Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the highlight your day, especially if you are also faced with the expense of phoning a repair person and taking time off work to let them in just to pinpoint the issue.

The good news is it’s often easy to pinpoint and even sort out plenty of dishwasher issues by yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to have a multimeter.

You may realize you can fix the issue quite easily yourself, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if not at worst you will be better placed to describe the fault when you eventually do phone an engineer.

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

In advance of searching for a new machine there are a few possible problems you can troubleshoot without too much trouble.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Faults That Will Stop Your Machine From Turning On

Before you start going through the following list of potential problems ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been unplugged, as well as that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

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

You will probably need the user manual for this as machines vary but the child lock tends to be quite easy to activate without meaning to. Similarly, if the dishwasher has lights but will not run, the answer might be as simple as resetting the cycle.

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

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

To examine these electrical components you will need a multimeter, or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter) to test the resistance as well as check the electrical components are operating as they should.

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to operate if these are not working for understandable reasons. There’s no way you would want run the dishwasher without meaning to with the door ajar.

A broken switch will stop your dishwasher from turning on as well as running. You may wish to test the switch using a multimeter. The switch is generally found behind the front door panel or control panel.

Double check the machine is unplugged before taking off the door panel plus checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

If you discover the latches or switches are not working you will need to replace them.

Testing the Timer

If the door latch and door latch switch, are working as they are meant to the next component to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the part of the machine that distributes electricity to all the other parts the machine needs to operate such as the pumps, plus the valves.

If your machine has an electric control rather than a mechanical timer then it may need to be checked 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 and will vary contingent on the make and model of your machine. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully depressed may cause the machine not to turn on.

You can usually visually check to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you could have to unplug the dishwasher and have a look at the control panel to check the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative part that could result in your machine not running, and this may be the fault if you have checked the control panel and thus have discovered that there should be power running to the main pump.

To investigate if this is the case you will have to gain access to the motor as well as find the relay that will usually be located next to it. This may then be taken out plus tested with a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have checked the above issues and are yet to find the fault the next component to investigate would be the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is there to protect the control board.

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 could check that may prevent your dishwasher from running is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

When you have tested the other electrical components and still haven’t discovered the issue this may be the issue particularly if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

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

When to Get in Touch With a Professional

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.

If you are happy to undertake the above troubleshooting then you might well be able to fix the fault without needing a professional. But if you are con confident it’s always better to contact an engineer.

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

More Dishwasher Problems:

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