Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher isn’t working is never going to be the highlight your day, particularly if you have to deal with the cost of phoning a professional and staying home to meet them just to diagnose the fault.

The good news is it’s possible to diagnose and even sort out many dishwasher faults alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you own a multimeter.

You might find you can resolve the problem quite easily by yourself, especially if you are quite handy, and if you can’t at worst you will be better placed to describe the problem when you eventually do phone a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of considering a new machine there are a few simple issues you should be able to troubleshoot fairly easily.

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

Commonplace Dishwasher Problems That Will Stop Your Machine From Turning On

Before you start going through the following list of potential faults ensure that it hasn’t been inadvertently unplugged, and that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

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

You will probably need the user guide to do this as models vary but the child lock tends to be fairly easy to activate inadvertently. Similarly, the machine may have lights but will not start, in this case the answer could be as easy as resetting the program.

When you have ruled out these issues it’s time for the real investigations to start.

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

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

Testing 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 not designed to operate if these are broken for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want run the dishwasher without meaning to with the door not closed.

A faulty switch will prevent your dishwasher from turning on and completing a cycle. You should check the switch using a multimeter. The switch will usually be found behind the front door panel or control panel.

Double check you have disconnected power to the dishwasher prior to removing the door panel and checking for continuity to make sure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

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

This is the part of the machine that distributes power to all the other parts the machine requires to run such as the motor, and the valves.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it might have to be tested while connected, 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 program , it’s style and location will vary depending on the make or model of your machine. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully depressed may cause the dishwasher not to run.

You can usually visually investigate to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you may need to disconnect the machine in order to access 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 could result in your machine not running, so this could be the fault if you have checked the control panel and have ascertained that there is power running to the motor.

To test this you need to locate the motor plus locate the relay that should be mounted next to the motor. This may then be removed as well as tested with the help of a multimeter, if faulty you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

Once you have tested the above issues and are yet to find the issue the next component to investigate is the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is there to protect the control board.

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

Checking the Drive Motor

The final part of the dishwasher you can test that may prevent your machine from working is the drive motor. This is the component that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

Once you have tested the other parts and still haven’t discovered the issue this may be the issue 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. Test it with the help of a multimeter then replace if not working.

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 be better off calling a professional.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above checks then you might well be able to resolve the fault without assistance. Yet if you are con confident it might be easier to call in the professionals.

Don’t forget to have a look at your warranty as well as your home cover as appliance repairs might be included which means the costs may be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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