How to Troubleshoot the Test Cycle on a Bosch Dishwasher

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Bosch dishwashers are available at most hardware and appliance stores, and are some of the most well-known options for dishwashers.
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Bosch dishwashers are available at most hardware and appliance stores, and are some of the most well-known options for dishwashers. All dishwashers need care and upkeep, and occasionally, malfunctions can happen, even with Bosch appliances. That's why it's important to read the manual and other literature about your model so that you can react appropriately if something goes wrong.

Normal Operation and Maintenance

In order to keep your Bosch dishwasher working properly, it's important to keep up with regular maintenance.

Clean and descale the dishwasher every few months to remove any grease buildup or hard water deposits inside the dishwasher. This can be done with white vinegar, although Bosch also offers a product specifically for cleaning and descaling. Run the dishwasher on the hottest and longest cycle using the product of your choice to descale, then run the cycle once again to remove any traces of the cleaning product.

Clean the filter every three to six months, depending on buildup. The filter is removed easily from the bottom of the dishwasher and can be scrubbed clean with a sponge or a brush and soap.

When filling the dishwasher, be sure to line dishes up properly so that all surfaces can be accessed by the water. Check that the jets can move and rearrange any dishes as required. Do not overfill the dishwasher, as this can lead to improper cleaning and occasionally broken dishes.

Your dishes shouldn't have to be scrubbed clean before they're put in the dishwasher. Simply rinsing them to remove major pieces of food should suffice. The dishwasher should work with the detergent to soak and remove food from your dishes.

Resetting A Bosch Dishwasher

No matter how well you take care of it, a dishwasher is an appliance with moving parts that can undergo wear and tear just like everything else.

Sometimes, the dishwasher will seem to get stuck running the wash cycle, especially if a cycle has been interrupted by the user opening the door. Or perhaps the buttons on the menu don't seem to be responding. Your first step should be resetting the dishwasher to see whether this solves the problem. A "soft" reset can be done at the control panel. For many Bosch dishwashers, this is done by pressing the "start" button and waiting for a response.

If this doesn't cause the cycle to resume or fix the problem, press and hold the "start" button for three to five seconds, then wait to see whether this works. Check the manual for your model, because some models may have a different reset sequence. Often, this soft reset will clear whatever has caused the error, and the dishwasher can go back to normal.

The next thing to try is a "hard" reset, done at your circuit breaker box. Switch the circuit breaker for the dishwasher off and wait for about five minutes, then switch it back on. This type of reset should clear out any communications that may have malfunctioned. Many of the problems you may come across can be resolved by this reset, so be sure to try it first.

Bosch SHE Dishwasher Test Program

Bosch dishwashers come with a built-in test cycle option, known as the Bosch dishwasher diagnostic mode, to help identify what's going wrong. The test cycle runs the dishwasher on its normal cycle, and then reports back an error code to help you identify the problem. Instructions on running the Bosch SHE dishwasher test program vary from model to model, but it's usually accessed by a combination of holding down and pressing the existing buttons to initiate the cycle. Depending on the model, either one of the buttons will light up as an answer, or if the dishwasher has a display, a code will be shown. This fault code can be referenced in the manual to indicate what kind of error has occurred in the machine.

It's important to try both this and a reset before calling a technician. Not only can it save you the cost of a visit, it gives you a better understanding of the problem if you do need to call in an expert for help. You can find comprehensive lists of Bosch dishwasher fault codes online or in your instruction manual.

Dishwasher Is Not Draining

A dishwasher that isn't draining can be the result of two main issues: either the pump is not working or there's something plugging the drain. The most common cause is an error with the drain pump. If you're handy, you can use a multimeter to check whether the pump motor has continuity. If the motor has no power, or if it has power but does not run, you'll need to replace the entire pump. Other parts of the pump and impeller system may be malfunctioning, or the drain valve or hose could be plugged with debris. Check these and clean out anything that might be in the way.

Dishwasher Will Not Start

There are a number of things that must be working properly for the dishwasher to start. If yours isn't starting, first check to make sure that the door is properly shut and latched. There are sensors that require the door to be properly closed before the dishwasher will run.

Check that the touchpad is working correctly and responsive. Problems with the control panel can also cause the dishwasher to be unable to start. In this case, try a soft or hard reset of the dishwasher and see whether that resolves the issue. If not, you may need an expert technician to come evaluate the problem.

Dishwasher Will Not Fill

If the dishwasher is not filling with water, something is preventing the water from reaching the dishwasher. This is either a plug or defect in the inlet valve or buildup from minerals that prevents the flow. Be sure to shut off the water to the dishwasher before investigation.

Dishwasher Is Not Cleaning

If your dishwasher is not cleaning the dishes properly, there are a number of things to check on.

First, check the water pump and the belt to be sure everything is working properly. Confirm that the water inlet valve is not plugged or otherwise malfunctioning.

Check all of the wash arms and assemblies. These arms can become plugged with food debris, preventing water from reaching the dishes properly. Remove any debris from the wash arms.

Be sure that no tall dishes are blocking the rotation of the wash arms. If they can't move properly, the dishes will not be cleaned properly. Also, check the circulation pump to be sure it is working properly. If the water doesn't properly circulate, the dishes will not get clean.

The manual and online literature for your Bosch dishwasher model should give you even more detail on how to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair any problems you have with your dishwasher. Standard parts are available from Bosch directly or from any hardware store that stocks Bosch items. Anyone handy enough to know how to use a multimeter should be able to troubleshoot many of these issues by themselves, making it easier if a repair person is needed. With proper care and attention, your Bosch dishwasher can continue to keep your kitchen running smoothly.

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Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).

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