Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher has stopped 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 and staying home to let them in just to diagnose the fault.

Fortunately it’s often easy to pinpoint and often fix many dishwasher issues alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to have a multimeter.

You might realize you can resolve the problem quite easily by yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at worst you will be better placed to describe the problem when you do have to call a repair man.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you begin looking for a new dishwasher there are a few simple faults you should be able to troubleshoot without too much trouble.

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

Commonplace Dishwasher Faults That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

Before you start checking your machine for problems ensure that it hasn’t been inadvertently unplugged, and that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

This is also a good time to check if the child lock isn’t on as well as try resetting your machine.

You will often need the user manual to do this due to the fact that models vary however the child lock tends to be quite easy to put on inadvertently. Likewise, the dishwasher could have power however will not run, in this case the answer might be as simple as resetting the program.

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

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

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

Testing the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first thing to check is the door latches and door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to start if these are faulty for understandable reasons. There’s no way you would want begin the dishwasher without meaning to with the door not closed.

A broken switch will prevent your dishwasher from turning on plus operating. You should check the switch using a multimeter. The switch will usually be situated under the front door panel or control panel.

Double check you have disconnected power to the machine prior to removing the door panel plus checking for continuity to make sure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Checking 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 part of the machine that distributes power to all the other components the machine requires to run such as the motor, as well as the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher has an electric control rather than a mechanical timer then it may 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 part of the dishwasher that selects the program and will vary depending on the make or model of your dishwasher. A faulty selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down might result in the machine not to turn on.

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

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative part that can cause your dishwasher not to run, so this may be the problem if you have tested the control panel and have ascertained that there should be power running to the motor.

To investigate if this is the case you need to gain access to the motor as well as locate the relay that should be located next to the motor. This may then be removed and checked with a multimeter and it may need to be replaced.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

If you have checked the above issues and are still looking for the problem the next part to investigate would be the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

If you will need to replace it in order for the control board to get power.

Examining the Drive Motor

The final part of the dishwasher you could test that could prevent your dishwasher from working is the drive motor. This is the component that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

When you have tested the other components and still aren’t getting anywhere this might be the culprit especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You should be able to locate the motor by removing the panel at the bottom of the machine. Check it 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 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 sort out the fault without needing a professional. However if you are unsure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

Don’t forget to examine your insurance and your home cover as appliance repairs may be covered and so the costs could be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

  • Dishwasher Being Loud
  • Dishwasher Leaking
  • Dishwasher Not Draining
  • Dishwasher Not Drying