Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher has stopped working isn’t a great way to start your day, particularly if you have to deal with the expense of calling out a professional as well as taking time off work to meet them just to diagnose the problem.

The good news is it’s often easy to pinpoint and even resolve a number of machine problems yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to have a multimeter.

You might find you are able to fix the problem quite easily yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if not at worst you will have a better idea of the issue when you do have to call an engineer.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you begin searching for a new dishwasher there are a number of possible problems you can identify without too much issue.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Turning On

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

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

You will most likely need the user manual for this due to the fact that machines are all different but the child lock tends to be fairly easy to put on accidentally. Similarly, if the dishwasher has lights yet will not start, the solution could be as simple as resetting the program.

Once you have eliminated these problems you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

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

Testing 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 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 defective switch will stop your machine from turning on and completing a cycle. You may wish to test the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be located behind the front door panel or control panel.

Double check you have disconnected power to the machine prior to taking off the door panel plus testing for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Checking 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 component that distributes electricity to all the other parts the machine requires to operate such as the pumps, as well as the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically rather than mechanically then it could need to be checked while live, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Checking the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the program and will vary contingent on the make and model of your dishwasher. A not working selector switch or even one that has not been fully depressed could result in the dishwasher not to run.

You should be able to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you could need to disconnect the machine in order to gain access to the control panel to check the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another component that can result in your machine not running, so this could be the problem if you have checked the control panel and so have ascertained that there is power going to the main pump.

To investigate if this is the case you need to find the motor and locate the relay that will usually be mounted next to it. This may then be taken out plus checked with the help of a multimeter and you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have tested the above issues but still haven’t found the fault the next component to test is the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

If the fuse 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 machine you could test that may prevent your machine from running is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

When you have checked the other parts and still haven’t discovered the issue this may be the cause of the problem particularly if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You should be able to gain access to the motor by removing the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it using a multimeter and replace if not working.

When to Get in Touch With an Engineer

Not everyone has a multimeter, or would know how to use one even if they do, in which case you will need to call a repair person sooner rather than later.

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

Plus examine your insurance as well as your home cover as dishwasher repairs may be included which means the expense could be less than you were expecting.

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