Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher has stopped working is never going to be the highlight your day, particularly if you have to deal with the cost of phoning a professional and taking time off work to let them in just to pinpoint the problem.

Luckily it’s often easy to pinpoint and even fix plenty of dishwasher faults yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you own a multimeter.

You could find you are able to fix the problem quite easily by yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at least you will be better placed to describe the fault when you do call a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you start considering a new machine there are a few common issues you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Problems That Will Stop Your Machine From Turning On

Before you begin investigating your machine for issues make sure that it hasn’t been unplugged, and that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

This is also a good time to see if the child lock hasn’t been activated as well as try resetting your dishwasher.

You will often need the user manual to do this due to the fact that models vary but the child lock tends to be quite simple to engage accidentally. Likewise, if the machine has lights but will not run, the solution might be as easy as resetting the cycle.

Once you have eliminated these faults 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. Test the motor relay.
    5. Examine the thermal fuse.
    6. Test 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 parts are operating as they should.

Examining the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to operate if these are broken for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want to be able to accidentally run the dishwasher with the door ajar.

A faulty switch will prevent your dishwasher from starting and operating. You should check 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 before accessing the door panel plus checking 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 ascertained they are operating 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 other components the machine requires to run such as the motor, and the valves.

If your machine is controlled electronically rather than mechanically then it could need to be tested while live, in which case you will need to call an engineer.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that chooses the cycle and will vary depending on the make as well as the model of your dishwasher. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down may result in the dishwasher not to run.

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

Checking the Motor Relay

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

To investigate this you need to gain access to the motor and locate the relay that will usually be mounted next to it. This could then be taken out plus checked using a multimeter and it may need to be replaced.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

When you have tested all the above yet still haven’t found the fault the next component to test would be the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is designed 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.

Examining the Drive Motor

The final component you can investigate that may prevent your machine from running is the drive motor. This is the component that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

Once you have tested the other electrical components and still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the issue particularly if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually locate the motor by taking off the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it by using a multimeter then replace if faulty.

When to Get in Touch With a Professional

If you don’t have a multimeter or are not confident in taking panels off your machine and testing the electrical components then you will need to call an engineer sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to perform the above troubleshooting then you could well be able to fix the problem without assistance. But if you are unsure it’s always better to call in the professionals.

Plus check your insurance and your home cover as appliance repairs might be included which means the costs could be less than you were expecting.

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