Helpful Tips to Revive an Unhappy Dishwasher: Common Repairs You Can Make


The trusty dishwasher can offer years of dependable service, but that doesn’t mean things never go wrong. But to help you out, here are some common problems you might face with your dishwasher, and how to fix them.

The first thing to check when dealing with dishwasher malfunctions is the power source. Make sure the breaker is on and check the power at the dishwasher. If it’s hardwired, go back and turn the breaker off. Then locate the junction box at the rear and check the wires for corrosion, breaks or loose connections. Check inside the box for burn or ‘arc’ marks too. If the power source is good, turn the power back on and check for voltage by probing the black and white wires. If you get no voltage, the breaker may be bad.

A bad door latch switch may also be the cause of the problem. Unscrew the screws holding the door in place, open the access panel and, with the latch in the “open door” position, probe the two terminals with a VOM set to RX1. If the reading is infinity, then close the latch and probe again – the reading should now be zero or the switch needs to be replaced. To fix it, adjust the latch: loosen and reposition it, then re-tighten.

Helpful Tips to Revive an Unhappy Dishwasher: Common Repairs You Can Make

Next, check the control timer motor, unplugging the motor leads and setting the VOM to RX100. Buy probing the lead wires you should get an infinity reading or a high resistance, indicating the motor is broken. Replace it if needed.

Another possible cause is a hose problem – check the drainage hose for cracks and loose connectors. If the problem isn’t with the hose, then check the gaskets in the heating element for leaks. If they’re loose or bad, simply unscrew the element, unlock it from its holders, disconnect the leads and replace the gaskets before reassembling again. You should also check the tub for any rust spots. Minor ones can be cleaned up and repaired with epoxy approved for dishwashers.

Helpful Tips to Revive an Unhappy Dishwasher: Common Repairs You Can Make

The float switch, located in the base of the tub, is also a common problem to check. Make sure the switch lifts up freely and then test it with the VOM set to RX1 – you should get a reading of zero or infinity with the float raised. If it’s not working, replace the float switch.

If it’s not the float switch, it could be an issue with the inlet valve. Turn off the water feeding the dishwasher, disconnect the hose, wires and pipe from the valve, remove the mounting screws and then clear any filter that’s been clogged. Reassembling it will fix this.

Helpful Tips to Revive an Unhappy Dishwasher: Common Repairs You Can Make

Sometimes, the dishwasher won’t drain if the strainer is clogged. Check the bottom for a strainer that may be filled with food or debris. If it’s not that, check if the drain hose has been bent, kinked or clogged.

In some cases, this can be caused by bad detergent. Purchase some new detergent and also check that nothing is obstructing the spray tower or arms. If you have a water conditioner in the house, it may need to be refilled with salt. Alternatively, it could just be that the water is too cold – try not to run the dishwasher after a shower or after a load of laundry.

Remember, these are just some of the most common problems with the most common solutions. If, after checking all of these, you’re still having trouble, it might be best to call a professional appliance repair expert to diagnose and repair your dishwasher problems.

  • January 5, 2020