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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.



Click on underlined items for further information

Dishwasher does not work - no sound, water or lights

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

Dry cycle problems

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

Door does not close or latch properly

Dishwasher cycle does not complete

Detergent cup does not open

Cycles times are too long

Dishes are not cleaned adequately

The walls, racks or tub are rust stained

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