Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken is never going to be the highlight your day, particularly if you are also faced with the expense of phoning a professional as well as taking time off work to let them in just to determine the issue.

Fortunately it’s possible to determine and often sort out plenty of dishwasher faults by yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you have a multimeter.

You could find you can fix the issue quite easily by yourself, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at worst you will be better placed to describe the issue when you do call a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Start

Before you start looking for a new dishwasher there are a few possible problems you can identify fairly easily.

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

Common Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Machine From Turning On

In advance of checking your machine for faults make sure that your machine hasn’t been inadvertently switched off, as well as that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

This is also an opportune moment to see if the child lock hasn’t been activated and try resetting your dishwasher.

You will most likely require the user manual to do this as machines are all different but the child lock is usually quite easy to activate without meaning to. Likewise, if the dishwasher has lights yet will not run, the solution might be as easy as resetting the program.

Once you have eliminated these faults it’s time for the real investigations to begin.

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

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

Examining the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches plus door latch switches. Your dishwasher is designed not to start if the door latches are not working for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want start the dishwasher without meaning to with the door open.

A defective switch will prevent your machine from starting as well as completing a cycle. You may wish to check the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally found behind the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure you have disconnected power to the machine before accessing the door panel as well as checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

If the door latch and door latch switch, are working as they should the next thing 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 needs to operate such as the pumps, and the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically rather than mechanically then it could have to be tested while connected, in which case you will need to call a repair man.

Testing the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the cycle and will vary depending on the make or model of your dishwasher. A faulty selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down may result in the dishwasher not to turn on.

You should be able to visually investigate to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might need to disconnect the machine in order to gain access to the control panel to test the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that could cause your dishwasher not to run, thus this could be the problem if you have tested the control panel and so know that there should be power going to the motor.

To check this you will have to locate the motor as well as locate the relay that should be mounted next to the motor. This may then be removed plus tested with the help of a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

When you have tested all the above and are yet to find the problem the next component to test is the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

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

Testing the Drive Motor

The final part of the machine you should be able to investigate that might 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.

Once you have checked the other components but still aren’t getting anywhere this might be the culprit especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You should be able to locate the motor by taking off the panel at the bottom of the machine. Check it with the help of a multimeter and replace if faulty.

When to Get in Touch With an Engineer

If you don’t have a multimeter and are not confident in taking panels off your machine and testing the parts then you will need to call a professional sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to perform the above checks then you may well be able to sort out the fault without assistance. But if you are not sure it might be easier to call in the professionals.

Don’t forget to examine your insurance and your home cover as appliance repairs may be covered meaning the expense may not be as high as you think.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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