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Dishwashers: Replace or Repair

You Are Here:   Home > Automatic Appliance Parts Blog > Dishwashers: Replace or Repair

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If you have a problem with your dishwasher, deciding whether you should repair or replace it can be difficult. Dishwashers become more efficient every year, so you can reduce your water and electricity bills if you decide to update your device. You might also increase the value of your home. However, replacing your dishwasher can be more costly than a repair. It usually takes longer to find a new unit and get an expert to install it, as well. Here are factors to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your dishwasher.

The Warranty

If your dishwasher's warranty is still active, fixing it is probably the most economical option. Contact the manufacturer or the store where you bought your dishwasher to find out its warranty status. They can also tell you which professionals in your area can make a factory-authorized repair. Some dishwashers have warranties that only cover parts, so you might still need to pay for labor.

The manufacturer might also offer to send you the part or parts you need and let you decide whether you want to conduct the repairs yourself or hire a professional. Note that your warranty may not cover a problem associated with improper installation or use.

The Age of Your Unit

Most dishwashers last for about 10 years, and even the longest warranties don't last for more than a decade. If your dishwasher is more than about eight years old, consider getting a new one instead of scheduling a repair. Repairing older dishwashers can sometimes be more difficult than fixing new ones because it's harder to find the parts needed. These parts often cost more money as well.

If the repair you need is simple and inexpensive, you might want to pursue that option instead of buying a replacement. You can add years to your dishwasher's life, and when you do choose to get a new unit, a more efficient, advanced model will be available.

The Problem



Image via Flickr under CC BY 2.0 by ceonyc

If your dishwasher needs a relatively simple repair, such as a new door latch, seal, drain pump, or pressure switch, it's usually a good idea to fix it, whether you're doing it yourself or calling a professional. A major part, such as a circulation pump or a motor, might not be economical to replace. Getting a new dishwasher might be a better financial decision over time. Before you decide what to do, complete some basic troubleshooting. Here's more information about common dishwasher problems and how you should respond to each:

A Dishwasher That Won't Start

Check the power connection to your dishwasher. The plug is usually under the kitchen sink or behind a cabinet. You can plug another device into the outlet to determine whether the problem is with your dishwasher. Some dishwashers also have a switch near the garbage disposal or kitchen light switch that you must activate as well. If the connection is good and your unit still isn't getting power, check your home's circuit breakers.

A Faulty Door Latch

The door latch switch tells the dishwasher the door is sealed and it's safe to start. If the latch is jammed or clogged with old food or soap, it won't seal and your dishwasher won't work. Make sure nothing is keeping the door from closing completely, and look for damage to the door latch and door latch switch. Look for an activated child safety switch that could be keeping your dishwasher from starting. These are usually on the inside edge of the dishwasher door.

A Malfunctioning Control Panel

The control panel for your dishwasher works like a small computer, and it includes buttons and other controls. If your dishwasher stops partway through a wash cycle, you'll need to reset or restart it. This is called a hung cycle. Turn your device all the way off and back on, or use the reset button if you have one.

You could also have a problem with the start switch, a cycle selector switch, the timer for cycles, or the thermal fuse that helps keep the control board from overheating. If you have a problem with your unit's control panel, you should think about getting a new dishwasher.

The Motor

A dishwasher's motor sends jets of water at your dishes to make cleaning easier. A malfunctioning motor might make loud noises and fail to clean dishes sufficiently. You should only replace a bad motor on newer dishwashers, as getting a new dishwasher is usually more economical.

A Leak or Clog

A leak usually comes from a loose hose or a broken gasket. A gasket is a small rubber ring that connects two hoses and another part of your dishwasher. The rubber can wear out and form cracks over time. Fortunately, replacement gaskets are usually inexpensive. You can often replace them yourself. If you can see water leaking out of your dishwasher onto the floor, you could have a broken door seal. Check gaskets and seals for any loose connections or cracks. You might be able to buy a replacement part and fix the issue yourself.

A clogged spray arm or drain might cause water pooling in the bottom of your unit. Fortunately, you can remove most clogs without help.

Repair Costs

These are only some of the dishwasher problems you could encounter. If you're not sure whether a repair or a replacement is better, compare the repair cost to the price of a new dishwasher. If the repair is less than 50% of the cost of a new model, you should probably fix your current unit. However, even a repair that's much less expensive could be a bad idea if you have an older appliance.

To find a new dishwasher or the parts you need to repair your current appliance, contact us at Automatic Appliance Parts Corporation. We can help you decide whether a replacement or a repair is the best choice for you and your family. We can also help you prevent any future issues and keep your dishwasher running smoothly and efficiently.