How to Know Which Dishwasher Part Is Causing Trouble – Choosing The Correct Part for Your Washer Model

You’ve just had a wonderful dinner with your family, and it is time to do the dishes before you call it a night. You load the dishes into the dishwasher and switch it on but nothing happens or suddenly the kitchen floor is flooded, Or you find the dishes are still dirty and you have to go through the task of manually washing them again which is what you were avoiding when you bought the dishwasher. The dishwasher was working perfectly when you used it earlier and that leaves you confused as to what the problem could be.

The good news is that it could be a defective part that needs replacing. We all know that replacing the parts is cheaper than buying a new dishwasher. Before you start wondering where you will get the money to buy a new dishwasher, go through this article and find out the common problems that are associated with these appliances and the solutions.

If you already know the problem with your dishwasher, go straight to that section on the table of contents. For specific brand parts, click on the brand and the replacement parts needed for the dishwasher will be listed.

How to find a local repairer in your area

If you prefer having a maintenance man service your dishwasher, you can find one from your local area here.

Disclaimer: Before you begin any repair project, or buy small engine parts for your appliance, always refer to your manufacturer’s manual so as not to void your warranty

How to use the article

The article is organized in a way that lists the common problems first and the least likely at the bottom. If you want to fix your dishwasher, carefully go through the causes to get an accurate picture of the problem and how to fix it.

Dishwasher not cleaning

There is nothing worse than completing the cleaning cycle and taking the dishes out of the dishwasher only to realize they are not clean. Chances are that you will have to wash them again but to prevent that from happening again, here are the culprits responsible for that.

  1. Water pump belt

There are few dishwashers with a water pump belt and you should confirm if yours has it by searching your model number. If yours has it, you can find it when you remove the lower panel as it will be on the bottom of the motor. If you find that it is broken, have it replaced.

  1. Water inlet valve

Water enters the dishwasher through the water inlet valve. In case it clogged, there won’t be enough water to clean the dishes.

If you find that the valve is clogged, do not try cleaning it but have it replaced instead. Attempting to clean it might make it fail sooner.

  1. Center wash arm assembly, lower wash arm assembly and upper wash arm assembly

Water to dishes in the upper rack is circulated by the center wash arm assembly and upper wash arm assembly. Water to dishes in the lower rack is circulated by the lower wash arm assembly. If the wash arms are clogged, water won’t flow properly and the dishes will not be cleaned properly.

  • Remove the wash arms and get rid of anything clogging the holes. Replace it if it is extremely blocked.

You should also ensure the center wash arm assembly coordinates properly with the water supply nozzle.

  1. Circulation pump, water impeller and drain pump motor assembly

Using a motor and impeller, water is forced through the wash arms by the circulation pump. When the pump is in good condition, you will hear a humming sound from the motor when the dishwasher is filled. If there is no noise, the motor must have burned out. The dishes will not get cleaned if the impeller is broken, or the pump is blocked.

  • First make sure the motor is getting power.
  • Also check if the impeller can turn while inspecting the pump housing for any debris.
  • If the impeller is broken, you need to check your model number and see if it can be replaced separately and if not, you will need to replace the entire motor assembly and pump.

If the motor has access to power and there are no particles in the pump, the drain pump motor assembly and circulation pump will need to be replaced.

  1. Upper wash arm spinner

Water to the dishes in the upper rack is circulated by the upper wash arm. Over time, the spinners can get clogged and start limiting the amount of water making the dishes not get cleaned properly. You need to remove the wash arm and remove any particles. If the blockages are too many, replace it.

  1. Upper discharge housing gasket

If the spray arms have low pressure, the problem could be in the upper discharge housing gasket that is found above the circulation impeller on the discharge cover.

It could be that the gasket has loosened or you may have to replace it altogether. You should ensure there are no particles left as it will prevent the gasket from fitting.

Dishwasher not draining

After cleaning the dishes, you might find that the dishwasher refuses to drain which is frustrating. Here is a list of common defective parts making the dishwasher not drain and how to fix it.

  1. Drain pump, drain impeller and motor assembly

Water is forced through the drain hose by the drain pump using an impeller and motor assembly. If the drain pump motor is not working, the dishwasher will not drain. Check if the drain line is blocked and if the motor hums instead of running.

  • Use a multimeter to check if the motor assembly is defective by testing for continuity. Replace the drain pump motor if there is no continuity.
  • If the motor is getting power but not running, have the drain pump replaced.
  • If the drain impeller is broken, have it replaced. Check if your dishwasher model allows for the part to be replaced and if not, you will have to replace all the parts.
  1. Drain solenoid kit and drain valve

The drain solenoid allows water to flow from the dishwasher by opening the drain valve. If the dishwasher is not draining, the drain valve might be clogged or you have a defective solenoid refusing to open the valve. If the drain solenoid kit has failed, replace it.

You can try cleaning out the valve and removing any blockages. If it is clear and the appliance is not draining, have the drain valve replaced.

Drain valves are not repairable and must be replaced if they stop working.

  1. Clogged or improperly installed garbage disposer

Your garbage disposer might have been installed wrongly without removing the drain plug. If your dishwasher is connected to the garbage disposer, the drain plug must be removed.

The other option is that your garbage disposer is clogged. You can remove the drain hose from the garbage disposer then clean out the fitting at end of the drain hose and on the disposer. These are the most common spots for blockages.

  1. Drain hose

Your dishwasher could be refusing to drain since the drain hose is blocked. Unblock it by removing it from the sink drain and dishwasher and clean it out. The common places to find debris is near the garbage disposer and drain branch tailpiece.

  1. Check valve and check ball

The check valve makes sure water does not go back to the dishwasher after draining it. A check ball is a plastic ball in the valve that helps prevent water from going back to the dishwasher once it has been drained.

If the check valve malfunctions, it will close and water will not drain. The same applies to the check ball if it gets stuck in the valve.

Try freeing the check ball and cleaning the check valve and it the dishwasher still doesn’t drain, have them replaced.

  1. Water pump belt

There are few dishwashers with a water pump belt and if yours is one of them, you need to check if it is broken or worn out and have it replaced. You can find it on the bottom of the motor after removing the lower panel.

  1. Piston and nut assembly

The piston and nut assembly is located within the check valve and might be the reason the dishwasher is not draining. You can find it on the bottom of the tub under the sump cover but you will also need to remove four screws.

The assembly should move up and down and it forms a tight seal when the piston is in the down position. If the seal is not complete, the dishwasher will not drain and you need to have it replaced.

Dishwasher buttons not working

Your dishwasher switches on well and everything is running but it seems none of the buttons are working even when you restart it. Here could be the reason.

  1. Touchpad and control panel

Before jumping into conclusions, check if the display is working. If it is working, try and press some of the touchpad buttons. If not all are responding, the touchpad and control panel is the problem and you need to replace them.

Check if your manufacturer allows them to be replaced individually and if not, you will have to replace both of them.

  1. Main control board.

The main control board controls almost all dishwasher functions. If it malfunctions, the touchpad buttons will not work since it will send a voltage.

However, test all other defective parts before suspecting the control board and replace it if it is at fault.

Dishwasher lights blinking or flashing

You might find that the dishwasher lights keep blinking on and off. Here are the most probable causes.

  1. Heating element and heating element assembly

The heating element and heating element assembly are responsible for heating the water in the dishwasher. If the water dos not reach the required temperature, the lights will start blinking.

Test for continuity and have them replaced if they have burned out.

  1. Check fault codes

If the dishwasher lights keep flashing, it might mean there is an error code being displayed in the display window. Find out more information concerning the error by consulting the dishwasher manual, tech sheet and wiring diagram.

  1. Drain pump

The drain pump forces water through the drain hose using an impeller. If it is not working, a light will start blinking on the control panel. Check if the pump motor has continuity using a multimeter to find out if the drain pump is the problem. If the motor does not have continuity or the pump has any defects, replace the drain pump.

  1. Touchpad and control panel

Check if the display is working and press the buttons. If some are not responding, the touchpad and control panel might be at fault and should be replaced.

Dishwasher leaking and dishwasher leaking from motor area

Nothing is as bad as finding your floor flooded due to a leak in your dishwasher. You might also find that it is leaking from the motor area. Here are the common causes for both.

  1. Water inlet valve

Water enters the dishwasher through the water inlet valve. If the valve stays open, water will keep entering until there is an overflow. Check if the water inlet valve is defective and have it replaced.

  1. Center wash arm assembly, lower wash arm assembly and upper wash arm assembly

If the wash arms are cracked, they will allow water to spray towards the lower part of the door and the door seal and this will cause a leak. Replace them if they are cracked and do not use glue to fill the cracks as it breaks down in the dishwasher.

Make sure the wash arm support assembly is not loose by securing the screws. If it is loose, water will spray between the wash arm support and lower pump housing making the water leak from the bottom.

  1. Door seal and hinges

Ensure the door seal does not have any tears, cuts or gaps that could make the dishwasher leak from the door.

  • Close the door on a dollar bill and try pulling it out. If it does not stick, the door seal is not latching properly and needs to be replaced.
  • If the door seal is not the culprit, check the door hinges and if they are bent, have them replaced.
  1. Door gasket

Ensure the door gasket does not have any tears, cuts or gaps that could make the dishwasher leak from the door.

Close the door on a dollar bill and try pulling it out to determine if the gasket is the culprit. If it does not stick, the door gasket has a gap and needs to be replaced. If the gasket is in good condition, check if the hinges are bent and replace them.

  1. Impeller and seal kit

Determine where the leak is coming from and if it coming from the motor shaft area, the seal might be the problem. If the seal is not working, have it replaced.

Find out if the manufacturer allows the seal kit to be replaced separately or if you need to replace it together with the impeller. It is cheaper to replace the impeller and seal kit although other manufacturers will want you to purchase the whole pump and motor assembly.

  1. Pump and motor assembly

You might have to replace the entire pump and motor assembly if the leak comes from the motor area. However, you need to figure out where the leak is coming from. If it comes from the drain pump, you will need to replace the impeller and seal kit.

You can replace the impeller and seal kit on most dishwashers without going near the drain pump. However, if yours does not allow for that, you will need to replace the entire unit. You also need to replace it if your motor shaft is rusted since the new impeller will not fit on it.

  1. Pump gasket

You should replace the pump gasket if it is torn since it will allow your dishwasher to leak from underneath it.

  1. Sump and lock ring

Sumps collect water entering the pump and have a rubber seal preventing water from getting into the tub. It will wear out after some time and will have to be replaced.

Some dishwashers have lock rings securing the sump at the bottom of the tub and they should be replaced if they are damaged in any way.

Dishwasher won’t start

You might have experienced a situation where you switch on the dishwasher and it won’t start even after kicking it. Well, here are some common causes for that and how you can fix them.

  1. Door switch and door latch

The door latch is supposed to close for the dishwasher to start and the door switch prevents it from running if the door is still open. If the door latch does not completely shut the door, the switch will prevent the dishwasher from running.

Test the door switch using a multimeter and if there is no continuity, have it replaced. Also check if the door latch is broken and have it replaced.

  1. Thermal fuse

If the dishwasher overheats, the thermal fuse shuts off the power. The dishwasher will not start if the thermal fuse blows. Test it using a multimeter and replace it if it is blown.

  1. Main control board

The main control board controls most dishwasher functions. If it encounters a problem, it might not send voltage to the dishwasher making it not start. Before you remove the control board, check for other faulty parts and if they are all working, you can replace the control board.

  1. Touchpad and control panel

If you press some of the buttons and they are not working, the touchpad and control panel might be the problem. It is recommended to replace both at once since most manufacturers sell them as a set.

  1. Timer

Power flows to different parts at the proper time because of the timer. If it is not working, the dishwasher will not start as it won’t be getting any voltage. Check other faulty parts before concluding that the timer is at fault and replace it if it is the problem.

Dishwasher won’t latch

Have you ever tried closing the door but it just won’t stick? Well, there are many causes for this and easy solutions to get your dishwasher up and running again.

  1. Door hinge

The door won’t latch if the door hinge is bent or damaged and should be replaced.

  1. Door catch

The door catch should be properly aligned or the door will not latch. If it is broken, have it replaced.

  1. Door lock and door strike

The whole door strike assembly should be inspected and if the door lock or door strike are damaged, they should be replaced.

  1. Door latch

Have the door latch assembly inspected and replace the door latch if it is damaged. Also test the door switch for continuity as it might prevent the door from latching if there is no continuity.

Dishwasher not dispensing soap

You must have discovered that your dishwasher is not dispensing soap during the wash cycle and are wondering why. Here are the causes and solutions.

  1. Dispenser lever

The dishwasher will not open or close in a proper way if the dispenser lever is broken and it should be replaced if there are any signs of damage.

  1. Detergent dispenser cover

Inspect the dispenser cover and replace it if it is broken.

  1. Detergent container and lid

Inspect and replace the detergent container and lid if they are damaged or broken.

  1. Detergent dispenser

If a part of the dispenser is broken and you do not want to go the process of disassembling the dispenser to fix the part, you can just have the whole detergent dispenser replaced.

  1. Dispenser door spring, actuator and door pin

The dispenser might refuse to open during the wash cycle if the door spring, actuator or door pin is damaged. You should replace them if there are any signs of bending or any other form of damage.

  1. Dispenser latch and slide

The dispenser will not open or close properly if the door latch or dispenser slide is damaged and they should be replaced if they are defective.

  1. Bi-metal actuator

The bi-metal actuator is a metal loop acting as a latch for the dispenser door. It deforms when electricity is applied, bending away from and releasing the latch. If it burns out, it will not release the dispenser door.

Test for continuity using a multimeter and replace it if there is none.

Also ensure the dishwasher has enough water since the wash motor might not generate enough current to go through the bi-metal making it not bend.

  1. Dispenser repair kit

If you are not sure about the defective part and you do not want to replace the whole system, you should check if the dispenser is blocked by the soap. If there are no blockages and it is not working, you can replace the dispenser repair kit that comes with replacement parts for your dishwasher detergent dispenser.

  1. Main control board

Before you change the control board, check all other parts that are more likely to fail. If everything else is working, you can replace the main control board.

Dishwasher won’t fill with water

Your dishes might not be getting clean because the dishwasher does not fill with water. If that is the case, you need to have it fixed. Here are the causes and solutions.

  1. Water inlet valve

If the water inlet valve is clogged or damaged, the dishwasher will not fill with water. The valves are not repairable and must be replaced.

  1. Float switch

The float switch ensures the dishwasher does not overflow. However, if it is damaged or stuck, the dishwasher will not fill up.

  1. Water supply problem

The water supply valve can have calcium deposits after some time preventing the dishwasher from filling with water. You should check if the water supply valve is clogged and the water pressure. If the pressure is too low, the valve won’t work properly. The required pressure is at least 20psi for proper functioning of the valve.

Dishwasher is making noise

The dishwasher was working perfectly until you tried using it and it started making noise that you don’t like. You try switching it off and on again but the noise still remains. Here are the probable causes.

  1. Drain pump

You should ensure the drain pump is not clogged. If it is clear but continues making noise, you should replace it.

  1. Circulation pump and motor assembly

The circulation pump has a motor that uses bearings. These bearing make noise when they start failing. If they have failed, the whole circulation pump and motor assembly must be replaced.

  1. Drain and wash impeller

The drain impeller pushes water into the drain line or garbage disposer. The wash impeller pushes water through the spray arms. If they are damaged, they will scrape against the pump housing making noise. If one of the blades is damaged, bent or broken, the impeller should be replaced.

You can replace the impeller independently if the manufacturer provides for it. However, if not, you will need to replace the entire pump and motor assembly.

  1. Pump and motor assembly

Parts of the pump and motor assembly might be faulty and in need of replacement. If you do not want to replace the parts, you can simply replace the entire unit.

  1. Drain pump motor

The drain pump has a motor that uses bearings. These bearing make noise when they start failing. If they have failed, replace the drain pump motor or have the whole drain pump replaced.

  1. Water inlet valve

A new water inlet valve is quiet when working. However, over time, the diaphragm starts deteriorating and gets deformed producing a loud vibration during the filling process. If the dishwasher is producing a vibrating noise when getting filled with water, you can make it quiet by replacing the water inlet valve.

The dishwasher keeps overflowing

You might that your dishwasher does not know when to stop filling with water and ends up overflowing. Here are the reasons why this happens and how you can stop it.

  1. Water inlet valve

The water inlet valve is electronically controlled and allows water to enter the dishwasher. It should close on its own after some time and when the water reaches a certain point. When this does not happen, the dishwasher will overflow.

Replace the water inlet valve if you find water collecting at the bottom when you are not using the dishwasher or if water drips inside when the door is open.

  1. Float switch

The float switch is there to prevent the dishwasher from overflowing and will not do that if it is damaged or stuck. Have the float switch replaced if it is damaged.

Possible reasons the dishwasher is not drying dishes properly or drying them at all

After cleaning the dishes, you might find that they are still wet. Here are the reasons your dishwasher is not drying the dishes.

  1. Vent

If the vent does not open properly, the dishes will have moisture from the steam generated in the rinse cycle. Inspect the vent and make sure it is opening properly. If the problem persists, replace the vent.

  1. Vent fan motor

Some dishwashers have a vent fan motor used to dry the dishes. If it is not working properly, the dishes will not dry properly. Test the motor using a multimeter and if there is no continuity, replace it.

Also turn the blade manually and if there is any difficulty, replace the unit.

  1. Heating element and heating element assembly

If your dishwasher uses a heating element and heating element assembly to dry the dishes, you should test it for continuity using a multimeter. If there is none, replace them. You can find the heating element assembly under the tub after you remove the lower panel.

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