Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher isn’t working isn’t a great way to begin your day, especially if you have to deal with the cost of calling out a repair person and taking time off work to let them in just to determine the fault.

Luckily it’s very feasible to diagnose and often sort out a number of dishwasher problems alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to are able to find a multimeter.

You could realize you are able to fix the issue quite easily yourself, particularly if you are quite handy, and if not at worst you will be better placed to describe the issue when you do phone an engineer.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of looking for a replacement machine there are a few simple issues you should be able to identify without too much issue.

Safety Warning: Always make sure your dishwasher is unplugged before testing or replacing any electrical components.

Everyday Dishwasher Faults That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Turning On

In advance of going through the following list of possible faults ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been switched off, plus that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

This is also a good time to check if the child lock hasn’t been activated as well as try resetting your dishwasher.

You will often require the user manual for this as machines vary however the child lock is often quite easy to put on accidentally. Similarly, the machine could have power however will not start, in this case the answer might be as simple as resetting the program.

Once you have ruled out these issues you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

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

Examining the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your machine is not designed to run if the door latches are faulty for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want to be able to accidentally run the machine with the door not closed.

A defective switch will prevent your machine from starting and completing a cycle. You can test the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be found behind the front door panel or control panel.

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

If the latches or switches are faulty you will need a replacement door latch assembly.

Checking the Timer

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

This is the component that distributes power to all the other components the machine requires to run such as the pumps, and the valves.

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

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the part of the machine that selects the program and will vary depending on the make or model of your dishwasher. A not working selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down might result in the machine not to run.

You should be able to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might be required to disconnect the machine in order to access the control panel to check the contact points for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that could cause your dishwasher not to start, thus this might be the problem if you have tested the control panel and know that there should be power running to the main pump.

To test if this is the case you will have to find the motor and locate the relay that should be located next to it. This can then be removed and checked with a multimeter and it could need to be replaced.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have checked all the above and are still looking for the problem the next component to investigate would be the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is designed to stop the control board overheating.

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.

Checking the Drive Motor

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

If you have checked the other parts yet still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the issue especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually locate the motor by taking off the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it by using a multimeter and replace if not working.

When to Get in Touch With a Professional

If you don’t have a multimeter or are not confident in taking panels off your dishwasher and testing the parts then you will need to call a professional sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to undertake the above troubleshooting then you might well be able to fix the issue without assistance. However if you are unsure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

Don’t forget to examine your warranty as well as your home cover as dishwasher repairs may be covered and so the expense could be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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