Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Finding out your dishwasher isn’t working is never going to be the best part of your day, especially if you are also faced with the expense of calling out an engineer and taking time off work to let them in just to diagnose the fault.

Fortunately it’s often easy to determine and often resolve many machine faults yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you have a multimeter.

You may find you can fix the issue quite easily by yourself, especially if you are quite handy, and if you can’t at least you will be better placed to describe the issue when you do call a repair man.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

Before you start looking for a replacement machine there are a few simple problems you should be able to troubleshoot without too much trouble.

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

Routine Dishwasher Problems That Will Prevent Your Machine From Starting

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

At this point you may wish to also check that the child lock hasn’t been activated plus try resetting your dishwasher.

You will often require the manual to do this as models are all different however the child lock tends to be quite easy to activate without meaning to. Likewise, the dishwasher could have power but will not start, in this case the solution could be as easy as resetting the cycle.

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

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

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

Testing the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches as well as door latch switches. Your dishwasher is designed not to operate if the door latches are faulty for understandable reasons. You wouldn’t want run the dishwasher without meaning to with the door not closed.

A defective switch will prevent your machine from starting and operating. You can check the switch using a multimeter. The switch will usually be situated behind the front door panel or control panel.

Double check you have disconnected power to the machine before taking off the door panel plus 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.

Testing 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 component that distributes electricity to all the other parts the machine requires to run including the pumps, plus the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher is controlled electronically as opposed to mechanically then it might need to be tested while plugged in, in which case you will need to call a repair person.

Testing the Selector Switch

This is the part of your machine that selects the cycle and will vary depending on the make and model of your dishwasher. A faulty selector switch or one that has got stuck could cause the machine not to turn on.

You can usually see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you might have to disconnect the dishwasher in order to gain access to the control panel to test the contact points for continuity using a multimeter.

Checking the Motor Relay

The motor relay is an alternative component that may cause your machine not to start, so this may be the fault if you have tested the control panel and thus have ascertained that there is power running to the motor.

To check this you will have to locate the motor plus locate the relay that should be mounted next to it. This could then be removed plus checked using a multimeter, if broken it might need to be replaced.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

If you have checked all the above and are yet to find the fault the next part to test would be 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 to restore power to the control board.

Examining the Drive Motor

The final part of the dishwasher you should be able to investigate that could stop your dishwasher from running is the drive motor. This is the part of the machine that moves the water around to wash your dishes.

When you have checked the other components and still haven’t discovered the issue this may be the cause of the problem especially if you noticed a loud humming coming from the machine.

You can usually access the motor by removing the lower access panel. Test it with the help of a multimeter then replace if not working.

When to Contact a Repair person

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 professional sooner rather than later.

If you are happy to undertake the above checks then you might well be able to fix the issue without needing a professional. Yet if you are con confident it’s always better to contact an engineer.

Plus check your insurance and your home cover as dishwasher repairs could 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