Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher isn’t working is never going to be the highlight your day, particularly if you have to deal with the expense of phoning a professional and taking time off work to let them in just to pinpoint the problem.

The good news is it’s possible to determine and often fix many machine issues alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you are able to find a multimeter.

You might discover you can sort out the problem quite easily by yourself, especially if you are quite handy, and if not at worst you will be better placed to describe the problem when you do have to phone a repair man.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you begin searching for a replacement machine there are a few common faults you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Common Dishwasher Issues That Will Stop Your Machine From Starting

Before you begin going through the following list of possible issues ensure that it hasn’t been unplugged, and that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

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

You will most likely need the manual to do this due to the fact that machines vary but the child lock tends to be fairly easy to activate accidentally. Likewise, if the dishwasher has lights yet will not start, the solution might be as easy as resetting the cycle.

Once you have eliminated these issues it’s time for the real troubleshooting to begin.

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

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

Checking the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The initial thing to check is the door latches and door latch switches. Your dishwasher is designed not to run if the door latches are not working for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want begin the dishwasher without meaning to with the door open.

A faulty switch will prevent your dishwasher from turning on and running. You should check the switch using a multimeter. The switch is generally situated under the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure the machine is disconnected prior to removing the door panel and testing for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Testing the Timer

If the latch mechanism is working as it should the next component to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the component that distributes power to all the different parts the machine needs to operate including the motor, and the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher has an electric control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it may 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 as well as the model of your dishwasher. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down might result in the machine not to start.

You should be able to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might be required to unplug the machine and gain access to the control panel to test the contact points for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that could result in your dishwasher not running, and this may be the issue if you have checked the control panel and so know that there is power going to the motor.

To test this you will have to find the motor plus find the relay that will usually be mounted next to the motor. This can then be taken out as well as tested with a multimeter and it may have to be replaced.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

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

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

Examining the Drive Motor

The final component you should be able to check that might prevent your dishwasher from operating is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

Once you have checked the other electrical components and still haven’t discovered the issue this may be the cause of the problem especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually locate the motor by taking off the lower access panel. Test it with the help of a multimeter then replace if faulty.

When to Contact a Repair person

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 could well be able to sort out the issue without needing a professional. But if you are not sure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

Don’t forget to have a look at your warranty plus your home cover as dishwasher repairs might be covered and so the expense may be less than you were expecting.

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