Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher has stopped working isn’t a fun way to start your day, especially if you have to deal with the cost of calling out a repair person and taking time off work to let them in just to determine the problem.

Fortunately it’s often easy to determine and often sort out plenty of dishwasher problems alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to are able to find a multimeter.

You might realize you can sort out the fault quite easily yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at worst you will have a better idea of the problem when you do phone a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you start searching for a replacement dishwasher there are a few possible problems you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Common Dishwasher Issues That Will Stop Your Machine From Turning On

In advance of checking your dishwasher for issues ensure that your machine hasn’t been accidentally unplugged, as well as that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

At this point you can also check that the child lock hasn’t been activated and try resetting your machine.

You will probably require the user guide for this as models are all different but the child lock is often quite easy to activate accidentally. Similarly, the dishwasher could have lights however will not run, in this case the answer may be as easy as resetting the cycle.

When you have eliminated these issues you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

To examine these electrical components you will have to have a multimeter, or VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter) to measure the resistance plus test the electrical components are operating 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 start if these are faulty for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want to be able to accidentally run the machine with the door ajar.

A faulty switch will prevent your dishwasher from turning on as well as operating. You may wish to test the switch using a multimeter. The switch will usually be found behind the front door panel or control panel.

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

If the latches or switches are not working you will need a replacement door latch assembly.

Checking the Timer

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

This is the component that sends power to all the other components the machine needs to run such as the motor, plus the valves.

If your dishwasher has an electric control rather than a mechanical timer then it may have to be checked while live, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Checking the Selector Switch

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

You should be able to visually check to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you may be required to disconnect the dishwasher and gain access to the control panel to check the connections for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that could cause your machine not to start, so this might be the issue if you have tested the control panel and so have ascertained that there is power running to the main pump.

To investigate this you will have to find the motor and locate the relay that will usually be located next to it. This may then be removed plus tested with a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

When you have checked all the above yet still haven’t found the fault the next part to check would be the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is designed to protect the control board.

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

Examining the Drive Motor

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

Once you have tested the other parts and still haven’t discovered the issue this could be the culprit particularly if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually locate the motor by taking off the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it using a multimeter then replace if not working.

When to Contact a Repair person

If you don’t have a multimeter or are not confident in taking panels off your dishwasher and testing the electrical components then you will need to call an engineer 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 problem without needing a professional. But if you are not sure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

And check your warranty and your home cover as dishwasher repairs might be covered and so the costs might be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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