Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the highlight your day, particularly if you have to deal with the expense of phoning an engineer and staying home to meet them just to pinpoint the fault.

The good news is it’s possible to pinpoint and even sort out a number of machine problems alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to have a multimeter.

You could find you can resolve the issue quite easily alone, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at least you will be better placed to describe the issue when you eventually do call a repair man.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you start looking for a new machine there are a few simple issues you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Routine Dishwasher Problems That Will Stop Your Machine From Starting

In advance of investigating your dishwasher for problems make sure that your machine hasn’t been inadvertently switched off, 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 hasn’t been activated and try resetting your machine.

You will often need the user manual for this as machines are all different but the child lock tends to be fairly easy to activate without meaning to. Likewise, if the machine has lights however will not start, the answer may be as easy as resetting the program.

When you have ruled out these issues it’s time for the real troubleshooting to begin.

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

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

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to operate if the door latches are broken for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want to be able to accidentally start the machine with the door not closed.

A faulty switch will stop your machine from turning on and running. You may wish to check the switch using a multimeter. The switch is generally found behind the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure the machine is disconnected prior to accessing the door panel plus testing for continuity to ensure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Testing the Timer

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

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

If your machine has an electric control rather than a mechanical timer then it might have to be checked while connected, in which case you should call a repair person.

Checking the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the cycle and will vary contingent on the make as well as the model of your machine. A broken selector switch or one that has got stuck might result in the machine not to start.

You can usually see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you could have to unplug the dishwasher in order to have a look at the control panel to check the connections for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another part that can result in your dishwasher not starting, and this may be the problem if you have checked the control panel and so have discovered that there is power going to the motor.

To investigate if this is the case you will have to find the motor plus find the relay that should be mounted next to the motor. This can then be taken out and checked using a multimeter, if faulty it could have to be replaced.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have tested all the above and are yet to find the issue the next component to investigate is the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is there to protect the control board.

If you will need to replace it in order to restore power to the control board.

Testing the Drive Motor

The final component you can test that could prevent your machine from operating 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 components but still haven’t discovered the issue this might be the cause of the problem especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually gain access to the motor by taking off the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it using a multimeter and replace if not working.

When to Get in Touch With an Engineer

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 do have a multimeter and can perform the above checks then you may well be able to resolve the fault without needing a professional. Yet if you are not sure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

Plus check your insurance 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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