Whirlpool is one of the most reliable, pocket-friendly dishwasher brands on the market. Nevertheless, its appliances aren’t immune to some of the common issues users typically experience with dishwashers: not starting/finishing a cycle. If you’ve experienced this problem or anything related, this is a post you don’t want to miss.
A Whirlpool dishwasher may not start/complete a cycle due to easy-to-fix issues like lack of water supply and enabled control lock/sleep mode, and overloading. Other times, the issue can be the electronic board, control panel, heating element, and other hard-to-reach parts.
Read on for details on what makes a Whirlpool dishwasher fail to start/complete a cycle and what you can do to fix each problem.
Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Starting Cycle
When the power indicator is on, but your whirlpool dishwasher won’t start a cycle, the problem could be because:
- The control lock is turned on.
- The appliance is in sleep mode.
- You’ve selected the delayed wash option.
- You haven’t completely locked the door and latched it.
- The water supply is off.
- You haven’t reset the dishwasher in a while.
Depending on the cause, you can fix a whirlpool dishwasher that won’t start the cycle by:
- Turning off the control lock/disable sleep mode. While you may open or close the door when the control lock’s on, none of the controls will work, including those you use to run a cycle. To turn it off, press and hold down the Lock Button for four seconds (lock indicator light should turn off). If your model has Sleep Mode, you may need to disable it first by opening and closing the door or pressing either Cancel or Start/Resume buttons.
- Disabling the delay wash option. To do this, press Cancel/Drain to stop the scheduled delay and then press Start/Resume to run a cycle.
- Locking the dishwasher’s door and latching it. If the door doesn’t latch, check the racks, especially the lower ones. When installed backward, they can prevent the door from latching correctly.
- Turning on the water supply. If you’re unsure how to do this, check your model’s installation manual. If you don’t have the manual, search it on Whirlpool’s Manuals page.
- Resetting your Dishwasher. To do this, disconnect the appliance from its power source for about a minute and power it back on.
Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Finishing Cycle/Not Doing Full Cycle
The most common causes of a Whirlpool dishwasher not completing a cycle are a compromised door latch assembly, overloading, and lack of water supply.
Depending on the cause, you can fix the problem by:
Replacing the Door Latch Assembly
Whirlpool dishwashers are designed to stop all activity whenever the door opens during a cycle as a safety measure against injury or flooding. If the door keeps opening mid-cycle, the latch assembly is likely damaged and needs replacement.
Even when the latch closes appropriately, the microswitch can sometimes fail to signal the machine that the door is closed and latched. If this is the case, you can fix the problem by only replacing the switch.
Sticking to Your Dishwasher’s Maximum Load Limit
Exceeding your dishwasher’s maximum capacity or improper loading can prevent your dishes from drying or compromise your dishwasher’s drainage system. If overloading is the issue, the dishwasher will stop just before the rinse cycle.
Checking the Water Supply
When the water supply is the issue, the dishwasher will stop in the cycle’s early stages. If the washing tub is full of water, but the unit still stops mid-cycle, check the water inlet valve for a clog. Unlong it and run a test cycle to see if the problem is fixed.
Whirlpool Dishwasher Won’t Cycle
A whirlpool dishwasher that won’t cycle is often caused by a malfunctioning wash motor (also known as circulation pump) or clogged spray armholes.
Here’s how to address each cause:
A Faulty Circulation Pump
To determine if the wash motor is the culprit, pull your dishwasher out of its countertop compartment and listen for clicking sounds in the area behind the lower kick plate/access panel. If you hear such sounds, you can almost be sure that the motor is the problem and needs replacement.
You can either call an expert to repair or do it yourself. Should you choose the DIY route, here’s a video to guide you:
Clogged Spray Arm Holes
If the circulation pump is working fine and the dishwasher still won’t cycle, try unclogging the spray arms’ holes with a thin wire (a piece cut from a metal clothes hanger will do). Most Whirlpool dishwashers have two spray arms, so you may want to check both for clogs.
To access the lower spray arm, pull out the bottom dish rack. Next, gently pull up the arm to detach it from the dishwasher and use a wire to unclog it. Once clean, put it back in its original position and push it down to reattach. If fitted correctly, you’ll hear a snap when you push down, and the arm will spin freely.
Removing the upper spray arm involves a few more steps than the lower arm. Here’s how to go about it:
- Remove and set aside the top dish rack.
- Separate your unit’s water supply pipe from the mounting bracket sitting on top of the tub.
- Detach the upper spray arm assembly and unclog it using a wire.
- Snap the spray arm back into its original position on the water supply pipe and spin it to ensure that it can move freely.
Tip: If some clogs are too tough to clean with a wire, soak the affected spray arm in warm water and vinegar before cleaning.
Whirlpool Dishwasher Stops Working Mid-Cycle
This problem is often confused with the “dishwasher not completing cycle” issue we tackled earlier. The difference is that when a dishwasher stops working mid-cycle, it may shut off completely instead of merely leaving you with dirty, unrinsed, or undried dishes, as is the case with a dishwasher failing to do a full cycle.
If your dishwasher keeps shutting off mid-cycle, first try the following basic troubleshooting hacks:
- Open the door and close it again to ensure it’s latched.
- Check whether the dishwasher has water leaks or faulty plugs and cords that may be causing it to trip the circuit breaker. A tripped circuit breaker usually cuts off the power supply to the appliance, suddenly stopping any cycle that may be running.
- If your unit’s power supply is controlled by a light switch on a wall, check to ensure it’s switched on.
If these basic hacks don’t cut it, the problem could be any of the following:
- A broken door latch
- A faulty heating element
- A malfunctioning control panel
- A compromised electronic board
- A damaged vent fan
- A faulty pump and motor assembly
- A blown bi-thermal fuse
- An issue with the power supply control board
- A malfunctioning high-limit thermostat
- A clogged/faulty circulation pump
- Food particles in the chopper blade area
Since these issues with most of the above parts require a trained eye to diagnose and fix, you might want to let a technician help you determine what can be repaired and what needs replacement. While you may be able to clean the chopper blade area, replace the door latch, or unclog/replace the circulation pump, anything beyond these three would increase your risk of doing further damage.
That does it for today’s post. As you can see, several factors may contribute to your whirlpool dishwasher not starting/finishing its cycle, and each requires specific intervention. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use some of the potential fixes we’ve covered to fix your dishwasher’s issues. When things get too technical, stop and call the experts so you don’t end up making things worse.