Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the highlight your day, particularly if you are also faced with the expense of calling out a professional and taking time off work to let them in just to diagnose the problem.

Fortunately it’s often easy to pinpoint and often resolve plenty of machine problems yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you own a multimeter.

You may find you are able to resolve the fault quite easily alone, particularly if you are quite handy, and if you can’t at worst you will have a better idea of the fault when you do call an engineer.

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you start considering a replacement dishwasher there are a few possible issues you can troubleshoot fairly easily.

Safety Warning: Always make sure your dishwasher is unplugged before testing or replacing any electrical components.

Routine Dishwasher Issues That Will Stop Your Machine From Starting

In advance of going through the following list of potential problems make sure that your machine hasn’t been unplugged, plus that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

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

You will often require the user manual to do this as models are all different but the child lock tends to be quite simple to put on inadvertently. Similarly, the machine could have power yet will not run, in this case the answer could be as simple as resetting the cycle.

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

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

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

Examining the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to run if these are faulty for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want start the machine without meaning to with the door ajar.

A broken switch will stop your dishwasher from starting and operating. You may wish to test the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be situated behind the front door panel or control panel.

Double check you have disconnected power to the machine prior to accessing the door panel and checking for continuity to make sure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

If your latch mechanism is operating as it should the next thing to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the component that distributes electricity to all the other electrical components the machine requires to operate such as the pumps, as well as the valves.

If your machine is controlled electronically rather than mechanically then it might 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 component that chooses the program , it’s style and location will vary contingent on the make and model of your dishwasher. A faulty selector switch or even one that has not been fully depressed could cause the dishwasher not to run.

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

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another component that can cause your machine not to run, and this could be the problem if you have tested the control panel and have ascertained that there is power running to the motor.

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

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have investigated all the above but still haven’t found the problem the next component to test is the thermal fuse. This will only be found on some models and is there to stop the control board overheating.

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 can check that may stop your machine from running is the drive motor. This is the component that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

Once you have checked the other components and still haven’t discovered the issue this might be the issue especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You should be able to locate the motor by removing the lower access panel. Test it with the help of a multimeter and replace if not working.

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 a professional.

If you are happy to undertake the above checks then you may well be able to resolve the problem without needing a professional. But if you are unsure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

Don’t forget to check your insurance and your home cover as appliance repairs could be covered meaning the costs may be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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