How to Fix a Dishwasher That Won't Start


Whether your dishwasher is newly installed or five years old, there may come a time when it does not start. You could contact a repairman for a diagnostic and estimate on the repair, but this could cost you more than $100 for the initial visit. Instead, consider troubleshooting the problem yourself. You may discover it is as simple as replacing a burned-out fuse.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Volt ohmmeter
  • Wrench
  • Check the house's breaker or fuse in the fuse box. The machine may not be getting any power. Flip the breaker back on if it has turned off or replace the fuse if it appears to have blown out.

  • Verify that the dishwasher is plugged in to the correct outlet if it is a model that plugs in under the sink. The other plug is for the garbage disposal, which has a trigger that will only turn the disposal on when the switch is up.

  • Check the door switch to make sure it is completely locking. If it is completely locking, verify that the switch is not defective. To verify the switch, remove the doorplate and check the solenoid's circuit with a volt ohmmeter. If the ohmmeter's needle does not move, then there is no continuity and the switch is defective. Replace the switch.

  • Turn the machine on and listen for any buzzing sounds coming from the motor. If you hear any, look for debris that could be jamming the machine by first unplugging the dishwasher from its outlet and then dissasembling the pump and motor by removing the bolt on the top of the pump with a wrench. There are many small components so set them in order on the counter as you remove them to make sure you put the machine back together properly.

  • Unplug the machine and disconnect the junction box's wires. Check each wire for continuity with the volt ohmmeter. If the needle on the ohmmeter does not move, then the wire is burnt out and requires replacement.

  • Hire a repairman if all of these troubleshooting steps fail, as the problem is most likely the timer. Timers require expert analysis for an accurate diagnosis, as it is an expensive replacement and most often unnecessary.

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  • "Dishwasher Repair Cheap and Easy"; Douglas Emley; 2000
  • Photo Credit modern kitchen image by Melking from
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