Why is my dishwasher not starting when I press the start button

I have a Whirlpool Dishwasher that's a few years old. The blue light on the start button no longer goes on (I presume that the bulb burnt out), but the dishwasher has been working fine for at least a year without the light working. Now I can't get the dishwasher to start when I press the START button. Interestingly, I can get it to start by pressing "Heated Dry," "Normal," "Heated Dry," "Normal" and then closing the door. I think this resets the dishwasher and it cleans normally. Just pressing START on the dishwasher doesn't seem to work, though.

I have two questions

1-How can I fix this? What is the likely problem?

2-Is it bad for the dishwasher to be starting it by pressing "Heated Dry," "Normal," "Heated Dry," "Normal"? I have done this a few times already, but don't want to break the dishwasher. Thanks for your help!!

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You are correct. You are resetting the dishwasher by pressing the buttons in sequence.

It seems strange that you are not getting some kind of error code on your machine though.

It could be that you have a faulty start button or that there is a problem in the control board.

Try removing the kick panel on the front of the dishwasher to see if there is an instruction sheet attached there which explains how to get into the diagnostic mode. (It is usually left there for the dishwasher technicians to use)

Hopefully if it is there and you can run the diagnostic program it may give you a clue as to your problem.

If there is no instruction sheet in your machine here is a link on how to get into the diagnostic mode for a Whirlpool but it is very general and may not pertain to your particular model.


Update (12/13/2016)

Hi @sh9 ,

Did you try the diagnostic program as per the link? Did it work, that is did it go all the way through a wash cycle, i.e. start, fill, wash, rinse, drain, etc? If so and it didn't stop and there are no other lights flashing it might have to have other lights operating in combination with the start light to indicate a fault.

If it is a faulty Start switch, unfortunately you will have to replace the entire Control panel as usually they are a sealed unit and not that cheap to replace just on the off chance that it is the reason for the fault.

Before you do this you may wish to see if you can, by dis assembling the dishwasher, access the wiring harness that goes between the Control panel and the Control board. Perhaps the connectors at either end of the cable have come out slightly from the sockets. Alternatively you may be able to prove with a DMM (Digital Multimeter - Ohmmeter function) that the Start switch is faulty or not by trying to test its' continuity. This would have to be done by a trial and error method of testing until you are sure that you are testing the right connections etc. Do all this with the power totally disconnected from the machine of course!

Just a thought.

Here is a link to the parts for your machine. This may be of some help.


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Thanks for your response. I can't find the manual, but I clicked on the link. There is no LCD display on the dishwasher, so it srrmd like I would know the error code by how often the start light blinks. The problem is that the start light bulb hasn't worked in about a year, so I wouldn't know what the error code is. Is there any other way to tell?


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