Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher has stopped working is never going to be the best part of your day, particularly if you have to deal with the cost of calling out a professional and taking time off work to let them in just to pinpoint the issue.

Fortunately it’s often easy to pinpoint and even sort out a number of machine issues yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you happen to are able to find a multimeter.

You could discover you are able to resolve the fault quite easily yourself, particularly if you are quite handy, and if not at least you will be better placed to describe the issue when you do have to call a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of looking for a replacement machine there are a few possible issues you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Common Dishwasher Faults That Will Prevent Your Machine From Turning On

Before you start going through the following list of potential faults ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been switched off, as well as that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

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

You will probably need the manual to do this as models vary but the child lock is usually quite simple to put on accidentally. Similarly, the dishwasher could have lights but will not start, in this case the answer could be as simple as resetting the program.

When you have eliminated these issues it’s time for the real detective work to begin.

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

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

Testing the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to start if these are faulty for understandable reasons. There’s no way you would want run the machine without meaning to with the door not closed.

A faulty switch will prevent your machine from turning on and completing a cycle. You can check the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally situated behind the front door panel or control panel.

Double check the dishwasher is unplugged before removing the door panel plus checking for continuity to ensure you do not get an electric shock.

If the latches or switches are broken you will need to replace them.

Testing the Timer

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

This is the part of the machine that distributes electricity to all the different components the machine requires to run such as the motor, and the water inlet valve.

If your machine is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it may have to be checked while live, 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 program , it’s style and location will vary depending on the make or model of your machine. A broken selector switch or one that has got stuck may result in the dishwasher not to run.

You can usually visually check to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you could have to disconnect the dishwasher in order to gain access to the control panel to check the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that could result in your dishwasher not running, and this might be the fault if you have tested the control panel and thus have discovered that there is power running to the motor.

To check this you need to locate the motor plus find the relay that should be located next to the motor. This could then be removed and tested using a multimeter, if broken it could have to be replaced.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

Once you have investigated the above issues yet still haven’t found the fault the next part to test would be the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

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 can investigate that may prevent your dishwasher from running is the drive motor. This is the component that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

Once you have checked the other parts and still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the cause of the problem especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually locate the motor by removing the lower access panel. Test it using a multimeter then 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 repair person.

If you are happy to perform the above checks then you might well be able to resolve the fault without assistance. However if you are not sure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

Plus check your warranty as well as your home cover as appliance repairs may 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