Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken isn’t a great way to begin your day, especially if you are also faced with the cost of calling out a professional and staying home to meet them just to diagnose the issue.

Luckily it’s often easy to diagnose and even fix many machine faults by yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you have a multimeter.

You might discover you are able to fix the problem quite easily alone, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at least you will be better placed to describe the issue 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 number of simple problems you can identify fairly easily.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Issues That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of investigating your machine for problems ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been unplugged, as well as that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

This is also an opportune moment to check if the child lock hasn’t been activated and try resetting your dishwasher.

You will most likely need the user manual for this as machines vary however the child lock is usually fairly easy to put on inadvertently. Similarly, if the machine has lights but will not run, the answer might be as simple as resetting the cycle.

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

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

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

Examining the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The initial thing to test is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to run if the door latches are broken for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want start the machine without meaning to with the door ajar.

A broken switch will prevent your dishwasher from turning on as well as operating. You may wish to test the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be found under the front door panel or control panel.

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

If the latches or switches are not working you will need a replacement door latch assembly.

Testing the Timer

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

This is the part of the machine that distributes electricity to all the different components the machine needs to run including the motor, and the valves.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it could have to be tested while plugged in, in which case you should call an engineer.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that chooses the cycle , it’s style and location will vary depending on the make or model of your dishwasher. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down could result in the machine not to start.

You can usually visually investigate to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you could have to unplug the machine in order to gain access to the control panel to test the contact points for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that may result in your dishwasher not running, so this could be the issue if you have checked the control panel and thus have ascertained that there is power running to the motor.

To test this you need to find the motor and find the relay that should be mounted next to it. This may then be removed and tested using a multimeter, if faulty it could have to be replaced.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

Once you have tested all the above but still haven’t found the fault the next component to investigate would be the thermal fuse. Note: Not all dishwashers have a thermal fuse.

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

Checking the Drive Motor

The final component you can investigate that might stop your dishwasher from running is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

When 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 can usually access the motor by taking off the lower access panel. Test it by using a multimeter and replace if faulty.

When to Get in Touch With 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 undertake the above checks then you could well be able to sort out the fault without assistance. But if you are unsure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

And have a look at your warranty as well as your home cover as appliance repairs might be covered and so the expense might be less than you were expecting.

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