Dishwasher: Won't start

You fill the dishwasher with dishes and shut the door, but the dishwasher doesn't start. To troubleshoot the problem, start by checking the door switch because the cycle won't start with a broken door switch. Watch our dishwasher won't start video for step-by-step instructions on testing the door switch.

If the door switch is okay, a damaged control panel, failed user interface control or broken electronic control board can prevent the dishwasher from starting. If your dishwasher uses a mechanical timer control, a failed timer can prevent the cycle from starting. Some dishwashers won't start if they don't fill with water. Our dishwasher not filling video provides troubleshooting tips for this problem.

dishwasher

These repairs may help solve your dishwasher problem

Replace the dishwasher door latch assembly

Replace the dishwasher door latch assembly

The dishwasher won't start if the door isn't completely shut and latched. If the door doesn't latch shut, replace the latch mechanism. Even if the door latches fully, a problem with micro-switch in the door latch/switch assembly could keep the dishwasher from starting; in that case, replace the micro-switch.

October 1, 2016
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher door latch assembly

One reason a dishwasher won’t start could be a broken dishwasher latch assembly—the assembly includes the latch itself and a microswitch. You can replace the latch assembly yourself in about half an hour, following the steps in this repair guide and video.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the dishwasher control panel

Replace the dishwasher control panel

When the control panel, also called the control console, becomes visibly loose or damaged, replace it. A stuck button can also cause the dishwasher to become unresponsive. A light may flash constantly on the control panel when a button is stuck.

April 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher control panel

If the dishwasher buttons stick or don't work, the dishwasher control panel could be the problem. This DIY repair guide shows you how to replace the control panel in just 30 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the dishwasher user interface control

Replace the dishwasher user interface control

The user interface control houses the selection buttons and display information such as the remaining cycle time. A defective user interface control won't light up or won't respond when you press its buttons. Because it's difficult to pinpoint the user interface control as the source of the problem when it won't light up or respond when you press its buttons, refer to the tech sheet for diagnostic tests (its' usually behind the service panel below the door) or have a service technician test the control. Replace the user interface control if it's defective.

How to replace a dishwasher user interface control

The dishwasher user interface lets you select the cycle options and start the dishwasher. Pinpointing a problem with the user interface can be tricky, and usually requires ruling out other problems. If you've determined the user interface failed, you can replace it easily following the instructions in this DIY repair guide and video.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the dishwasher electronic control board

Replace the dishwasher electronic control board

The electronic control board runs all dishwasher functions. If the electronic control board is getting voltage, but not operating properly, it should be replaced.

How to replace a dishwasher electronic control board

Because the electronic control board runs every stage of the dishwashing cycle, it's hard to know if the problem is the board or something it controls. If you or a repair technician determines the dishwasher control board is faulty, this repair guide and video show how to install a new one.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the dishwasher timer

Replace the dishwasher timer

The timer controls the electro-mechanical components in the dishwasher such as the wash pump, drain pump, inlet water valve and heating element. The timer also advances the control knob on the control panel. Replace the timer if it fails to start and stop the components properly or fails to advance the control knob.

April 1, 2014
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a dishwasher timer

If a dishwasher isn't advancing through the wash, rinse, drain or dry cycles, chances are the dishwasher timer is to blame. This easy-to-follow repair guide shows you how to replace the timer yourself.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Symptoms common to all dishwashers

Choose a symptom to see related dishwasher repairs.

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

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

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
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 vent and fan assembly

If the control panel goes blank, the fan could be to blame. Replace the vent and fan assembly using these steps.

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.

September 29, 2016
Dishwasher not draining video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn where to check for and remove clogs to get your dishwasher draining again.

September 28, 2016
Dishwasher has no power video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Sometimes you just plain forget to turn the dishwasher switch on, but you might also need to check for faulty wire connections or user interface control.

September 20, 2016
How to anchor a dishwasher to the floor video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Use a floor-mounting kit to fasten your dishwasher to the floor.