You should expect your dishwasher to last at least 10 years without breaking down, but many dishwashers can develop faults earlier. Luckily, lots of minor issues can be fixed with simple repairs.
With advice from the repair experts at eSpares.co.uk, we explain how to do easy five-minute and intermediate dishwasher repairs, as well those that are more ambitious and might require a little more skill.
More often than not DIY repairs are not only possible but are also cheaper and more environmentally-friendly, so we encourage you to give it a go.
Regardless of the appliance you want to fix, there are four good habits to get into.
These issues are quick and simple to fix. There's no need to take the dishwasher apart and no need for any specialist equipment or experience to complete these repairs.
The filter sits at the base of the dishwasher and catches large food particles so they don't get into the inner working of the machine and cause blockages.
Filters are designed to clip out easily for regular cleaning. They just need rinsing under the tap once a week.
A filter that's excessively dirty or damaged (or missing in the case of a second-hand machine) can be replaced with a brand new part that simply slots or clips into place.
Stuck or missing wheels make loading or unloading a dishwasher a real pain.
It's a no brainer to get some replacement wheels. The old wheels can be pulled off and the new ones clipped on with ease.
The spray arms are the long flat plastic parts that rotate and spray water around the dishwasher, rinsing and cleaning the dishes.
If your dishwasher is not cleaning efficiently, it's worth taking a look at the spray arms as if they're clogged or damaged it's a quick fix.
Spray arms can be simply unclipped and either cleaned or new ones clipped in place.
And don't forget to give the spray arm mounting a clean while it's exposed too.
Fixing these faults may take a bit longer, involve more steps or require the removal of some panels or parts within the machine.
However, none require any special electrical knowledge, so they are still quite accessible to anyone willing to give them a go.
Some basic equipment like different types of screwdrivers or pliers might be required, but most homes have these common DIY tools already.
The drain pump is the part that drains the dirty water out of the dishwasher, and can easily get blocked with bits of broken glass or crockery or build-ups of food or even hair.
The pump is found at the bottom of the machine and can be taken apart, cleaned out and put back together with relative ease.
The dishwasher will need to be tilted on its back and the base plate unscrewed and removed to get to the pump.
The biggest challenge with this repair is remembering how to reassemble the machine once you've cleaned out the debris in the pump. Taking photos on your phone can be useful for reference.
The door hinge lets the door open and close smoothly.
Many dishwasher doors have a hinge pulley system that stops the door from falling open and slamming down onto the floor (or someone's foot).
If the door is loose or heavy with nothing counterbalancing it, remove the side panels to investigate the hinge mechanism. The problem will most likely become clear after some inspection.
The detergent dispenser holds the dishwasher capsule in place until the right point in the cycle to release it.
If the dispenser is damaged, not closing or stuck closed it can be removed from the machine and a new one clipped in place.
The front panel of the dishwasher, or cupboard door in the case of built-in dishwashers, will need to be removed and any electrical connections will need to be unclipped.
However, it's not complicated to disconnect and push out the old dispenser and reconnect the new one in exactly the same way.
There are two hoses that connect to the back of your dishwasher. The fill hose allows clean water into the machine whereas the drain hose allows the dirty water to pass out of the machine into the drain.
Knowing the difference between the two hoses is also key to installing your own dishwasher. This knowledge is handy when buying a new machine as it will save you money on the installation fee. It's even handier when you're moving house as you don't have to arrange an appliance engineer on top of all the other life admin.
These are electrical repairs that require more advanced diagnosis knowledge and slightly more advanced equipment like multimeters.
This doesn't mean that they can't be fixed by novices but it's likely that research, appliance disassembly and a bit of diagnosis of different parts will be required to complete the repair.
Appliances should be switched off and disconnected from the mains when undertaking any type of repair and this is extremely important here.
The element is the part that heats the water inside the dishwasher. Limescale deposits can cause the element to fail prematurely so regularly use a dishwasher descaler to help avoid this fault. To test the element:
If the multimeter reading indicates that there is a fault, fitting a replacement element should get the dishwasher heating the water again.
The water valve is what lets water into the dishwasher. However, to know for sure that it's the valve causing the issue, the process is very similar to checking the element.
The water valve needs to be accessed at the back of the dishwasher behind the fill hose, isolated by removing the wires attached to it, checked with the multimeter and replaced if faulty.
To help narrow down the cause of a fault, modern dishwashers will display a variety of error codes. While an error code will give an indication of the cause (e.g. a draining issue), most issues can be caused by a few different parts so there will still be some diagnosis involved.
First, familiarise yourself with the process of isolating parts and taking resistance readings across their terminals.
Then learn what different multimeter readings mean. If you can do both these things, you will be able to tell whether any electrical part in your dishwasher is faulty.
Dishwashers are getting more and more advanced each year. While this opens up a world of useful features, it means that dishwashers are increasingly reliant on electronics and the printed circuit board (PCB) module that controls them.
Faults with PCB modules can be hard to diagnose, specialist equipment may be required and replacing them can be prohibitively expensive.
If you know the PCB module is faulty, it's still worth checking the cost of a new one but you may find it's just not a cost-effective or viable option to do yourself.
In this event, depending on how expensive and old your dishwasher is, you may want to consider just getting a new model rather than repairing your current one.