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 expense of calling out an engineer plus taking time off work to let them in just to diagnose the issue.

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

You may discover you can resolve the problem quite easily by yourself, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if not at least you will be better placed to describe the issue when you do phone a repair person.

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

In advance of searching for a new dishwasher there are a number of possible issues you should be able to troubleshoot without too much issue.

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

Common Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Machine From Turning On

Before you begin going through the following list of potential faults ensure that it hasn’t been accidentally unplugged, as well as that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

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

You will most likely need the user guide to do this as machines are all different however the child lock is often fairly easy to put on inadvertently. Likewise, the machine may have lights but will not run, in this case the answer could be as simple as resetting the cycle.

When you have ruled out these problems you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

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

Checking the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first thing to check is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to run if the door latches are broken for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want run the machine without meaning to with the door open.

A defective switch will prevent your dishwasher from starting and completing a cycle. You may wish to check the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be found behind the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure the machine is unplugged before removing the door panel plus checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting 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 as well as 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 sends power to all the other parts the machine requires to run such as the pumps, as well as the valves.

If your machine is controlled electronically rather than mechanically then it may need to be tested while live, in which case you should call an engineer.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that chooses the cycle and will vary depending on the make and model of your dishwasher. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down might result in the dishwasher not to start.

You can usually visually check to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you could be required to unplug the machine in order to access the control panel to test the contact points for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another component that can result in your machine not running, so this could be the issue if you have tested the control panel and know that there should be power going to the motor.

To check if this is the case you will have to find the motor and find the relay that should be located next to it. This can then be removed plus tested using a multimeter and you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

When you have investigated the above issues and are still looking for the fault the next component to check is the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is designed to stop the control board overheating.

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

Testing the Drive Motor

The final part of the machine you can check that may prevent your machine from working is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

If you have checked the other electrical components but still haven’t discovered the issue this may be the issue especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually gain access to the motor by removing the panel at the bottom of the machine. Check it with the help of a multimeter then replace if not working.

When to Contact an Engineer

If you don’t have a multimeter and are not confident in taking panels off your dishwasher and checking the components then you will need to call a repair person sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you may well be able to resolve the problem without assistance. But if you are not sure it’s always better to call in the professionals.

Don’t forget to examine your warranty as well as your home cover as dishwasher repairs could be included meaning the expense may be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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