Why Won’t My Dishwasher Turn On?

Discovering your dishwasher has stopped working is never going to be the best part of your day, especially if you have to deal with the cost of calling out a repair person as well as staying home to meet them just to pinpoint the fault.

Fortunately it’s very feasible to pinpoint and even sort out a number of dishwasher faults yourself without needing to call for dishwasher repair, especially if you happen to are able to find a multimeter.

You could discover you are able to resolve the problem quite easily alone, especially if you are mechanically minded, and if you can’t at worst you will be better placed to describe the problem when you eventually do phone a repair person.

What To Do If Your Dishwasher Won’t Turn on

In advance of searching for a replacement machine there are a number of common problems you should be able to identify fairly easily.

Safety Warning: Always make sure your machine is unplugged before testing or replacing any electrical components.

Commonplace Dishwasher Issues That Will Stop Your Dishwasher From Starting

Before you start going through the following list of possible issues ensure that it hasn’t been unplugged, as well as that none of the switches on the circuit breaker have tripped.

This is also an opportune moment to check if the child lock hasn’t been activated as well as try resetting your machine.

You will often require the manual for this as models vary but the child lock tends to be quite simple to engage inadvertently. Similarly, the dishwasher might have power but will not run, in this case the answer might be as easy as resetting the cycle.

Once you have ruled out these faults it’s time for the real troubleshooting to start.

    1. Check the door latch or door latch switch.
    2. Check the timer.
    3. Check the selector switch.
    4. Examine the motor relay.
    5. Test the thermal fuse.
    6. Test 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 test the components are working as they are meant to.

Checking the Door Latch and Door Latch Switch

The first place to start is the door latches and door latch switches. Your machine is designed not to operate if the door latches are broken for understandable reasons. There’s no way you would want to be able to inadvertently run the machine with the door ajar.

A broken switch will stop your dishwasher from turning on plus running. You can check the switch with a multimeter. The switch will usually be situated behind the front door panel or control panel.

Ensure the machine is disconnected before accessing the door panel plus testing for continuity to make sure you do not get an electric shock.

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

Checking the Timer

If you have tested your door latch as well as door latch switch and ascertained they are operating as they should the next thing to test is the timer or electronic control.

This is the component that distributes electricity to all the other parts the machine requires to operate such as the pumps, and the water inlet valve.

If your dishwasher has an electric control rather than a mechanical timer then it could need to be checked 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 program and will vary depending on the make and model of your dishwasher. A faulty selector switch or even one that has not been fully pressed down may result in the machine not to turn on.

You can usually visually investigate to see if the buttons are going down all the way, or you may be required to disconnect the dishwasher and 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 part that may cause your machine not to start, so this could be the issue if you have tested the control panel and thus have ascertained that there is power running to the motor.

To check if this is the case 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 and tested with the help of a multimeter and you may have to replace it.

Testing the Thermal Fuse

Once you have investigated all the above but still haven’t found the fault the next part of the machine to check would be the thermal fuse. This may or may not be present and is there to protect the control board.

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

Checking the Drive Motor

The final component you can test that may 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.

If you have tested the other parts and still haven’t discovered the issue this may be the cause of the problem particularly if your machine has previously been making a loud humming noise.

You can usually gain access to 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 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 do have a multimeter and can perform the above checks then you might well be able to resolve the fault without needing a professional. However if you are unsure it’s always better to contact an engineer.

And have a look at your insurance as well as your home cover as dishwasher repairs may be covered meaning the expense could be less than you were expecting.

More Dishwasher Problems:

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