Dishwasher: Making loud or strange noises

Some dishwasher noises are normal, like the hiss of water rushing through the water inlet fill valve, the hum of the pump motor or the slosh of water. But if your dishwasher is making strange sounds or is unusually loud, it's time to investigate.

A grinding noise could be caused by a popcorn kernel stuck in the chopper blade area of the dishwasher; a thumping noise could be the drain line vibrating against the cabinet. The wash pump, wash pump motor or drain pump all make noise when they're broken. You may hear a loud buzzing noise from the wash pump or drain pump. The wash pump motor often squeals or whines when its bearings go bad.

The dishwasher also can make unusual noises if it's not fastened to the cabinet or floor. Learn how to refasten your dishwasher to the cabinet with our step-by-step video.

dishwasher

These repairs may help solve your dishwasher problem

Replace the dishwasher circulation pump and motor assembly

Replace the dishwasher circulation pump and motor assembly

Several situations can require the replacing the circulation pump and motor assembly in a dishwasher. If the motor on the circulation pump fails, then the dishwasher pump won't run at all. Sometimes the motor runs but doesn't generate water pressure through the spray arms, because the damaged impeller or pump housing is damaged. The pump housing and/or the seals could also deteriorate or become damaged, causing the dishwasher to leak. Problems inside the pump and motor assembly can create abnormal noises in the dishwasher. In all these situations, the pump and motor usually must be replaced.

How to replace a dishwasher circulation pump and motor assembly

When the dishwasher spray arm won't spray, the problem could be the circulation pump or the pump motor. Installing a new dishwasher circulation pump and motor assembly costs about as much as just replacing the motor, and is easier. This DIY repair guide with video shows how to replace the pump and motor assembly.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
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Replace the dishwasher drain pump

Replace the dishwasher drain pump

Replace the dishwasher drain pump if it's cracked or damaged, or if the drain pump doesn't pump out water. Before replacing, check the drain path (drain hose, sink drain and sump) to make sure it's not blocked. If the drain path is clear and water doesn't pump out, the drain pump has failed. Replace the drain pump if it won't run even though it's getting run voltage from the timer or control board.

October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher drain pump

If the dishwasher doesn’t drain, the problem could be the drain pump, even if you hear the pump running. You can replace the pump in about 30 minutes, following the steps in this repair guide and video.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Clear the dishwasher chopper blade area

Clear the dishwasher chopper blade area

A kernel of popcorn or a similar foreign object can drop into the chopper blade area of the dishwasher, causing a loud grinding noise when the pump runs. Remove the lower spray arm and the upper part of the dishwasher sump to access and clear debris from the chopper blade area. If the chopper blade is damaged, replace it.

Replace the dishwasher wash pump motor

Replace the dishwasher wash pump motor

The wash pump motor, which is mounted on the sump under the dishwasher, spins the wash pump impeller. The wash pump motor will make a loud noise when it is defective. You may also see cleaning problems due to decreased spray pressure. If the pump motor is bad, it will need to be replaced. The motor can usually be released and removed from the sump under the dishwasher tub. Consider replacing the water seals as well when the new wash pump motor is installed for optimal performance.

Symptoms common to all dishwashers

Choose a symptom to see related dishwasher repairs.

Main causes: damaged or stuck spray arm, leaking door seal, damaged door hinge, leaky heating element water seal, cracked water supply line
Main causes: water supply problem, stuck overfill float, clogged water inlet valve screen, water inlet valve failure
Main causes: light switch beside the sink turned off, lack of power, bad dishwasher door switch, control system failure, wiring problem
Main causes: glass or popcorn kernel stuck in the chopper blade, drain line vibrating against the cabinet, debris in wash pump or drain pump
Main causes: broken door latch, tripped circuit breaker, broken heating element, faulty vent fan, sensor failure, control system problem
Main causes: improper loading, low water temperature, improper detergent dosage, detergent dispenser failure, spray arm or pump problems
Main causes: not using rinse aid, rinse aid dispenser failure, broken heating element, malfunctioning vent, drying fan failure
Main causes: broken door spring, detergent dispenser failure, cabinet mounting brackets loose or broken
Main cause: damaged rack height adjuster

Repair guides common to all dishwashers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your dishwasher.

How to replace a dishwasher user interface control

The user interface control houses the selection buttons and display. If it fails, you can't select the cycle and settings. Follow these instructions to replace it yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher high-limit thermostat

Follow these steps to replace the high-limit thermostat in your dishwasher if prevents the heating element from heating.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher diverter motor

Upper spray arms not getting water? The diverter motor could be broken. Use this guide to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all dishwashers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your dishwasher.

February 1, 2018

How to read a wiring schematic video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to decipher symbols so you can buy the right part for your problem.

December 1, 2017

Wiring schematic symbols explained video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn some of the most common symbols found in a wiring diagram and what they mean.

November 1, 2015

7 uncommon tips for kitchen cleaning

By Sears PartsDirect staff

These 7 kitchen-cleaning tips are out of the ordinary and super helpful.