Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher isn’t working is never going to be the highlight your day, especially if you are also faced with the expense of phoning a professional and staying home to meet them just to diagnose the fault.

Luckily it’s very feasible to pinpoint and often fix a number of machine issues yourself without having to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you are able to find a multimeter.

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

Things To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of considering a new machine there are a few possible problems you should be able to identify fairly easily.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Issues That Will Prevent Your Machine From Starting

In advance of investigating your dishwasher for problems ensure that your dishwasher hasn’t been accidentally switched off, plus that there are no tripped switches in the circuit breaker.

At this point you should also check that the child lock isn’t on as well as try resetting your machine.

You will often require the user guide for this as models are all different but the child lock is usually quite easy to engage inadvertently. Similarly, the machine might have lights however will not run, in this case the answer may be as simple as resetting the program.

When you have eliminated these problems you can start the real troubleshooting.

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

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

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first thing to check is the door latches and door latch switches. Your dishwasher is not designed to start if these are broken for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want start the dishwasher without meaning to with the door open.

A defective switch will stop your dishwasher from starting as well as running. You can check the switch using a multimeter. The switch will usually be located behind the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure the machine is disconnected prior to taking off the door panel and checking for continuity to ensure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

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

This is the component that distributes power to all the other parts the machine requires to run such as the motor, and the valves.

If your dishwasher has an electric control rather than a mechanical timer then it could need 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 cycle and will vary contingent on the make or model of your machine. A broken selector switch or one that has got stuck might cause the dishwasher not to turn on.

You should be able to visually investigate to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you might need to unplug the dishwasher in order to gain access to the control panel to test the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Testing the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another component that could result in your dishwasher not starting, so this might be the problem if you have tested the control panel and know that there is power going to the main pump.

To test this you will have to locate the motor plus find the relay that will usually be located next to the motor. This can then be removed and checked using a multimeter, if faulty you may have to replace it.

Checking the Thermal Fuse

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

If it will need to be replaced in order for the control board to get power.

Checking the Drive Motor

The final component you should be able to check that may prevent your machine from running is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

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

You can usually locate the motor by removing the lower access panel. Check it by using a multimeter and replace if broken.

When to Contact a Professional

If you don’t have a multimeter and are not confident in taking panels off your dishwasher and checking the electrical components then you will be better off calling a professional sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above checks then you could well be able to resolve the issue without needing a professional. Yet if you are con confident it might be easier to call in the professionals.

Plus have a look at your insurance and your home cover as appliance repairs may be covered meaning the costs might be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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