We've independently reviewed this article to make sure it's as accurate as we can make it.
To find out more about our article creation and review process, check out our editorial guidelines.
Dishwashers have become one of the most important appliances in the home, and I know how frustrating it is when your dishwasher is not working properly.
Fortunately, there are ways you can address this issue.
A few possible reasons why your dishwasher may not be starting include:
- Something wrong with the door latch system.
- The electric control not working properly.
- The selector switch not behaving as it should.
- A failed thermal fuse.
Are you ready to learn more about how to address these issues? If so, benefit from the research we have done, and take a look at some of the solutions to this problem below! This can go a long way toward helping you fix your dishwasher.
This article contains a lot of repair advice. Before we get started, it’s worth noting that dishwasher parts can be expensive, depending upon the part needed. In many cases, it may make sense to save the money and apply it toward a new dishwasher.
This is because of not only the price point of a new dishwasher, related to a refrigerator, is often inexpensive in comparison. But also that the average age expectancy of a dishwasher is around 7-10 years. Putting large amounts of money in to a 7+ year old dishwasher will likely not make sense.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s dive in!
Common Fixes For A Dishwasher Not Starting
Before we get into a lot of the causes we have discussed above, you should try a few common fixes to see if this helps your dishwasher get started. Even though these may sound a bit elementary, they are often overlooked even by the most experienced homeowners.
A few steps that might fix your dishwasher include:
- Check and make sure your dishwasher is plugged in and the power cord and plug are in good condition. Sounds simplistic, but something may have happened to disturb the plug or cable.
- Next, you should turn your attention to the circuit breaker. If you have verified that the dishwasher is plugged in but still will not work, head over to the breaker box. See if the switch is flipped to the wrong position.
- After this, you should make sure the child lock setting has not been turned on. There are a lot of dishwashers that come with a child lock button today. This is designed to prevent your children from changing the settings of your appliance, but it could also prevent your dishwasher from starting.
- Finally, you may want to try resetting your dishwasher. All you have to do is unplug your appliance, allow it to reset itself for a few minutes, and then plug it back in again.
If you have done all of these steps already, it is time to dive deeper into how your dishwasher works, a few common problems you may encounter, and how you can fix them.
How To Fix a Defective Door Latch On A Dishwasher
One of the most common reasons why your dishwasher won’t turn on is that there is something wrong with the door latch assembly. This includes the door lock switches. The door latch is in charge of making sure your dishwasher stays closed as it is washing your dishes. If the door’s not closed and your dishwasher turns on, you could end up flooding your kitchen. This could lead to serious damage, which is why the door latch system is in place.
If there is something wrong with the door latch system in your kitchen, your dishwasher is going to detect that a door is not closed. As a result, it will not turn on. You may have to replace your door latch assembly, but there are a few ways you can test this problem.
Before we get started on a lengthy fix, make sure that the door is closing fully and not obstructed by cabinets, dishes, dirt or food, etc.
These steps include:
- First, you need to unplug your dishwasher.
- Then, take a look at the top of your dishwasher door. You may have to remove the inner door panel to locate the assembly system. You may want to use the tech sheet to help you (you can often find this online for your model).
- After you find the door latch assembly, make sure it is properly activating the switches. To do this, insert the door catch into the assembly. If it does not activate, then you need to replace the door latch system.
- You may also want to use a multimeter to test the continuity of the door latch system. If you get a reading that is 0, then it is time to replace it.
Here’s a good walkthrough video to help:
If you have confirmed that there is something wrong with the door latch system, you will need to replace the latch assembly. Thankfully, this is typically a straightforward repair and usually quite inexpensive. Some models even allow for replacing an inexpensive micro-switch vs the entire assembly.
After you get the new door latch assembly, go back to the owner manual and take a look at how to install the new system. Then, your new dishwasher should start working properly. If you are uncomfortable with this at any time, you should call a professional.
Electric Timer Control Stopping Dishwasher From Starting
If the door latch assembly is working properly, the next thing to do is to check the electric timer control. This is a part of the control panel. It controls how long the wash cycle turns on and stays active.
If there is something wrong with this system, the timer is not going to receive the power it requires to start to cycle. As a result, your dishwasher is not going to turn on.
If you can, to test this you’ll need to unplug your dishwasher and find the way to access the control board (this varies depending on the model). You’ll typically need the owner manual or technician sheet to find your model’s specific instructions. You’ll need to test the board with a multimeter to verify whether it’s working, or if it needs to be replaced.
Again, you should take a look at the price of replacing the electric control, comparing this to the price of getting a new dishwasher. That way, you can figure out if replacing the electric control is worth it.
How To Fix an Issue with a Dishwasher Selector Switch (aka User Interface)
Another possible reason why your dishwasher may not be behaving properly is that something is wrong with the selector switch. This is a switch that allows you to select different options for your wash cycle. Depending on the exact type of dishwasher you have, this switch may prevent your dishwasher from starting properly.
First, you should take a look at the buttons and make sure none of them have gotten stuck after being pressed down. If this is the issue, it could be why your selector switch is not receiving the right signal. If you have confirmed that there are no buttons that are permanently stuck, there are several steps you need to follow. These include:
- First, make sure you remove your dishwasher from its power source.
- Then, you need to take apart the inner door panel. This is commonly where the selector switch is located.
- Take a look at the selector switch and make sure it is in the correct position, comparing it to the owner’s manual. If it is not, you need to remove it from your Appliance.
- You should use your multimeter to test the continuity of the selector switch. Make sure you are getting an appropriate reading by comparing the reading to your owner’s manual.
- Depending on the type of dishwasher you have, you may need to test multiple parts of the selector switch. If you are not getting the appropriate readings, you may need to replace the entire thing.
As always, you need to think about the cost of replacing the selector switch. Make sure it is worth it when compared to the price of replacing your dishwasher.
How To Address a Damaged or Broken Thermal Fuse
Finally, you may need to test a thermal fuse as well. The thermal fuse is an important safety component of your dishwasher. The job of the thermal fuse is to cut the power to the control panel if it senses that your dishwasher is over-heating. It will also cut the power to your dishwasher if there is a short circuit in the wire. If the thermal fuse blows, this can stop your house from catching fire; however, it can also prevent your dishwasher from turning on.
There are two possible reasons why your thermal fuse might not be working properly. The first is that your thermal fuse has blown at some point in the past. As a result, your dishwasher not getting power due to the blown thermal fuse, and won’t power on as a result.
The second reason why your thermal fuse might not be getting properly is that it is intact, but the dishwasher is not reading it properly. Regardless of the reason why your thermal fuse is not behaving properly, you need to go to the inside door panel of the dishwasher. This is usually where a thermal fuse is located.
If the thermal fuse has been blown, some designs will allow you to observe this visually. However, if the thermal fuse appears intact, you need to test the continuity to make sure it has a continuous electrical path.
If you have confirmed that your thermal fuse is blown, then you need to replace it. While the fuse itself is inexpensive, the reason WHY the thermal fuse has blown may be more expensive.
A blown thermal fuse is a signal of a larger issue, which has caused the dishwasher to get too hot. So while repairing a thermal fuse can be quite cheap, finding and repairing the underlying issue can be more difficult.
Get Your Dishwasher Starting Again
Ultimately, these are just a few of the many reasons why your dishwasher may not be turning on. Some of these reasons are relatively straightforward, such as making sure the dishwasher is plugged in, and ensuring the circuit breaker is behaving properly. Other reasons could be significant, requiring you to replace a part of your dishwasher.
In the end, a lot of these fixes you might be able to handle on your own; however, you always need to make sure you put safety first by unplugging your dishwasher before you get started. Remember to reach out to a professional if you are uncomfortable at any point.