How to Fix a Dishwasher That Is Not Stopping

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The timer may be broken if the washer will not stop.
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If your dishwasher keeps running without switching from one cycle to the next, it may run continuously until you either unplug the unit or open the door of the unit. Your dishwasher runs on a cycle of cleaning and drying. A dishwasher that continues to cycle may have a bad heating element, faulty timer motor or malfunctioning thermostat. All of these devices signal the dishwashing unit that the job for one cycle is done, at which point it moves on to the next task.

When Dishwasher Keeps Running

If your dishwasher won't stop running, unplug it or turn off the power to the dishwasher at the circuit breaker before trying these troubleshooting steps. And if you're uncomfortable or unskilled taking the dishwasher apart or working with motors, contact a professional technician to tackle these tasks.

Check the Timer Motor First

Remove the control panel face from the dishwasher unit, and remove all the screws from the control panel and the two screws from the latch. Open the door of the dishwasher and remove the screws from the door panel; there are usually six, but this may depend on your model.

Locate the timer motor. Remove the two wires from the terminal connectors at the top of the unit. Pull the wires out by the connectors and label them with tape so you know which terminal they fit in. Turn on your multitester to the X1000 setting. Touch one probe to each terminal. You should receive a reading between 2,000 and 3,000 ohms. If not, remove the motor by removing the retention screws. Replace the unit with a new one.

Troubleshoot a Faulty Heating Element

Turn off the power to the unit. Locate the heating element, which is a thick metal rod at the bottom of the unit. If the heating element is covered, remove the screws holding down the cover and lift it out.

Remove the lower panel at the front of the machine and find where the heating element comes through the tub and down to the lower access area. Find the wires connected to the heating element. Pull on the wire connectors to remove them and label the wires with tape. Set your multitester to the X1 setting and touch the probes of the tester to the terminals. The reading should be between zero and infinity.

Remove the broken heating element by removing the lock nut holding down the heating element with a wrench. Lift the element up and out from inside the dishwasher unit. Drop in a new one, tighten it down and connect the wires.

Replace Malfunctioning Thermostat

If the thermostat does not signal the timer to proceed to the next cycle, a dishwasher continues to heat water, it won't stop running and the dishwasher won't drain. be sure to disconnect the power supply to the appliance before proceeding.

Remove the dishwasher's outer panel on the door and the control panel, and remove the bottom front and toe panel to the unit by removing the screws holding them to the unit. Disconnect the thermostat wires, and remove the thermostat and metal mounting bracket. Replace the thermostat in the bracket with a new one, reconnect the wires and reassemble the front and toe panels, outer door and control panel.

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Cleveland Van Cecil

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer since 2008 and has published extensively online, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.