Troubleshooting Guide: Kenmore Dishwasher Not Starting – Expert Technician’s Insights

With my considerable experience as an adept technician, I’ve encountered numerous issues with kitchen appliances. A common problem faced by homeowners is when their Kenmore dishwasher fails to start. This malfunction of such a crucial device can disrupt your daily routine and cause significant frustration. In this article, I am excited to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to troubleshoot Kenmore dishwashers, helping you to effectively address this issue and get your Kenmore dishwasher back to working order.

Reasons of why Kenmore Dishwasher Not Starting

Here is a list of common reasons why a Kenmore dishwasher not starting:

  1. Power supply issues (e.g., tripped circuit breaker, blown fuse, faulty power outlet or cord)
  2. Control panel and settings (e.g., control lock engaged, incorrect settings or cycle selection)
  3. Door-related problems (e.g., door latch or switch malfunction, misaligned or obstructed door)
  4. Water supply and inlet valve (e.g., water supply turned off, clogged or malfunctioning inlet valve)
  5. Motor and pump failure (e.g., malfunctioning motor or pump assembly, motor overload or thermal protection activation)

These are some of the common culprits behind a Kenmore dishwasher not starting. By systematically checking and troubleshooting these areas, you can identify and resolve the issue to get your dishwasher up and running again.

Common Causes of Kenmore Dishwasher Not Starting

Power Supply Issues

When your Kenmore dishwasher refuses to start, the first area to investigate is the power supply. Check for the following:

  1. Tripped Circuit Breaker or Blown Fuse: A tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse can cut off power to your dishwasher. Head to your electrical panel and look for any tripped breakers or blown fuses related to the dishwasher circuit.
  2. Faulty Power Outlet or Cord: Ensure that the power outlet your dishwasher is plugged into is functioning correctly. Also, inspect the power cord for any signs of damage.

Control Panel and Settings

The control panel and settings can sometimes be the culprits behind a Kenmore dishwasher not starting. Consider the following possibilities:

  1. Control Lock Engaged: Some Kenmore dishwashers have a control lock feature that prevents accidental button presses. Make sure the control lock is not engaged by checking your user manual for instructions.
  2. Incorrect Settings or Cycle Selection: Ensure that you have selected the appropriate settings and cycle for your dishwasher. Refer to the user manual for guidance on selecting the right options.

Door-Related Problems

Issues with the dishwasher door can also lead to starting problems. Take a closer look at the following:

  1. Door Latch or Switch Malfunction: A faulty door latch or switch can prevent the dishwasher from starting. Inspect these components for any damage or misalignment.
  2. Misaligned or Obstructed Door: A misaligned or obstructed door may not properly engage the dishwasher’s internal mechanisms, causing it to not start. Clear any obstructions and ensure the door closes securely.

Water Supply and Inlet Valve

A lack of water supply or a malfunctioning inlet valve can hinder your dishwasher’s operation. Consider these possibilities:

  1. Water Supply Turned Off: Check that the water supply valve connected to the dishwasher is fully open.
  2. Clogged or Malfunctioning Inlet Valve: A clogged or faulty inlet valve can restrict water flow, preventing the dishwasher from starting. Clean the valve or replace it if necessary.

Motor and Pump Failure

If none of the previous issues are responsible for your Kenmore dishwasher not starting, it’s possible that there is a problem with the motor and pump. Consider the following:

  1. Malfunctioning Motor or Pump Assembly: Inspect the motor and pump assembly for any visible signs of damage or failure. Look for loose connections, burnt wires, or unusual noises.
  2. Motor Overload or Thermal Protection Activation: Some dishwashers have built-in motor overload or thermal protection features. If these are triggered, the dishwasher may not start. Look for reset buttons or follow the instructions in your user manual to reset them.

Troubleshooting Steps for Kenmore Dishwasher Not Starting

Step 1: Basic Checks

Ensure your dishwasher is properly plugged in and that the power outlet is functional. Additionally, check your circuit breaker/fuse box for any tripped breakers or blown fuses related to the dishwasher circuit.

Step 2: Control Panel and Settings

Verify that the control lock feature is not engaged. Review your user manual to ensure the correct settings and cycle selection.

Step 3: Door-Related Checks

Inspect the door latch and switch for any damage or misalignment. Remove any obstructions near the door to ensure it can close properly and engage the dishwasher’s internal mechanisms.

Step 4: Water Supply and Inlet Valve

Confirm that the water supply valve connected to the dishwasher is fully open. Check for any clogs or malfunctions in the inlet valve and clean or replace it if needed.

Step 5: Motor and Pump Inspection

Examine the motor and pump assembly for any visible damage or signs of failure. Look for loose connections, burnt wires, or unusual noises. If applicable, reset the motor overload or thermal protection following the instructions provided in your user manual.

When to Seek Professional Assistance

Following the troubleshooting steps mentioned above should help you resolve the issue of your Kenmore dishwasher not starting. However, there are instances where professional assistance is necessary. Consider the following situations:

  1. If the troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue: If despite your best efforts, the dishwasher still refuses to start, it may require professional expertise to diagnose and repair the problem.
  2. Concerns about electrical or mechanical repairs: Dishwashers involve electrical and mechanical components that require specialized knowledge for repair. If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with such repairs, it’s best to seek professional assistance to avoid any potential hazards.
  3. Warranty or service agreement coverage: If your Kenmore dishwasher is still under warranty or covered by a service agreement, contacting the manufacturer or authorized service provider is recommended. They can offer professional support and ensure that the repair process complies with the warranty terms.

FAQ Kenmore dishwasher not starting

How do you reset a Kenmore dishwasher?

To reset a Kenmore dishwasher, unplug it from the electrical outlet, wait for a minute, and then plug it back in. Press the “Start/Resume” button on the control panel to initiate a new wash cycle.

Why won’t my Kenmore dishwasher start but the lights are on?

If the lights on your Kenmore dishwasher are on but it doesn’t start, check if the door is fully closed and latched properly. Make sure the control panel is not locked, and verify that the dishwasher is plugged into a working power outlet.

What would cause a dishwasher to not turn on?

A dishwasher may fail to turn on due to power supply issues, such as a disconnected or faulty power cord, tripped circuit breaker, or blown fuse. Another potential cause is a faulty door switch that doesn’t make proper contact. If these aren’t the issues, a malfunctioning control panel could be the culprit.

Why is my Kenmore dishwasher just blinking?

If your Kenmore dishwasher is blinking, it indicates an error or a specific condition. Refer to the dishwasher’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to identify the specific error code associated with the blinking lights. Alternatively, the blinking may indicate a cycle interruption or a malfunctioning control board. Try resuming the cycle by closing the door and pressing the “Start/Resume” button, or contact Kenmore customer support or a technician for further assistance.

What should I do if my Kenmore dishwasher is leaking from door?

If your Kenmore dishwasher is leaking from the door, there are a few steps you can take to address the issue. First, check the door seal or gasket for any damage or debris and ensure it is properly aligned. Make sure the dishwasher door closes tightly without any obstructions. Additionally, inspect the spray arms for clogs or blockages and clear them if necessary. Verify that the door latch is functioning properly and adjust or replace it if needed. Be mindful of detergent usage and avoid overfilling. If the problem persists or the leakage is severe, it is recommended to contact Kenmore customer support or a professional technician for further assistance.

Why is my Kenmore dishwasher not starting?

If your Kenmore dishwasher is not starting, there are a few common causes to consider. First, check the power supply by ensuring the dishwasher is properly plugged into a functioning outlet and that the circuit breaker or fuse is not tripped or blown. Next, make sure the dishwasher door is fully closed and securely latched. Some models may have a control lock feature, so check if the control panel is locked and try unlocking it. If the issue persists, it is recommended to consult the dishwasher’s manual or contact Kenmore customer support for further assistance.

Why is my Kenmore dishwasher not spraying water?

Several factors can contribute to a Kenmore dishwasher not spraying water properly. Common causes include clogged spray arms, a malfunctioning wash motor, insufficient water supply, or a faulty spray arm assembly.


Experiencing a Kenmore dishwasher not starting can be frustrating, but with a systematic approach to troubleshooting, you can often identify and resolve the underlying issues. This guide has provided you with insights into common causes and troubleshooting steps to help you get your dishwasher up and running again.

Remember to check the power supply, control panel settings, door-related problems, water supply, and the motor and pump assembly. By following these steps and seeking professional assistance when necessary, you can restore the functionality of your Kenmore dishwasher and enjoy the convenience it brings to your daily life.

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By Steve

👋 Hey there! I'm Steve. 29 years old, a technician that came from an Electronic and IT background. I love problem-solving and enjoy tinkering with electronics