Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher isn’t working is never going to be the best part of your day, especially if you are also faced with the cost of calling out a repair person plus staying home to meet them just to pinpoint the issue.

The good news is it’s often easy to diagnose and often resolve many machine faults yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to have a multimeter.

You could find you can fix the problem quite easily alone, particularly if you are quite handy, and if you can’t at worst you will be better placed to describe the fault when you do have to phone a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of searching for a replacement dishwasher there are a number of simple problems you can identify without too much issue.

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

Common Dishwasher Issues That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Turning On

In advance of investigating your dishwasher for issues ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been accidentally switched off, and that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

This is also an opportune moment to check if the child lock isn’t on as well as try resetting your dishwasher.

You will most likely need the manual for this as models are all different but the child lock is usually fairly easy to put on without meaning to. Likewise, if the machine has lights but will not start, the answer might be as simple as resetting the cycle.

Once you have ruled out these issues it’s time for the real detective work to begin.

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

To examine these components you will have to have a multimeter, or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter) to measure the resistance and check the electrical components are working as they are meant to.

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first thing to test is the door latches and door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to start if these are broken for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want begin the dishwasher without meaning to with the door open.

A defective switch will prevent your machine from starting plus operating. You can check 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 taking off 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 not working you will need a replacement door latch assembly.

Testing the Timer

If you have tested your door latch plus door latch switch and discovered they are working correctly the next thing to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the part of the machine that sends electricity to all the different electrical components the machine needs to operate such as the pumps, plus the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher has an electronic control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it may 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 selects the program , it’s style and location 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 cause the dishwasher not to turn on.

You should be able to visually investigate to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you might have to disconnect the dishwasher and gain access to the control panel to test the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that may cause your machine not to start, so this could be the fault if you have checked the control panel and thus have discovered that there is power running to the main pump.

To check this you need to gain access to the motor plus locate the relay that will usually be located next to it. This may then be removed plus tested with the help of a multimeter and you may have to replace it.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have tested the above issues and are still looking for the issue the next part of the dishwasher to test is the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is designed to stop the control board overheating.

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 component you should be able to check that may stop your machine from working is the drive motor. This is the component that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

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

You should be able to access the motor by removing the lower access panel. Test it using a multimeter and replace if not working.

When to Get in Touch With an Engineer

If you don’t have a multimeter and are not confident in taking panels off your machine and testing the electrical components then you will be better off calling an engineer.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you might well be able to resolve the issue without assistance. But if you are con confident it might be easier to contact an engineer.

Don’t forget to check your insurance and your home cover as appliance repairs could be covered which means the costs could be less than you were expecting.

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