REPAIR > DISHWASHER > WILL NOT START

How to Fix a Dishwasher That Won’t Start

A dishwasher that won’t start can be frustrating and repairing it through a serviceman can be expensive. Even for someone who may not consider themselves handy, repairing a dishwasher is not a difficult process. Below we’ve provided you with a list of the most common parts that fix a dishwasher that will not start. Use this information to help troubleshoot which part is broken, and then enter your model number in the search box to find the right part for you, along with tons of helpful information like our step by step installation videos and instructions.

Door Latch Or Door Latch Switch

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    If your dishwasher won’t start the problem could be the door latch or door latch switches. The door latch assembly is used to hold the door closed during the cycle to prevent water from leaking and it also incorporates the door latch switches that supply power to the dishwasher controls. If the door cannot close properly to activate the door latch switches or if the switches are defective then the dishwasher controls will not receive power and the dishwasher will not start. Inspect the latch assembly including the switches.

    The door latch assembly is typically located at the top of the door, behind the inner door panel. To gain access you will have to remove the screws that secure the inner door panel and then separate the inner and outer door. The door latch assembly will normally have two switches that are wired in series as a safety feature. Verify that the door catch will activate the switches by manually inserting the catch into the latch assembly. If both switches are being mechanically activated then you should next check the switches for continuity with a multi-meter. Remove power from the appliance before attempting this repair.

    Timer Or Electronic Control

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    If you have determined that the door latch assembly is operating properly and your dishwasher still won’t start, the next step would be to look at the timer or electronic control. The first step of the dishwasher cycle is normally a drain function to remove any standing water in the tub. If you do not hear the drain pump motor running then you should look at the timer or electronic control as a possible cause. On manual timer models the timer is used to supply power to the pump motor, water inlet valve, heater circuit and drain pump motor at the proper sequence in the cycle. The timer uses a series of electrical contacts that are driven by a small motor all of which are encased in the timer housing.

    You can check the timer contacts for continuity with a multi-meter using the schematic diagram for your model to determine which contacts control the motor and inlet valve circuits. Remove power from the appliance before attempting this repair. On electronic control models the main circuit board performs the same function as a mechanical timer using a microprocessor and electric relays to control the motor and inlet valve circuits. You can check the output of the relays with a multi-meter. This is a live voltage check and should only be performed by a qualified person. Electronic control models may also display a fault code when a failure occurs. Both the mechanical timer and the electronic control board are typically located behind the control panel at the top of the door. You will need to remove the inner door panel to gain access.

    Selector Switch

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    The selector switch on a dishwasher is used to select different options for the individual cycles, such as heated dry and heated wash cycles. Depending on the model involved, the switch may be used in the motor or fill circuit and could cause a dishwasher to not start if it were defective or if the selector buttons were not fully depressed. Check to insure that the switch is properly depressed before attempting any disassembly. The contacts of the selector switch can be checked for continuity with a multi-meter using the schematic diagram as a guide. The selector switch is located on the control panel and you will need to remove the inner door panel to gain access. Remove power from the appliance before attempting this repair.

    Motor Start Relay

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      Some models of dishwashers use a start relay on the main pump motor. The start relay is used to supply power to the motor start windings until the motor is running and has a moving plunger inside that operates a set of contacts. If your dishwasher won’t start and you have verified that you are getting power from the control circuit to the motor, then the motor start relay may be defective. The relay is normally mounted next to the motor and you can check it for continuity with a multi-meter and the wiring diagram for the dishwasher. The coil portion of the relay should show continuity all the time and the switch contact portion should show continuity when activated. You can manually activate the relay to test for continuity by turning it upside down and allowing the plunger to drop. Disconnect power from the dishwasher before attempting this repair.

      Thermal Fuse

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        Some models of electronic controlled dishwashers use a thermal fuse to protest the control board. The thermal fuse is normally located on the top side of the circuit board assembly with two wires attached to it. When the thermal fuse fails, the control board will not receive power and the dishwasher will not start. To check the thermal fuse you will need to access the control panel by removing the inner door and then remove the two wires from the thermal fuse. You can then check for continuity with a multi-meter. Remove power from the appliance before attempting this repair.

        Drive Motor

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        A dishwasher’s drive motor is the part that circulates the water to wash the items inside. Electrical power to operate the drive motor is supplied through the timer, or the electronic control, in conjunction with a start relay. If the dishwasher won’t start after the start relay sends power to the motor, this could indicate that the drive motor is defective. You can test the motor windings for continuity with a multi-meter. You may also hear a loud, humming noise coming from the motor – this could indicate a seized motor, which would need to be replaced. Remove power from the dishwasher before attempting any repairs.

        More Repair Parts

          We’ve identified the most common parts that can cause a dishwasher to not start, but there are other parts that could be at fault. If you are unable to fix your dishwasher with the information above, enter your model number into the search box for additional repair help. Searching with your model number will give you access to all parts and schematics, symptoms for your specific dishwasher as well as all installation instructions and videos.