Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the best part of your day, particularly if you are also faced with the expense of calling out an engineer plus taking time off work to let them in just to diagnose the fault.

Luckily it’s very feasible to diagnose and even sort out a number of machine faults by yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to are able to find a multimeter.

You might find you are able to fix the issue quite easily alone, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if not 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 Turn on

In advance of searching for a replacement machine there are a number of common issues you can troubleshoot without too much issue.

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

Common Dishwasher Faults That Will Stop Your Machine From Starting

Before you begin investigating your dishwasher for issues make sure that your dishwasher hasn’t been accidentally unplugged, and that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

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

You will probably need the user manual to do this due to the fact that models vary but the child lock tends to be fairly simple to put on accidentally. Similarly, the machine might have power however will not start, in this case the solution may be as simple as resetting the cycle.

Once you have ruled out these issues you can start the real troubleshooting.

    1. Have a look at the door latch or door latch switch.
    2. Test the timer.
    3. Examine the selector switch.
    4. Test the motor relay.
    5. Check 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 test the resistance and test the parts are operating as they should.

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches and door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to operate if the door latches are faulty for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want start the dishwasher without meaning to with the door ajar.

A faulty switch will prevent your machine from turning on and completing a cycle. You should test the switch using a multimeter. The switch is generally located behind the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure you have disconnected power to the dishwasher prior to removing the door panel and testing for continuity to make sure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Testing the Timer

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

This is the component that sends electricity to all the different electrical components the machine requires to run including the motor, as well as the valves.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it could have to be tested while plugged in, in which case you should call a repair man.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that selects the cycle and will vary contingent on the make as well as the model of your machine. A not working selector switch or even one that has not been fully engaged could cause the dishwasher not to run.

You can usually visually investigate to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you might be required to disconnect the machine and access the control panel to test the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

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

To check if this is the case you will have to gain access to the motor plus find the relay that should be mounted next to it. This can then be removed as well as checked with the help of a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have checked the above issues and are still looking for the issue the next component to test is the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is there to stop the control board overheating.

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.

Testing the Drive Motor

The final component you could investigate that could prevent your dishwasher from running 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 and still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the culprit particularly if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You should be able to locate the motor by taking off the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it with the help of a multimeter then replace if broken.

When to Get in Touch With an Engineer

Not everyone has a multimeter, or would know how to use one even if they do, in which case you will be better off calling a professional sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to undertake the above troubleshooting then you may well be able to sort out the issue without needing a professional. Yet if you are not sure it’s always better to call in the professionals.

Plus examine your warranty plus your home cover as dishwasher repairs may be included and so the costs might not be as high as you think.

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