Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Starting: 7 Easy Ways to Fix It

Dishwashers are excellent devices when they work; what could be better than pressing a button and having all your dirty dishes washed for you?

Unfortunately, dishwashers are not always trouble-free and can sometimes run into problems that we need to fix. 

One common issue that seems particularly prevalent on Frigidaire dishwashers is that they will suddenly not start.

So in this article, I’m going to explain exactly what causes this dishwasher problem and give you all the methods you need to get it fixed up and back to working order.

Why is your Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Starting?

Sometimes you can get lucky, and it’s just a simple user error like choosing the wrong wash cycle.

But most of the time, this problem is due to some kind of component failure or burnout, which requires repairing or replacing the component.

So let’s first take a look at all the main points of failure that will cause a Frigidaire Dishwasher not to start.

1. Check the Conjunction Box for Burnt-out Wires

While newer dishwashers utilize a simple power cord you can plug in, many older dishwashers can still have their washer hard-wired into their home’s electrical system via the junction box.

As these units are inherently old, the wiring inside them has a tendency to burn out.

So the junction box wiring will need to be inspected carefully, and if any burnt-out wires are found, they will need to be replaced.

2. The Thermal Fuse has Blown

The thermal fuse is a safety component that constantly monitors the internal temperature of the dishwasher as it operates.

Should the temperature exceed a given threshold, the thermal fuse will immediately blow, preventing the dishwasher from heating up any further.

This protects your home from potential fire as well as the other components inside the washer from getting damaged.

The thermal fuse will need to be tested, and if it’s found to be blown, it will have to be replaced, as these are single-use components.

3. The Touchpad has Failed

Many modern dishwashers utilize a touchpad instead of the old mechanical keys. This touchpad is then connected to the control board using a ribbon cable.

Unfortunately, these modern digital components have a high failure rate, so it’s quite common for either the touchpad or its connecting ribbon cable to fail.

Sometimes the connectors can be cleaned out to remove small amounts of corrosion, but if this doesn’t work, the components will need to be replaced.

4. The Door is not Closed Properly

Dishwashers utilize a door latch switch and sensor system to let the machine know when the door has been closed and that it’s safe to start up.

This is to prevent the machine from starting when the door is opened and causing leaks.

However, sometimes this door sensor can fail, and the washer will think the door is still open when it actually isn’t.

Here we’ll need to inspect the door sensor and test it for functionality; if found to be non-functional, then this too should be replaced.

5. A Control Board Problem

The control board acts as the brain of the dishwasher, sending out instructions to the various components and telling them when to turn on or off as needed.

It’s a pretty complicated component and one that’s very difficult to troubleshoot unless you are a trained technician.

So usually, the easiest solution would be to just remove and replace the whole board in one go.

6. A Heating Element Problem

The heating element is a short length of metal piping, usually comprised of steel, nickel, and chrome, which has an electrical current pass through.

This current then heats the metal piping, allowing your dishwasher to heat.

So even if your dishwasher starts up just fine, a faulty heating element will prevent it from cleaning.

This will need to be tested for continuity as well and replaced if needed. The good news is it’s pretty easy to replace by yourself.

7. The Drain Pump is Faulty

The drain pump uses a plastic impeller to siphon the dirty water away from the washer. If either the drain pump or the impeller runs into issues, it may cause water to build inside the washer.

This can trigger the float switch, preventing the washer from starting because the water level is now too high.

So we need to repair the drain pump in order to allow the water to drain properly.

How to Fix a Frigidaire Dishwasher Not Starting

Now that we’ve taken a look at what causes your dishwasher to start, we can go ahead and fix the problem.

As you can see, most of the causes of this problem are due to some kind of component failure. Depending on which component is the culprit, you may be able to fix it yourself, or you may need assistance from Frigidaire support to order new washer parts.

1. Fix the Junction Box Wiring

Before fixing any wiring, you’ll need to ensure the dishwasher is turned off at the circuit breaker so you can work on the electrical component safely.

  • Visually inspect the wires for signs of burning or any connections that have broken off.
  • If it’s a localized problem, you can strip the wire and attach a new connector.
  • If the wire is completely burnt, you may need to remove it and replace the whole wire with a new one.

For those who don’t feel comfortable working with electronic wiring, we recommend you contact a local electrician who will be able to do this on your behalf. It’s quite a small job.

2. Replace the Thermal Fuse

Once a thermal fuse has blown, the only option is to replace it. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to do as they are commonly replaced components.

All you need to do is locate the thermal fuse at the back control panel. If you’re unsure of its exact location, you can just refer to the user manual for your specific model.

    1. Switch off the circuit breaker and remove the control panel to access the thermal fuse.
    2. Disconnect the wiring from the fuse and remove the old fuse from its housing and discard it.
    3. Put the new fuse in its place.
    4. Reconnect the wiring in the same way you removed it.
    5. Re-attach the control panel cover and turn the power back on.

3. Replace the Touchpad and Ribbon Cable

If the touchpad and cable have been tested and found to be faulty, you’ll need to replace them.

Fortunately, these are very easy to install. You just have to remove the old one and carefully attach the new ribbon cable in its place.

You can contact Frigidaire support for assistance in ordering new washer parts.

4. Fix the Door Latch Switch

First, we need to check the door is correctly latching; you should hear a clear click sound which indicates the door is in place. If it doesn’t latch, then you may need to order a replacement.

Once this is working, we need to get the door sensor working. You should test it for continuity, and if it’s found to be non-functional, then you’ll need to contact Frigidaire for a replacement.

5. Replace the Main Control Board

Electrical errors inside the control board are extremely hard to diagnose and correct.

The usual course of action is to replace the whole board; although this can be quite expensive, it’s ultimately worth it.

In most cases, the board replacement will need to be performed by a trained technician.

6. Replace the Heating Element

Once the heating element has failed, it usually means there is a split in the element preventing the electrical current from passing through it.

When this happens, the only option is to replace it.

  1. Start by turning off the electrical supply to the dishwasher.
  2. Remove the bottom access panel on the front of the machine.
  3. Pull the dishwasher out and away from the wall, giving you better access.
    NOTE: If your dishwasher is older and is hard-wired into the wall via a junction box. You’ll need to remove the junction box cover and disconnect the wires; otherwise, you may pull them out, causing damage.
  4. Remove the mounting nuts holding the heating element and pull it out.
  5. Sit the new heating element in its place. It’s a good idea to lubricate the seals of the leads using a bit of rinse aid.
  6. Push the leads through the allocated holes in the tub and then tighten the nuts that hold the element in place.
  7. Push the dishwasher back into place and re-install the panel.

7. Replace the Drain Pump

If the drain pump has been tested with a multimeter and deemed faulty, it will need to be replaced.

  1. Once again, you’ll need to start by unplugging the dishwasher from the power. Or if it’s hard-wired into the wall, the wires should be removed.
  2. Remove the outer door panel, and the control panel covers using a screwdriver.
  3. Remove the front access and toe panel to gain full access to the drain pump.
  4. Take the wire harness off the drain pump and press down on the locking tabs holding the drain pump in place. Turn it counterclockwise, and it will release itself from the mount, and now you can remove it.
  5. Now you can install the new drain pipe. Lubricate the O-ring seal on the new drain pump to stop it from leaking.
  6. Now install it in place and plug the wire harness back in.
  7. Re-attach all the panels and push the dishwasher back into place.

Now you can power up the dishwasher.

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