Dishwasher Timer Motor – The Problems It Can Cause And How To Test It

30 July 2015
 Categories: , Blog


The timer motor in your dishwasher is what makes the dishwasher complete the cycles. If this little motor goes bad, there are several problems that you may begin to experience.   

Problems Caused by a Failing Timer Motor

The dishwasher:

  • won't work at all.
  • won't finish a cycle.
  • detergent cup won't open.
  • cycles run longer than they should.
  • doesn't get the dishes clean.

If you are experiencing one, some or all of these issues, there is a very good chance that the problems are being caused by the timer motor malfunctioning.

Test the Timer Motor

To test the timer motor you will need:

  • The owner's manual
  • Screwdriver
  • Multitester
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Permanent marker

Locate the timer motor. If you are unsure of the location of the timer motor, refer to the owner's manual. In the manual, you will find a diagram that shows exactly where to find the timer motor.

If you don't have access to the owner's manual, you can download an online copy of it by searching the web using the model and serial number located just inside the dishwasher door.

Turn off the Power – Before you begin opening up the dishwasher components, turn off the power to the unit at your home's breaker panel. This will eliminate the risk of electrical shock during the project.

Access the Control Panel – The access panel is typically located inside the dishwasher door. To access it, remove the screws on the access panel on the inside of the door probably close to the door latch. (Note: As you remove the screws, do not remove the screws that hold the door hinges in place. These screws don't need to be removed to access the control panel or the timer motor and will just cause you more work when the repair is complete.

Test the Timer Motor – The timer motor looks like a small square box that has a cylinder on one side of it. You will see two wires that come from the round element of the part. Use your fingers to follow those two wires to the terminal connections.

Use the marker to label the wires and connections so that you can easily reposition the wires when you have completed your test. Use your needle-nose pliers to grasp the wires at the connections and carefully pull them off of the terminals.

Now, use the multimeter to test the motor. Set your multitester to X and touch each probe to the wires. You should get a reading of 2,000 to 3,500 ohms. Your owner's manual should give you an exact reading to expect during this test. If the timer motor fails this test, it needs to be replaced.

If you don't feel comfortable performing this test or making the repairs, contact your local appliance service technician (such as one from Master Tech Mechanical) for assistance.