Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher is broken isn’t a great way to start your day, particularly if you have to deal with the expense of calling out a repair person as well as taking time off work to meet them just to diagnose the issue.

Fortunately it’s often easy to determine and often sort out a number of machine faults alone without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you are able to find a multimeter.

You may discover you are able to sort out the fault quite easily by yourself, particularly if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at least you will have a better idea of the problem when you do call a repair man.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you begin considering a replacement dishwasher there are a few possible problems you should be able to troubleshoot fairly easily.

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

Common Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Dishwasher From Starting

In advance of checking your dishwasher for issues ensure that your machine hasn’t been unplugged, plus that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

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

You will often need the user manual to do this due to the fact that models vary but the child lock is often fairly simple to activate inadvertently. Likewise, the machine could have lights but will not run, in this case the answer may be as easy as resetting the program.

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

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

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

Testing 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 operate if these are broken for obvious reasons. There’s no way you would want start the dishwasher without meaning to with the door not closed.

A faulty switch will prevent your machine from turning on and operating. You can check the switch using a multimeter. The switch is generally found behind the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure the machine is unplugged before removing the door panel plus checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

If the latch mechanism is working as it should the next component to check is the timer or electronic control.

This is the part of the machine that distributes electricity to all the other parts the machine needs to operate including the pumps, plus the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically rather than mechanically then it might have to be checked while live, in which case you will need to call a repair person.

Testing the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that chooses the program , it’s style and location will vary depending on the make as well as the model of your dishwasher. A not working selector switch or one that has got stuck could result in the machine not to start.

You should be able to visually investigate to see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might need to unplug the machine and have a look at the control panel to check the contact points for continuity with the help of a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that may result in your machine not starting, thus this could be the problem if you have checked the control panel and thus have ascertained that there is power running to the motor.

To investigate if this is the case you need to locate the motor and find the relay that should be mounted next to it. This may then be removed as well as checked with the help of a multimeter, if broken it might need to be replaced.

Examining the Thermal Fuse

Once you have checked all the above yet still haven’t found the problem the next component to check would be the thermal fuse. Note: Not all dishwashers have a thermal fuse.

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

Checking the Drive Motor

The final component you can investigate that could stop your dishwasher from running is the drive motor. This is the component that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

Once you have tested the other parts yet still aren’t getting anywhere this could be the culprit especially if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually gain access to the motor by removing the lower access panel. Check it by using a multimeter then replace if faulty.

When to Contact 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 an engineer sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to perform the above troubleshooting then you might well be able to fix the issue without needing a professional. However if you are unsure it might be easier to contact an engineer.

Don’t forget to have a look at your insurance as well as your home cover as dishwasher repairs could be covered meaning the costs might not be as high as you think.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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