Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher isn’t working is never going to be the highlight your day, especially if you are also faced with the cost of phoning a repair person plus staying home to let them in just to pinpoint the problem.

Fortunately it’s possible to diagnose and often sort out many dishwasher problems yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you have a multimeter.

You could realize you can sort out the issue quite easily by yourself, especially if you are quite handy, and if not at least you will have a better idea of the fault when you do call a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of searching for a new dishwasher there are a number of common problems you should be able to troubleshoot without too much trouble.

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

Routine Dishwasher Issues That Will Prevent Your Machine From Starting

Before you begin checking your dishwasher for issues make sure that it hasn’t been accidentally switched off, plus that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

This is also an opportune moment to check if the child lock isn’t on plus try resetting your machine.

You will most likely need the manual for this as models vary however the child lock tends to be fairly easy to engage accidentally. Likewise, the dishwasher could have lights however will not start, in this case the answer could be as simple as resetting the cycle.

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

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

To examine these parts you will have to have a multimeter, or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter) to measure the resistance and test the parts are working as they are meant to.

Checking the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your machine is not designed to run if the door latches are broken for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want run the machine without meaning to with the door not closed.

A defective switch will stop your dishwasher from starting and completing a cycle. You can test the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally situated under the front door panel or control panel.

Double check 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 faulty you will need a replacement door latch assembly.

Checking the Timer

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

This is the part of the machine that distributes power to all the other electrical 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 checked while plugged in, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the part of the machine that chooses the program and will vary depending on the make and model of your machine. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully depressed might cause the dishwasher not to turn on.

You should be able to visually check to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you might be required to disconnect the dishwasher in order to have a look at the control panel to check the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that may result in your dishwasher not starting, and this may be the fault if you have checked the control panel and know that there is power running to the main pump.

To check this you will have to gain access to the motor as well as locate the relay that should be located next to it. This can then be removed and tested using a multimeter and it may need to be replaced.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have checked all the above yet still haven’t found the fault the next part of the machine to investigate is the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

If it will need to be replaced in order for the control board to get power.

Checking the Drive Motor

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

If you have checked the other parts but still aren’t getting anywhere this may be the culprit especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually gain access to the motor by removing the lower access panel. Test it by using a multimeter then replace if broken.

When to Get in Touch With an Engineer

If you don’t have a multimeter or are not confident in taking panels off your machine and testing the components then you will be better off calling a professional sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above checks then you might well be able to sort out the fault without assistance. However if you are not sure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

And check your warranty as well as your home cover as appliance repairs could be covered meaning the expense could be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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