Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher has stopped working isn’t a great way to begin your day, especially if you are also faced with the cost of calling out an engineer plus staying home to meet them just to pinpoint the fault.

The good news is it’s possible to diagnose and even resolve a number of machine problems by yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to have a multimeter.

You may find you are able to resolve the fault quite easily by yourself, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if not at worst you will have a better idea of the fault when you do have to phone a repair man.

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

In advance of searching for a new dishwasher there are a number of possible problems you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Routine Dishwasher Issues That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

Before you start checking your machine for problems ensure that your machine hasn’t been inadvertently switched off, as well as that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

At this point you may wish to also check that the child lock isn’t on and try resetting your machine.

You will most likely require the user manual for this as models vary but the child lock tends to be fairly easy to put on inadvertently. Likewise, the dishwasher could have lights but will not run, in this case the answer could be as simple as resetting the cycle.

When you have ruled out these issues it’s time for the real investigations to begin.

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

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

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first thing to check is the door latches and door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to operate if the door latches are faulty for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want begin the dishwasher without meaning to with the door ajar.

A faulty switch will prevent your dishwasher from starting and running. You may wish to check the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally located under the front door panel or control panel.

Double check you have disconnected power to the machine before accessing the door panel and 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 your latch mechanism is operating as it should the next thing to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the component that sends power to all the other electrical components the machine requires to run including the motor, and the valves.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it might have to be tested while connected, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Testing the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the program , it’s style and location will vary depending on the make and model of your dishwasher. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully engaged might result in the dishwasher not to run.

You can usually visually investigate to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you may need to unplug the machine and gain access to the control panel to check the connections for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that could result in your machine not running, and this could be the issue if you have checked the control panel and have discovered that there should be power running to the main pump.

To check this you will have to gain access to the motor plus locate the relay that will usually be located next to the motor. This could then be removed as well as checked with the help of a multimeter and it might have to be replaced.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

If you have investigated the above issues yet still haven’t found the issue the next part to check is the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is there to stop the control board overheating.

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

Checking the Drive Motor

The final component you can check that might 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.

Once you have checked the other components yet still aren’t getting anywhere this may be the cause of the problem particularly if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

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

When to Contact 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 an engineer sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above checks then you might well be able to resolve the issue without needing a professional. Yet if you are unsure it’s always better to call in the professionals.

And check your insurance as well as your home cover as dishwasher repairs may be included which means the expense might not be as high as you think.

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