Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher is broken isn’t a good way to begin your day, especially if you have to deal with the expense of calling out a repair person as well as taking time off work to let them in just to determine the problem.

Luckily it’s possible to diagnose and often resolve a number of machine problems yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, particularly if you own a multimeter.

You could find you can resolve the problem quite easily by yourself, especially if you are good at DIY, and if not at least you will have a better idea of the problem when you eventually do call an engineer.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of considering a new dishwasher there are a number of simple issues you can troubleshoot without too much trouble.

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

Everyday Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Machine From Turning On

Before you begin going through the following list of potential faults make sure that your dishwasher hasn’t been accidentally switched off, plus that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

At this point you may wish to also check that the child lock isn’t on and try resetting your dishwasher.

You will probably need the user guide for this due to the fact that machines vary however the child lock is usually quite easy to activate accidentally. Likewise, the machine could have lights but will not run, in this case the solution might be as easy as resetting the program.

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

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

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

Checking the Door Latch as well as the Door Latch Switch

The first thing to test is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your dishwasher is designed not to operate if the door latches are broken for obvious reasons. You wouldn’t want to be able to inadvertently run the machine with the door ajar.

A defective switch will stop your machine from starting and running. You should check the switch with a multimeter. The switch is generally located behind the front door panel or control panel.

Make sure you have disconnected power to the dishwasher prior to removing the door panel and checking for continuity to prevent yourself from getting an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

If you have tested your door latch plus door latch switch and discovered they are operating correctly 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 electrical components the machine needs to run including the motor, plus the valves.

If your dishwasher has an electronic control as opposed to a mechanical timer then it could have to be checked while plugged in, this can be dangerous and should only be done by someone who is professionally trained.

Checking the Selector Switch

The selector switch is the component that chooses the program and will vary depending on the make as well as the model of your dishwasher. A faulty selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down might cause the dishwasher not to turn on.

You can usually see if the buttons are depressing fully, or you might have to unplug the machine and access the control panel to check the connections for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is another component that can cause your machine not to start, so this might be the issue if you have checked the control panel and thus know that there should be power going to the main pump.

To investigate if this is the case you need to gain access to the motor as well as find the relay that will usually be mounted next to the motor. This could then be removed plus tested with the help of a multimeter, if broken you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have tested all the above yet still haven’t found the issue the next part to check is the thermal fuse. Note: Not all machines have a thermal fuse.

If you locate the fuse and discover it is blown it will need to be replaced in order for the control board to get power.

Testing the Drive Motor

The final part of the machine you should be able to investigate that may prevent your dishwasher from working is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that circulates the water to wash your dishes.

When you have checked the other electrical components and still haven’t discovered the issue this might be the issue particularly if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You should be able to locate the motor by removing the panel at the bottom of the machine. Test it using a multimeter then replace if faulty.

When to Contact a Professional

If you don’t have a multimeter or are not confident in taking panels off your machine and testing the electrical components then you will be better off calling an engineer sooner rather than later.

If you do have a multimeter and can perform the above tests then you may well be able to resolve the issue without needing a professional. Yet if you are not sure it might be easier to contact an engineer.

Plus have a look at your warranty as well as your home cover as dishwasher repairs might be included and so the expense might not be as high as you think.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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