it’s style and location will vary depending on the make as well as the model of your machine. A not working selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down might cause the machine not to start.

You can usually see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you might have to unplug the dishwasher in order to have a look at the control panel to check the connections for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that could result in your dishwasher not starting, so this might be the problem if you have tested the control panel and know that there is power going to the motor.

To test if this is the case you need to find the motor plus find the relay that should be located next to the motor. This may then be removed and tested with a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have investigated all the above and are still looking for the problem the next component to test would be the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is designed to protect the control board.

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

Examining the Drive Motor

The final part of the dishwasher you could investigate that may stop your dishwasher from operating is the drive motor. This is the component that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

If you have tested the other components yet still haven’t discovered the issue this could be the cause of the problem especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You should be able to gain access to the motor by taking off the lower access panel. Test it with the help of a multimeter then replace if faulty.

When to Contact a Professional

Not everyone has a multimeter, or would know how to use one even if they do, in which case you will be better off calling an engineer sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you could well be able to fix the fault without assistance. However if you are unsure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

Plus have a look at your insurance as well as your home cover as appliance repairs may be covered which means the expense might not be as high as you think.

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