Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher isn’t working is never going to be the highlight your day, especially if you have to deal with the cost of calling out a repair person plus staying home to let them in just to diagnose the problem.

The good news is it’s possible to pinpoint and often resolve plenty of machine faults yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to are able to find a multimeter.

You could realize you can fix the fault quite easily 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 phone a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you start searching for a replacement machine there are a few simple faults you can identify without too much issue.

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

Commonplace Dishwasher Faults That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of investigating your dishwasher for faults make sure that your machine hasn’t been accidentally switched off, and that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

At this point you should also check that the child lock hasn’t been activated plus try resetting your dishwasher.

You will often need the manual to do this as machines are all different however the child lock is often fairly simple to activate inadvertently. Similarly, if the machine has lights however will not run, the solution might be as simple as resetting the cycle.

When you have ruled out these faults you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

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

Testing the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first thing to test is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to operate if these are faulty for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want run the dishwasher without meaning to with the door not closed.

A broken 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 located under the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure you have disconnected power to the dishwasher before accessing the door panel as well as checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Testing the Timer

If the door latch plus door latch switch, are working as they are meant to the next component to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the part of the machine that sends power to all the different components the machine needs to run including the motor, plus the valves.

If your dishwasher has an electronic control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it may need to be tested 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 cycle and will vary depending on the make or model of your dishwasher. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully depressed may result in the machine not to start.

You can usually visually investigate to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you may have to disconnect the dishwasher in order to gain access to the control panel to test the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that could result in your machine not starting, thus this could be the fault if you have checked the control panel and so have ascertained that there should be power running to the motor.

To test if this is the case you will have to gain access to the motor plus find the relay that should be mounted next to the motor. This may then be taken out plus tested with a multimeter, if faulty you may have to replace it.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

If you have tested the above issues and are yet to find the problem the next part to investigate would be the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

If you locate the fuse and discover it is blown it will need to be replaced in order for the control board to get power.

Examining the Drive Motor

The final part of the machine you could test that could prevent your dishwasher from operating 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 yet still haven’t discovered the issue this might be the cause of the problem especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You should be able to access the motor by removing the lower access panel. Check it with the help of a multimeter and replace if not working.

When to Get in Touch With a Professional

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 a repair person sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you could well be able to resolve the problem without needing a professional. But if you are unsure it might be easier to contact an engineer.

Plus examine your warranty plus your home cover as dishwasher repairs could be covered and so the costs could be less than you were expecting.

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