Has your dishwasher door ever slammed down the moment you latch it? This issue, caused by broken door springs or pulley issues, can lead to further appliance damage if left unchecked.
Fortunately, with a little mechanical aptitude and the right replacement parts, homeowners can tackle spring, cable, and pulley repairs themselves to restore safe dishwasher operation.
This straightforward guide breaks down common causes of uncontrolled doors and provides actionable steps for examination, component swaps, troubleshooting, and preventative care.
In just one to two hours, you can stop the slamming for good through an easy appliance repair process.
Why Does My Dishwasher Door Keep Falling Open?
A dishwasher door that quickly and forcefully falls open when it’s unlatched, often slamming loudly down to the fully open position, indicates a failure in the door control system. This common problem can happen with dishwasher brands such as Bosch, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Kenmore, LG, amongst others.
If your dishwasher door keeps falling open, there are three main culprits responsible for this failure:
Dishwasher doors have tension springs connected to the door hinges that help in controlling the speed at which it drops open. The springs provide resistance so when you unlatch the door, it opens slowly and is controlled instead of crashing down quickly.
Now, if one or both springs are disconnected or broken, there’ll be no tension to moderate the opening. And without that resistance, the full weight of the door will cause it to slam down when unlatched.
Many dishwashers come with a pulley and cable system that connects the door springs to the base of the door.
If the cables become frayed or broken, it prevents the spring tension from properly controlling the door, and that causes the door to slam. This happens because the tension in the damaged pulley system never makes it to the door.
Loose Door Hinges
Over years of use, dishwasher door hinges can wear out and become loose. As they continue to get loose, the door will begin to feel awkward when you open and close it.
That’s because the looseness prevents proper alignment, which leads to unequal door movements, extra strain on the springs and pulley systems, and ultimately leads to the uncontrolled dropping of the door.
Is A Dishwasher Door That Keeps Falling Open Dangerous?
What are the dangers of an unfixed door? I’ll tell you. Leaving a dishwasher door that keeps slamming open can lead to further damage.
As the door repeatedly falls forcefully down, it puts considerable stress on the door hinges and the mounts securing it to the door.
If the hinges stay stressed for months, the added strain can cause the hinges to dislodge or the door mounts to break entirely. And once that happens, the door can completely detach from the dishwasher when opened.
And that’s not all. The repeated impact with the tub below can also damage the racks, spray arms, and other interior components not built to withstand the repeated hard blows. This leads to a poor cleaning performance.
Lastly, an uneven door may also fail to properly seal when closed. The small gaps or openings it creates can allow water in transit between the tub and water supply valve to leak.
Over many wash cycles, the leaked water can come in contact with the flooring or cabinets, leading to damaged surfaces, mold development, and an increased risk of falls.
How To Fix A Dishwasher Door That Falls Open
Leaving a dishwasher door that falls open unattended often leads to more problems. To prevent that, in this section, you’ll learn how to fix an uneven or wiggly dishwasher door.
But before that, let’s take a look at the materials we’ll need to carry out the job:
- A trusty set of screwdrivers
- Sturdy wrench
- Pliers that grip
- Thick work gloves
- Handy nut driver
- Fresh tension springs
- Clean rags
- Bucket for parts
- Bright flashlight
Now for some safety tips before we dig in. Remember to:
- Cut power at the circuit breaker
- Shut off the water
- Protect your hands with gloves
- Get a friend to help move the dishwasher
Step 1: Inspect the Problem and Identify Faulty Parts
Before swapping out any parts, we need to poke around a bit and figure out what exactly is busted. Getting to know the culprit will tell us which components need replacing. Here’s how to sleuth out the faulty parts:
1. Pull dishwasher out from under-counter
Carefully pull the dishwasher completely out from its under-counter installation to gain access to both sides.
2. Inspect the door springs
Visually examine each door spring, checking that both are still stretchy, intact, and firmly secured on both ends. If one spring appears damaged, stretched out, or detached, plan to replace both springs as a pair to balance door tension.
3. Check connections/condition
Also, take a look at the pulley wheels and length of pulley cables. Look for any fraying, kinks, or broken wires. Test the pulley wheels to see if they still freely spin and no bushings are frozen.
Follow the path of each cable checking for any detachments from lower door mounts or upper spring hooks. Assess door hinges as well. Any observed damage signals the need for replacement parts.
4. Determine parts needing replacement
Test operate the door slowly and rapidly. While testing the door, check to see if the springs stretch equally on both sides when opening and closing the door.
Check to see if the movement feels balanced and that the door doesn’t veer to its left or right sides. Let the door drop from several inches open and see if one or both springs provide tension control. If only one provides control, or the door slams violently, it indicates that you have a spring problem.
After noting all the suspected faulty parts, order the approved manufacturer replacement parts.
Step 2: Replacing Door Springs
If you have identified your springs to be culprits, and the replacement parts you ordered have arrived, follow these steps to replace the door springs and fix your dishwasher door:
1. Shut off electricity and water
Start by shutting off electrical power to the dishwasher at the breaker box and shutting off the water supply line leading to the dishwasher.
2. Remove door panels to access springs
Refer to your owner’s manual to remove the necessary panels, typically the front toe kick panel and lower access panels inside the tub, to reveal the door springs.
3. Compare new springs to old
Prepare your spring replacement kit and compare it to the current springs, verifying the correct orientation and hook positions before detaching the old springs.
4. Release tension and detach springs from the door spring bracket
Using gloves, pliers, and caution, slowly release tension and unhook the springs from the upper door bracket mounts. Carefully stretch out the remainder of the tension until they fully detach.
5. Attach new springs to brackets in the same positions
Install the new door spring following installation instructions, orienting the hooks to the upper frame mounts in the same original positions. Leave a little bit of tension in the springs when reattached but ensure the door still opens without binding.
6. Perform same steps for second spring
Repeat the control tension release, detachment, and replacement steps for the faulty spring on the opposite side. Be sure to replace springs on both sides of the door otherwise, the door will open unevenly. Also, the springs should be in the same notches on the left and right sides.
Once both springs are reattached, restore household water and electrical supplies. Test open and close the door several times, ensuring smooth motion and equal side balance. Replace all removed panels and confirm full latching closure.
Step 3: Replacing Spring Cables and Pulleys
If you noticed faulty or damaged spring cables and pulleys while inspecting your dishwasher, follow the steps below to replace them as well:
1. Release cable tension slowly and detach cables from door springs
Start by slowly relieving tension on the door cables by opening the door slightly. Keep hands safely clear while tension releases. Then detach the cables from the upper door spring hooks and lower door mount cleats.
2. Inspect pulley wheels and replace them if needed
Check the pulley wheels. Test them to see if they freely spin on their axles. If they appear seized, damaged, or cracked, then you’ll have to replace them.
Follow the steps outlined in your user manual to detach the faulty pulleys. After removing them, install the new pulleys in the same location and spin them to confirm smooth rotation.
3. Route new cables correctly through pulleys
When you are ready to install the new cables, confirm the length needed for your model. After confirming, carefully thread the new cables in an S-shape pattern through the pulleys, keeping the cables centered in the pulley grooves.
4. Reconnect cables to door springs
Attach one cable end to the eyelet in the base of the door where it was originally mounted. Stretch the cable taut and complete the attachment by hooking the upper cable end through the hole in the end of the door spring.
5. Ensure cables move freely through pulleys when opening/closing the door
Finally, test the operation by slowly opening and closing the door several times. The cable should smoothly ride centered on all pulleys.
If binding occurs, detach and reroute the cable through the pulleys until it feeds smoothly without rubbing or jumping the pulley track.
Repeat cable replacement for the second side in the same manner.
Step 4: Finishing Up Repair
Congratulations! You are finally done with the repairs. Now all that’s left is finishing up everything. To finish up the repair, do the following:
1. Confirm all hardware mounted properly
Inspect your work. Confirm if the hardware is mounted properly with tight, secure connections. Use your flashlight to check the connections and parts in the dark areas of the dishwasher. This will help you spot loose or missing screws or bolts.
2. Check door opens/closes evenly
Operate the door slowly, checking for smooth left-right balanced motion with no sagging when left open.
3. Push the dishwasher back into place
With normal movement operation restored, carefully slide the dishwasher back into its original position under-counter.
4. Reconnect electric/water lines
Reconnect the electrical conduit and water supply lines, taking care not to kink hoses. Restore power and water to the appliance.
5. Confirm no leaks when running
Run a test cycle and closely check for any water leaks related to the repair.
6. Replace panels and screws
Finally, replace any panels, trims, and screws removed to access the faulty components earlier. Test the dishwasher door latch closure several times for proper door seal.
Your dishwasher door is now safely repaired and smoothly functioning thanks to replacing worn springs, cables, or pulleys.
How to Prevent Repeat Spring/Cable Failures
While springs, pulleys, and cables experience normal wear over years of use, certain measures can extend their lifespan and help prevent premature failures requiring repetitive repairs. Simple habits in the way you use and care for your dishwasher go a long way.
1. Don’t lean on an open door
Avoid leaning or putting excess weight on an open dishwasher door that puts strain on the components.
2. Avoid overloading dishes
Pack dishes in a way that allows adequate water coverage and movement instead of extreme overloading that jams spray arm rotation and overworks the system.
3. Clean and maintain dishwasher
Get into the habit of routinely wiping away grime buildup on door seals and edges that could impair sealing. Also, check the spring and pulley areas; clear out any collected debris that could impede motion.
4. Replace old or damaged components early
Make inspecting the door springs and pulley cables part of your occasional dishwasher upkeep. Look for early signs of stretching, fraying, or cracking in cables and replace them proactively if compromised instead of waiting for total failure.
After following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can rest assured knowing your dishwasher door now glides smoothly open and closes the way it was designed to function.
No more jarring slamming or unequal operation thanks to replacing those stretched dishwasher door springs, worn pulley cables, or cracked wheels.