Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher has stopped working is never going to be the highlight your day, especially if you are also faced with the cost of phoning a repair person and staying home to meet them just to pinpoint the problem.

The good news is it’s possible to diagnose and even resolve plenty of dishwasher problems by yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to have a multimeter.

You might realize you can fix the problem quite easily by yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at worst you will have a better idea of the problem when you do have to call a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of considering a new dishwasher there are a number of common faults you should be able to identify without too much issue.

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

Routine Dishwasher Problems That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of going through the following list of possible faults ensure that your machine hasn’t been unplugged, plus 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 as well as try resetting your machine.

You will probably require the user guide to do this due to the fact that machines are all different however the child lock tends to be fairly simple to put on without meaning to. Similarly, if the dishwasher has lights but will not start, the answer could be as simple as resetting the program.

Once you have ruled out these faults it’s time for the real detective work to begin.

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

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

Testing the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches and door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to start if the door latches are not working for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want run the dishwasher without meaning to with the door open.

A faulty switch will prevent your dishwasher from turning on and running. You may wish to check the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally found under the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure the machine is disconnected prior to accessing the door panel plus checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

If you have tested your door latch plus door latch switch and discovered they are operating as they should the next thing to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the component that sends electricity to all the other parts the machine needs to run such as the pumps, as well as the valves.

If your dishwasher has an electric control rather than a mechanical timer then it could need to be checked while connected, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Checking the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the part of the dishwasher 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 pressed down could cause the machine not to run.

You should be able to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you may need to disconnect the dishwasher and 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 may cause your machine not to run, so this may be the problem if you have tested the control panel and thus know that there should be power running to the motor.

To investigate if this is the case you need to find the motor as well as find the relay that should be located next to the motor. This can then be taken out as well as tested with a multimeter, if faulty you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

Once you have checked all the above and are yet to find the issue the next component to check is the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is designed to stop the control board overheating.

If you will need to replace it 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 could prevent your dishwasher from working is the drive motor. This is the component that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

If you have checked the other electrical components yet still haven’t discovered the issue this could be the issue particularly if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually access the motor by removing the lower access panel. Test it with the help of a multimeter then replace if not working.

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 need to call an engineer sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to perform the above troubleshooting then you may well be able to sort out the fault without needing a professional. But if you are not sure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

Don’t forget to check your insurance and your home cover as appliance repairs could 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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