Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the highlight your day, especially if you have to deal with the cost of phoning a repair person and taking time off work to let them in just to diagnose the fault.

Luckily it’s very feasible to diagnose and often resolve a number of dishwasher problems alone without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you have a multimeter.

You might realize you can sort out the problem quite easily yourself, particularly if you are quite handy, and if you can’t at least you will have a better idea of the fault when you eventually do call a repair man.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you start searching for a new machine there are a number of simple faults you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Common Dishwasher Issues That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Turning On

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

You will often need the user guide for this as machines are all different but the child lock is usually quite easy to activate inadvertently. Similarly, if the machine has lights however will not run, the solution might be as simple as resetting the cycle.

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

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

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

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first thing to test is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to start if these are not working for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want run the machine without meaning to with the door open.

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

Make sure you have disconnected power to the machine before taking off the door panel plus testing for continuity to ensure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

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

This is the part of the machine that distributes power to all the other electrical components the machine needs to run including the pumps, as well as the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it might need to be checked while plugged in, 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 cycle , it’s style and location will vary contingent on the make and model of your machine. A broken selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down could result in the machine not to run.

You should be able to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might be required to disconnect the machine in order to have a look at 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 dishwasher not starting, thus this might be the issue if you have checked the control panel and thus know that there is power running to the motor.

To investigate if this is the case you need to locate the motor plus find the relay that will usually be mounted next to the motor. This can then be removed and tested using a multimeter and it could need to be replaced.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have tested all the above and are yet to find the issue the next part of the machine to investigate would be the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is there to stop the control board overheating.

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

Examining the Drive Motor

The final part of the dishwasher you should be able to investigate that might stop your machine from operating is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

If you have tested the other components yet still haven’t discovered the issue this could be the culprit particularly if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You should be able to access the motor by removing the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it with the help of a multimeter and 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 professional sooner rather than later.

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

And have a look at your warranty and your home cover as appliance repairs might be included which means the expense might be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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