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, particularly if you are also faced with the expense of phoning an engineer and taking time off work to let them in just to pinpoint the problem.

Fortunately it’s often easy to diagnose and often sort out a number of dishwasher faults by yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you have a multimeter.

You may find you are able to sort out the issue quite easily by yourself, especially if you are quite handy, and if you can’t at least you will be better placed to describe the issue when you do have to phone a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of considering a replacement 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.

Commonplace Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of checking your machine for problems ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been accidentally switched off, plus that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

At this point you may wish to also check that the child lock hasn’t been activated as well as try resetting your dishwasher.

You will often need the user manual to do this as models vary however the child lock tends to be fairly easy to engage inadvertently. Likewise, if the machine has lights however will not run, the answer may be as easy as resetting the cycle.

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

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

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

Checking 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 the door latches are faulty for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want run the machine without meaning to with the door ajar.

A broken switch will stop your dishwasher from turning on and operating. You can check the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be found under the front door panel or control panel.

Double check the dishwasher is unplugged before removing the door panel plus testing for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

If the latches or switches are not working you will need to replace them.

Checking the Timer

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

This is the part of the machine that distributes power to all the other components the machine requires to operate including the motor, as well as the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher has an electronic control rather than a mechanical timer then it could need to be checked while connected, 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 chooses the program and will vary depending on the make as well as the model of your machine. A faulty selector switch or one that has got stuck may cause the machine not to turn on.

You can usually see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might have to disconnect the dishwasher and access the control panel to check the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that may cause your machine not to run, and this might be the problem if you have checked the control panel and so have ascertained that there should be power going to the main pump.

To check this you need to gain access to the motor plus find the relay that will usually be located next to the motor. This may then be taken out as well as checked with the help of a multimeter and you may have to replace it.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have checked the above issues and are yet to find the problem the next part of the dishwasher to test is the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is designed to protect the control board.

If you locate the fuse and discover it is blown you will need to replace it in order to restore power to the control board.

Examining the Drive Motor

The final part of the machine you could investigate that could prevent your dishwasher from working 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 electrical components yet still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the culprit particularly if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually locate the motor by taking off the lower access panel. Test it by 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 dishwasher and checking the electrical components then you will need to call a repair person sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to undertake the above checks then you might well be able to resolve the fault without needing a professional. But if you are con confident it might be easier to contact an engineer.

And have a look at your warranty and your home cover as appliance repairs may be included and so the expense may not be as high as you think.

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