How to Fix a Whining Dishwasher

A whining noise coming from your dishwasher can be annoying. It can also be a symptom of a problem with the pump and motor in your machine. This symptom boils down to one or two causes. Often the filter that leads to the pump assembly clogs with sediment and makes a noise. A failing motor will also whine. Neither issue means you need a new dishwasher. Check the filter first for clogs, and, if necessary, buy a pump and motor assembly for your model washer. You can do the installation yourself.

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Replacing the motor on your dishwasher

Clear Debris from the Pump

Step 1

Unplug the dishwasher or turn it off at the circuit box.

Step 2

Open the dishwasher and take out the lower rack.

Step 3

Unscrew the center bolt in the spray arm and support. Remove the arm and bracket.

Step 4

Look for the impeller. It is a small, round plastic fan that spins under the spray arm to push water down the drain. Reach your hand between the blades into the pump assembly.

Step 5

Remove any debris sitting inside the pump filter.

Step 6

Put the spray arm and support back in place. Run the washer to see if the whining noise is gone.

Replacing the Motor and Pump

Step 1

Unplug the dishwasher or turn off the power at the circuit box.

Step 2

Remove the kickplate. This is an access panel under the door held in place by screws. Look for screws under or over the panel to remove the cover.

Step 3

Open the dishwasher and take out the lower rack.

Step 4

Disconnect the spray arm and support by removing the center bolt.

Step 5

Pull out the filter assembly that sits below the spray arm.

Step 6

Reach through the access panel from the outside of the machine and disconnect the two wire leads on the motor from the dishwasher's wiring harness.

Step 7

Place a pan under the drain hose. Pull out the drain hose from the pump and let the water run into the pan.

Step 8

Unscrew the motor and pump from the body of the dishwasher. Lift out the units.

Step 9

Install the new motor/pump assembly and screw them into place. Reattach all the remaining parts, such as the motor wires, drain hose, filter and spray arm.

Step 10

Pour a gallon of water into the bottom of the dishwasher. Watch through the open access panel for leaks.

Step 11

Restore the power to the machine if there are no leaks. If you discover leaks, move back through the parts you reinstalled, tighten them and repeat the process.

Step 12

Reattach the kickplate and restore the power.

Step 13

Run your dishwasher through one cycle before washing dishes.


Darla Ferrara

Writing since 1999, Darla Ferrara is an award-winning author who specializes in health, diet, fitness and computer technology. She has been published in "Mezzo Magazine" and Diet Spotlight, as well as various online magazines. Ferrara studied biology and emergency medical technology at the University of Nebraska and Southeast Community College.