Dishwashers are great and they can make taking care of your home so much easier. They are also prone to issues and can be hard to keep working properly. If your dishwasher will not start or will not allow you to choose a cycle, there are a few different reasons that this might be happening and a few different solutions to consider.

7 Reasons Why Your Dishwasher Won’t Start / Select Cycle

Make Sure Your Dishwasher has Adequate Power

The first step you need to take is to make sure that your dishwasher has the right amount of power and a constant power supply. This means making sure that it has not come unplugged, that the dishwasher plug is in good shape, and that there are no issues with the socket or the plug. This is the first step and perhaps the most obvious. Most people do not think to check the power when they find out that their dishwasher won’t turn on but it is a more common issue than you might imagine.

Check Your Settings and Reset

Another problem you might be dealing with is a child lock or an issue with the computer of the dishwasher itself. You should check your owner’s manual to determine if there is a child lock on the dishwasher or not and to see if it is perhaps engaged. The child lock is used to make sure that the machine does not start unless the lock is disengaged and turned off so that little ones cannot get inside and start the machine or start the machine from the outside.

Another problem may be that your machine needs to be reset. You can do this by holding down the start or reset button until the computer resets. This is needed if your computer has a glitch or if some other, simple problem is to blame. This is a great place to start with trouble shooting if you have already checked the power and checked that there is no child lock engaged.

Door Latch Issues

Another problem that you might be up against is that the door latch is not working as it should. The door latch of a dishwasher is designed with a sensor in the latch itself that tells the machine and the computer when the latch is fully engaged and when water can begin flowing.

When the latch is not fully closed, it can cause the machine to stall. This is to prevent the dishwasher from starting when the door is not fully closed and therefore not put water on the floor and ruin your kitchen. The door latch switch is located in the latch mechanism that is used provide power to the machine. This also helps to ensure that the door is fully closed before the dishwasher starts.

In order to see if the door latch is the problem, you should locate the latch first and inspect it visually. You can use a multimeter to check the continuity of the circuit and make sure that it is working properly. You can also get the latch replaced if you feel that it is the problem and you feel that it is the issue you are dealing with.

Young woman sitting next to her dishwasher.
Don’t rush out to buy a new dishwasher. Repairing your appliance almost always saves money over buying a new one.

Timer Issues

The timer is another part that might be causing problems. The timer is the electronic component that tells the computer to switch the dishwasher to the next cycle. It helps to control the pump, the heating circuit, the water and more and if the timer is not working well or is not working at all, the dishwasher is not going to work.

You should turn off the power to the dishwasher then use a multimeter to see if it is getting the right power to work. If the timer is not working, it can be replaced rather simply. The timer is located on the bottom of the dishwasher and can be accessed by removing the kickplate at the bottom of the dishwasher and accessing the timer at the bottom.

If you find that the timer is not working, you can replace it then test the dishwasher again to see if the issue is resolved. The timer is somewhat like the brain of the dishwasher and when it malfunctions, there is not going to be enough power delivered to the dishwasher to make sure that it works.

Selector Switch

Another problem may be the selector switch. This switch is responsible for helping you to tell the dishwasher what cycle you want it to go through and when to start and finish. The selector switch is part of the control panel and if it is not being pressed all the way down, it can be an issue and can prevent the dishwasher from starting.

You can check to see if the continuity of the selector switch is working well and if it is going to actually help you select the right cycle and the right option. The selector switch might be stuck between settings, you might want to restart your dishwasher or reset it then make sure that the selector switch is going to work and that it is going to actually depress and select the option that you want.

Motor Start Relay and Drive Motor

If the motor start relay is not working properly it can cause problems as well. This part is used to move all the parts that are in the dishwasher. If the motor relay does not supply power to the motor, it is not going to start and it is certainly not going to wash the way that it needs to.

Your drive motor might also be an issue. The drive motor is responsible for circulating water through the dishwasher. The relay that we already discussed sends power to the motor which then moves the water. If the power relay is not working the entire dishwasher is not going to have adequate power to start or to go through the steps and the processes that it needs to.

A small dishwasher fully loaded
The first signs of a dryer motor going sour can be a loud growling or buzzing when you push the start button, or a motor that shuts off before the cycle is supposed to be finished.


The last issue you might be dealing with is the thermostat. The thermostat is responsible for making sure that the water temperature is right, that the air is the right temperature and more. If the thermostat is not working it will not allow the dishwasher to move from one cycle to another. The thermostat is responsible for sending a signal to the computer that the water is at the right temperature and that the cycle can go no. If the thermostat is not working, it may not allow you to choose a different cycle or start the dishwasher.

These are all fairly common issues that you can trouble shoot yourself without having to call anyone in for repairs. With a little bit of time and a quick inspection of your dishwasher you can figure out what is wrong and can start to work on a solution that works. These are all fairly simple fixes that can help make your dishwasher work well again and can help you to make sure your dishwasher is going to wash freely and wash properly.