Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the best part of your day, especially if you are also faced with the cost of phoning an engineer as well as taking time off work to meet them just to pinpoint the issue.

Luckily it’s very feasible to diagnose and even fix plenty of dishwasher faults by yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to have a multimeter.

You might find you can resolve the issue quite easily yourself, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at worst you will be better placed to describe the problem when you do call an engineer.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of looking for a replacement machine there are a number of possible faults you can identify without too much issue.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Issues That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Turning On

In advance of going through the following list of potential issues ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been unplugged, and that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

At this point you may wish to also check that the child lock isn’t on as well as try resetting your machine.

You will often need the user manual to do this as machines vary but the child lock tends to be fairly easy to put on inadvertently. Similarly, the dishwasher may have lights but will not run, in this case the solution could be as simple as resetting the program.

When you have eliminated these faults it’s time for the real troubleshooting to begin.

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

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

Examining the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

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

A faulty switch will stop your machine from turning on as well as running. You can test the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be situated behind the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure you have disconnected power to the dishwasher before removing the door panel and testing 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 working 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 including the pumps, plus the valves.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically rather than mechanically then it might need to be tested 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 program and will vary depending on the make or model of your dishwasher. A broken selector switch or one that has got stuck could cause the dishwasher not to start.

You should be able to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you could have to unplug the dishwasher in order to have a look at the control panel to check the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that can cause your machine not to run, so this might be the issue if you have checked the control panel and thus know that there should be power running to the main pump.

To check this you will have to gain access to the motor plus find the relay that will usually be located next to the motor. This can then be removed plus tested with a multimeter, if faulty it could have to be replaced.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have investigated all the above but still haven’t found the issue the next part of the machine to test would be the thermal fuse. Note: Not all dishwashers have a thermal fuse.

If you locate the fuse and discover it is blown you will need to replace it 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 might stop your machine from operating is the drive motor. This is the component that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

When you have tested the other electrical components and still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the culprit particularly if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually access the motor by removing the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it by using a multimeter then replace if not working.

When to Contact a Professional

If you don’t have a multimeter or are not confident in taking panels off your dishwasher and testing the components then you will be better off calling a professional sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to perform the above checks then you may well be able to resolve the problem without assistance. However if you are not sure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

And check your warranty and your home cover as dishwasher repairs might be covered meaning 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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