Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken isn’t a good way to start your day, particularly if you have to deal with the expense of calling out a professional plus taking time off work to let them in just to pinpoint the problem.

The good news is it’s very feasible to diagnose and even resolve many machine faults yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you have a multimeter.

You could find you can sort out the problem quite easily alone, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if not at least you will be better placed to describe the issue when you do have to phone an engineer.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you start considering a new dishwasher there are a few possible faults you can troubleshoot without too much trouble.

Safety Warning: Never attempt repairs while your dishwasher is plugged in.

Routine Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Turning On

In advance of going through the following list of possible faults ensure that it hasn’t been accidentally unplugged, and that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

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

You will most likely need the manual to do this as machines are all different however the child lock is often quite simple to engage without meaning to. Likewise, if the dishwasher has lights but will not run, the answer might be as simple as resetting the cycle.

When you have eliminated these issues you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

To examine these electrical components you will need a multimeter, or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter) to test the resistance and test the components are operating as they should.

Testing the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The initial thing to test is the door latches and door latch switches. Your machine is not designed to run if these are not working for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want to be able to inadvertently run the machine with the door not closed.

A defective switch will stop your dishwasher from starting and completing a cycle. You may wish to test the switch using a multimeter. The switch will usually be found under the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure the dishwasher is disconnected before accessing the door panel and checking for continuity to ensure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Testing the Timer

If the door latch as well as door latch switch, are working as they are meant to the next component to check is the timer or electronic control.

This is the component that sends electricity to all the different electrical components the machine needs to run including the motor, plus the water inlet valve.

If your machine has an electronic control rather than a mechanical timer then it might have to be tested while live, 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 depending on the make and model of your dishwasher. A faulty selector switch or one that has got stuck could result in the machine not to turn on.

You can usually visually check to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you may have to disconnect the machine in order to gain access to the control panel to test the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative part that can result in your machine not running, thus this could be the issue if you have checked the control panel and so know that there is power running to the motor.

To check this you will have to gain access to the motor and find the relay that should be mounted next to the motor. This could then be taken out plus checked using a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

Once you have checked the above issues and are yet to find the problem the next component 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 for the control board to get power.

Examining the Drive Motor

The final part of the dishwasher you should be able to test that could prevent your dishwasher from operating is the drive motor. This is the component that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

Once you have tested the other components but still haven’t discovered the issue this could be the culprit particularly if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You should be able to locate the motor by removing the panel at the bottom of the machine. Check it using a multimeter then replace if broken.

When to Contact a Repair person

If you don’t have a multimeter or are not confident in taking panels off your machine and testing the electrical components then you will be better off calling a repair person.

If you are happy to perform the above checks then you may well be able to sort out the issue without assistance. But if you are unsure it’s always better to call in the professionals.

Plus check your warranty plus your home cover as dishwasher repairs may be included which means the expense might be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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