Dishwasher Won’t Start

dishwasher repair man repairing a dishwasher
A dishwasher is a smart appliance that saves time, water, and energy. Regular maintenance with our Ideal Fix professionals prevents common operating issues, but what should you do when a faulty component causes your dishwasher to malfunction?
When a dishwasher won’t start, home repairs might seem intimidating, but it is not as challenging as you may imagine. It also provides an inexpensive way to fix your device without calling a service technician.
Here are six reasons your dishwasher won’t start with possible fixes recommended by the Ideal Fix experts:

Faulty Door Latch Switch

If your Kenmore dishwasher won’t start, the issue could be the door latch switches. A dishwasher’s door latch ensures it stays shut during a cycle to prevent water leaks. It also turns on the door switch to supply electric power to your dishwasher when the machine is closed.

If the door does not latch properly, it cannot activate the latch switches, and the dishwasher won’t run.
  • Unplug the dishwasher to inspect the door latch and switches.
  • Remove the inner door panel to access the door latch assembly at the top.
  • Confirm that the latch activates the switches when you close the dishwasher door.
  • If the door latch activates the controls, remove these mechanisms and use a multi-meter to test for continuity.
  • If the controls do not have continuity, you may need to replace the door latch assembly. 

Defective Timer or Electronic Control

A dishwasher’s timer controls most of its major components. When the timer activates, it typically supplies power to each part of the cycle in sequence. The first step of the dishwasher cycle is the drain function, which removes standing water from the bottom of the tub.
The timer also sends power to the heater circuit, water inlet valve, and the drain pump motor. A faulty timer or electronic control prevents these components from receiving a current, and the machine won’t work.
If your Samsung dishwasher won’t start, unplug the dishwasher and work the inner door panel loose to access the timer or electronic control.
  • Access the timer (look behind the cycle control knob), and inside the timer housing you will find several contacts that are controlled by a little motor.
  • Use a multi-meter to check the timer contacts for continuity.

Damaged Selector Switch

The selector switch is on your dishwasher’s control panel. It lets you choose the type of cycle, such as Energy-Saver Dry, Quick Wash, and heated wash cycles.
For some models, the selector switch is also part of the fill circuit on the motor. For example, an LG dishwasher won’t start if the buttons for a selector switch aren’t pushed down. It also won’t work if the switch is not connecting well.
Check to make sure that the selector buttons move all the way down when pressed (it should be flat and hold its position). If it does, but the dishwasher still doesn’t start, unplug the machine and remove the panel on the door’s interior to access the selector switch. If the switch button is properly depressed from that angle, remove it from the control panel to check its contacts for continuity.

Faulty Motor Start Relay

If your KitchenAid dishwasher won’t start and you are sure it is receiving power through the outlet, the next thing to do is check the motor start relay. The main pump motor comes on via a start relay for most dishwashers. The start relay then sends current to the motor and jump-starts the windings.
If your dishwasher is receiving power but not running, you may need to replace the motor start relay.
Unplug the dishwasher and locate the motor (the start relay lies close to the motor). Use the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website to check the wiring diagram. Use a multi-meter to check the coil section for continuity—it should show continuity whenever the dishwasher is on. The switch contacts should only show continuity when activated. If the machine doesn’t show continuity, turn the relay upside down—once the plunger drops, the switch contacts should have continuity.

Thermal Fuse Issues

Electronic dishwashers feature a thermal fuse that powers the control board. The feature also turns it off whenever the dishwasher overheats.
If the fuse breaks, the control board will not receive power, and your dishwasher won’t start.
If your GE dishwasher won’t start, start by unplugging it and follow these steps:
  • Unscrew the inner door panel and locate the thermal fuse—it comes with two wires.
  • Remove these wires and use a multi-meter to check for continuity.
Once you replace the faulty thermal fuse, your dishwasher should regain its normal function.

Broken Drive Motor

If your Whirlpool dishwasher won’t start, check whether the drive motor is functioning as it should. A drive motor’s primary function is to circulate the water around the dishwasher to clean the dishes during a wash cycle.
If both the timer (electronic control) and the start relay are functioning normally, the next best possibility is a faulty drive motor.
If the motor isn’t rotating, it could be due to broken windings. You may also hear a loud hum originating from the motor. It’s a significant problem for this type of appliance.
  • Unplug the dishwasher.
  • Remove the lower access panel to locate the drive motor.
  • Use your multi-meter to check the motor windings for continuity.
If you discover that your drive motor is at fault, the next step is to request a replacement from the professionals at Ideal Fix. We have years of experience with dishwashers and other appliances from all major brands.

Is Your Dishwasher Still Not Working?

If you’ve tried these quick fixes at home and you still can’t revive your dishwasher, it’s time to contact our reputable dishwasher technicians in your area. Ideal Fix has dishwasher repair specialists who understand the frustrations that come with a broken machine and work quickly to restore it.
Our experts know how to solve dishwasher issues regardless of the age, make, or model. If you need to consult with one of our skilled technicians about your dishwasher or any other household appliance, contact Ideal Fix today.

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