Why Is My Kenmore Dishwasher Not Starting

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, a malfunctioning dishwasher can throw a wrench into our routines. Picture this: you load your Kenmore dishwasher, press the start button, and nothing happens. Frustrating, isn’t it? In this article, we’ll explore the common reasons behind a Kenmore dishwasher refusing to start and provide practical solutions to get it back in action.

Troubleshooting Steps

Checking Power Supply

The first step in unraveling the mystery of a non-starting dishwasher is ensuring a stable power supply. Check if the dishwasher is properly plugged in and if there’s any issue with the electrical outlet. Sometimes, a tripped circuit breaker might be the culprit.

Examining the Door Latch

A faulty door latch can prevent the dishwasher from initiating the cycle. Make sure the door is securely closed and the latch is engaging properly. This simple step might just be the key to resolving the issue.

Verifying the Control Panel

The control panel is the nerve center of your dishwasher. Inspect it for any visible damage or malfunction. A malfunctioning panel can disrupt the communication between you and your appliance.

Inspecting the Timer or Delay Start Feature

If your dishwasher comes with a delay start feature, the timer could be causing the hiccup. Ensure that you haven’t accidentally set a delayed start time and that the timer is functioning correctly.

Assessing the Motor and Pump

A malfunctioning motor or pump can be a common cause of a dishwasher’s refusal to start. Check for any unusual noises or signs of wear in these crucial components.

Maintenance Tips

Cleaning Filters and Spray Arms

Regular maintenance involves cleaning filters and spray arms. Clogged filters or blocked spray arms can impede water flow, affecting the dishwasher’s performance.

Using Recommended Detergents

Believe it or not, the type of detergent you use matters. Ensure you’re using a detergent recommended for your Kenmore dishwasher to avoid any chemical reactions that might hinder its operation.

Regularly Checking for Debris in the Drain

A clogged drain can lead to a host of issues, including the dishwasher not starting. Regularly check for debris in the drain and remove any obstructions.

Inspecting the Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve is responsible for letting water into the dishwasher. If it’s malfunctioning, the appliance won’t start. Inspect it for any signs of wear or damage.

Common Issues and Solutions

Faulty Door Switch

The door switch is a safety mechanism. If it’s faulty, the dishwasher won’t start. Check the door switch for any signs of damage and replace it if necessary.

Malfunctioning Control Board

The control board acts as the brain of the dishwasher. A malfunctioning board can disrupt communication and prevent the appliance from starting. Professional help may be needed to replace or repair it.

Broken Thermal Fuse

The thermal fuse is a safety device that can blow if the dishwasher overheats. A broken thermal fuse needs replacement to restore normal operation.

Issues with the Motor or Pump

Motor and pump issues can manifest in the dishwasher not starting. If you hear unusual noises or suspect a problem, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.

Sensor and Timer Problems

Sensors and timers play crucial roles in the dishwasher’s cycle. Any issues with these components can result in the appliance refusing to start.

Calling for Professional Help

Knowing When to Seek Expert Assistance

While DIY troubleshooting is valuable, some issues require professional intervention. If basic troubleshooting doesn’t resolve the problem, it’s time to call in the experts.

Importance of Qualified Technicians

Qualified technicians have the expertise to diagnose and fix complex issues. Entrusting your Kenmore dishwasher to professionals ensures a thorough and accurate solution.

Preventive Measures

Regular Maintenance Routines

Prevention is often the best cure. Establish a regular maintenance routine, including cleaning, inspection, and part replacement as needed.

Best Practices for Dishwasher Use

Using your dishwasher according to manufacturer recommendations and best practices can significantly extend its lifespan and reduce the likelihood of starting issues.


In conclusion, a non-starting Kenmore dishwasher can be a vexing problem, but with the right troubleshooting steps and maintenance practices, you can often identify and resolve the issue. Remember, when in doubt, seek professional assistance to ensure the longevity of your appliance.


  1. Q: Can a clogged filter really prevent my dishwasher from starting? A: Absolutely. A clogged filter can impede water flow, affecting the dishwasher’s performance and preventing it from starting.
  2. Q: How often should I clean the filters and spray arms? A: It’s advisable to clean the filters and spray arms at least once a month to ensure optimal performance.
  3. Q: Why is using the recommended detergent important? A: Using the recommended detergent prevents chemical reactions that could hinder the dishwasher’s operation.
  4. Q: What should I do if the door latch seems fine, but the dishwasher still won’t start? A: In such cases, it’s recommended to check the door switch and other electronic components for issues.
  5. Q: Is it normal for a dishwasher to have a delay start feature? A: Yes, many modern dishwashers come with a delay start feature, allowing you to set a specific time for the cycle to begin.
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