Your dishwasher isn't measuring up to the price you paid for it. The dishwasher might not even turn on, the dishes aren't getting clean, or the machine won't even drain. What do you do? Instead of calling the repairman, you can save a bundle and try servicing it yourself. Open up the kick panel in back and get to work, carefully following these dishwasher repair tips:
1) If your dishwasher doesn't seem to be working at all, first check the plug and the circuit breaker. If these are working, check the door switch, timer, and selector switch. If any of these three items are broken, replace them. If all of these check out, the problem is internal and the wiring must be replaced. Call a technician.
2) If the dishes aren't getting clean, there might not be enough water coming into the machine. There might even be no water at all. Check the water shut-off valve under the kitchen sink to make sure it's on. Otherwise, the machine might have a faulty internal water valve and will need professional service. Before you call to get the internal water valve serviced, however, try checking the spray arms for clogs, and unclogging them by hand if necessary. Once you've done this, see if the water is hot enough. Cool or cold water won't clean dishes. Be sure the water temperature is at least 120. If your dishes still won't get clean, try adding soap to both soap cups. Furthermore, if there is a smoky film on your dishes, it means your water is “hard”. You will need to clean your dishwasher with a dishwasher cleaner. Use one that is specially formulated by your dishwasher's manufacturer, or use a quality cleaner such as Washer Magic, Dishwasher Magic, Glisten (which also acts as a deodorizer and can be used in any porcelain-lined machine or tub), or Glass Magic.
3) If your dishwasher won't drain, there are seven lucky things you can do before calling an expert. First, check the air gap of the sink, near the faucet, and unclog it if necessary. Unscrew the top cap and rinse it well. Second, check the drain hose leading from the air gap to the garbage disposal. Clean it out and reattach it. Third, if your dishwasher uses a belt to drive the pump, and the pump doesn't seem to be working, try replacing the drive belt. It may be broken or stretched out. Fourth, for models that have both a wash impeller and a drain impeller, the drain impeller might be broken, either at the shaft or at the blades. Replace the broken parts of the drain impeller. Fifth, some dishwashers use a drain solenoid to drain the water. This might be stuck. Try loosening it by hand. If that doesn't work, replace the pump assembly. Sixth, perhaps the motor is stuck. Try getting the motor going by spinning it by hand. If that doesn't work, replace the motor. Finally, if the wash timer is busted, you'll have to replace it.
If you follow these basic tips, you'll have a good, solid start in becoming a dishwasher repair expert on your own.