When a household experiences dishwasher problems, it can cause a lot of chaos in the kitchen. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t know how to troubleshoot a broken dishwasher. Diagnosing the issue is the first step to dishwasher repair, and our quick tips can help.

While regular dishwasher maintenance can keep your appliance running smoothly, you may eventually run into some problems. Dishwashers have complex internal mechanisms, so figuring out the cause of your problem can be a challenge. There are five common mechanical issues for dishwashers, including rattling noises, inadequate drying, and broken detergent dispensers. The symptoms and possible causes of these mechanical issues are listed in the chart below.

Symptom Possible Causes
Dishwasher doesn't turn on
  • Circuit breaker has tripped
  • Door latch switch is broken
  • Circuit board is broken
  • Wiring is bad
Dishwasher won't fill with water
  • Water supply is turned off
  • Overfill protector is blocked or broken
  • Water-inlet valve is broken
  • Circuit board is broken
Dishwasher makes noise
  • Debris is trapped in the circulation or drain pump
  • Spray arms are obstructed by a dish or utensil
  • Pump or motor is damaged
Dishes are not drying
  • "Heated Dry" is not selected
  • Rinse aid is empty
  • Water is not draining
  • Drying fan or heating element is broken
Detergent dispenser won't open
  • Detergent dispenser is blocked or obstructed
  • Detergent dispenser is damaged

Once you have diagnosed the problem, you’ll need to decide what to do with the dishwasher. Whether you repair or replace, there are many financial and safety factors to consider. You can find more information on dishwasher troubleshooting with this quick repair or replace guide.

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