Dishwasher Troubleshooting Tool

In order to diagnose a problem with your dishwasher, it helps to list the symptoms and narrow down the possibilities. The following table contains a list of common symptoms for a malfunctioning dishwasher. Locate the symptom your appliance is exhibiting and to the right is a list of some possible causes.

The same cause may have multiple symptoms, so if you find the same cause for multiple symptoms of dishwasher, that is a good place to start. In general, the causes are listed in the order of the ease of testing / repair or the likelihood of it being the cause of the problem.

Many of the suggested tests link to an article on how to conduct the test or how to make the repair. Also, if we don’t have an article posted, be sure ask your questions at our Appliance Repair Forums.

Symptom Check

Click on underlined items for further information

Dishwasher does not work – no sound, water or lights
  • Check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker
  • Check that the dishwasher is plugged in securely
    or
  • Inspect the wiring connection to the dishwasher for burns or breaks.
  • Check the door latch
  • Test the door switch
  • Test the timer motor
  • Test the selector switch
  • Test the motor start relay
  • Test the motor
Dishwasher does not start but motor hums
  • Unjam the motor
  • Unjam the pump
  • Test the motor
  • Test the motor start relay
  • Check the drive belt
Dishwasher does not fill with water or it drains while filling
  • Check that the water supply is turned on. The valve may be located under the sink.
  • Check the door latch
  • Test the door switch
  • Inspect the float assembly
  • Inspect the fill tube for kinks
  • Test the float switch
  • Check the inlet valve filter screens
  • Test the water inlet valve
  • Test the drain valve lever arm
  • Check the drain valve
Water does not drain from the dishwasher
  • Check sink drain and drain hose for restrictions
  • Unjam the motor
  • Unjam the pump
  • Check the drain valve
  • Check the drive belt
  • Test the timer motor
  • If you have a brand new dishwasher or garbage disposer, check the knock out plug on the garbage disposer.
Dishwasher is leaking water
  • Inspect the seals for the main tub, float, heating element and blower diffuser
  • Check for overfilling
  • Inspect the water and drain hoses
  • Inspect the door gaskets
  • Check the water inlet valve
  • Check the pump
Water or soap leaks around the door
  • Make certain that your detergent is intended for dishwashers. Do not use liquid dish soap.
  • Inspect the door seal gasket
  • Check the door latch
  • Inspect the door hinges
  • Inspect the spray arms for damage
Water drains through the air gap into the sink
  • Check the air gap
Dry cycle problems
  • Test the heating element
  • Test the drying fan
  • Test the thermostat
Dishwasher is noisy
  • Check the spray arm for damage and obstructions
  • Check the inlet filter screens
  • Test the water inlet valve
  • Check the motor and mounts
  • Check the fan motor and blade
  • Check the drain for obstructions
Door drops down with too much force
  • Check the door springs
Door does not close or latch properly
  • Check for obstructions
  • Check the door latch
  • Inspect the door hinges
  • Inspect the door seal gasket
Dishwasher cycle does not complete
  • Test the timer motor
  • Test the thermostat
  • Test the heating element
Detergent cup does not open
  • Check the detergent cup for obstructions
  • Test the timer motor
  • Check actuator arm
  • Test the bimetal assembly
Cycles times are too long
  • Test the timer motor
  • Test the heating element
  • Test the thermostat
Dishes are not cleaned adequately
  • Check for adequate water level
  • Check the spray arms and spray tower
  • Check the water temperature
  • Check the detergent cup
  • Clean the fine particle filter
  • Check the inlet filter screens
  • Check the water pressure
  • Test the water inlet valve
  • Check the drain valve
  • Test the selector switch
  • Test the timer motor
  • Test the heating element
  • Test the bimetal terminal assembly
The walls, racks or tub are rust stained
  • Scrub the interior with oxalic acid
  • Repair the exposed metal

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