Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken isn’t a fun way to start your day, especially if you are also faced with the cost of calling out an engineer and staying home to let them in just to determine the fault.

Fortunately it’s possible to diagnose and often sort out a number of dishwasher faults alone without needing to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to are able to find a multimeter.

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

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you start looking for a new dishwasher there are a number of common problems you can identify without too much issue.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Machine From Turning On

In advance of going through the following list of possible problems make sure that your machine hasn’t been accidentally unplugged, plus 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 plus try resetting your dishwasher.

You will often require the user guide to do this due to the fact that machines are all different however the child lock is usually quite simple to engage accidentally. Similarly, if the dishwasher has lights yet will not start, the solution could be as easy as resetting the cycle.

Once you have eliminated these problems it’s time for the real troubleshooting to start.

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

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

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to start if the door latches are faulty for understandable reasons. There’s no way you would want start the machine without meaning to with the door open.

A faulty switch will prevent your machine from turning on plus completing a cycle. You should check the switch using a multimeter. The switch will usually be situated under the front door panel or control panel.

Double check the dishwasher is unplugged before accessing the door panel and testing for continuity to make sure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Testing the Timer

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

This is the component that distributes electricity to all the different parts the machine needs to operate such as the motor, and the water inlet valve.

If your machine has an electric control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it might need to be checked while plugged in, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that chooses the program and will vary depending on the make as well as the model of your machine. A not working selector switch or one that has got stuck might cause the machine not to start.

You should be able to visually check to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you may need to unplug the machine in order to have a look at the control panel to test the contact points for continuity with the help of 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 fault if you have tested the control panel and so have ascertained that there is power running to the motor.

To check this you need to gain access to the motor and locate the relay that will usually be located next to it. This may then be removed as well as tested with a multimeter, if broken it may have to be replaced.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have tested the above issues and are still looking for the fault the next component to investigate would be the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

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

Checking the Drive Motor

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

If you have checked the other electrical components yet still haven’t discovered the issue this could be the cause of the problem especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually access the motor by removing the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it using a multimeter and replace if broken.

When to Contact an Engineer

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

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above checks then you could well be able to resolve the problem without needing a professional. However if you are con confident it’s always better to contact an engineer.

And examine your insurance as well as your home cover as appliance repairs could be covered which means the expense might not be as high as you think.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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