Has your dishwasher stopped draining? Did you accidentally break the sliding rack? Are the buttons just not working? You need a repair pro. We asked Deondre Lee of Lee Appliance Repair and Installation and Craig Kimble of We Can Fix That to share their best tips for when to repair an ailing dishwasher and when to replace it.
When to Fix: Common Dishwasher Issues
Typical dishwasher problems involve broken mechanical parts, says Craig of We Can Fix That. Think a broken soap dispenser, dislodged sliding rack wheel, or broken sprayer arm.
When a dishwasher won’t drain, there’s usually something in the drain process that shouldn’t be there like lemon seeds, glass, plastic wrap or even bobby pins. “With a high-end dishwasher, you’ll get an OE overflow code. Often I can disconnect the machine, lean it forward, and drain it for a fix without having to replace any of the control boards,” says Craig.
In general, if you have to fix an issue but the unit is relatively new, it makes sense to fix if repair costs are under half the cost to replace the appliance. A good unit can last you 15-20 years if it’s well-maintained.
When to Replace: Do the Math
Once you start to replace the electronic boards, it gets expensive. On high-end dishwashers (KitchenAid, Samsung, Bosch) if the user control panel and the power control unit go out at the same time, it’s not worth it to repair it. “The parts alone will exceed $600 wholesale,” says Craig.
If a dishwasher is more than 7-10 years old and you’re paying more than half of the original cost in repairs, you should consider buying a new one.
Replacing a door latch can get pricey, says Deondre of Lee Appliance Repair and Installation. “This can run $200-250 for parts and labor,” he says, “And you can easily avoid this repair. If you want to add in dishes, don’t just pull it open. Hit pause and let the automatic lock release. It will save you money!”
Leaking is a big problem around the door or underneath where the motor or pumps assembly are, says Deondre. Costs vary depending on how old the unit is or if the control board is gone. For standard dishwashers repairs range from $100-200. For bigger projects or work on higher-end dishwashers (with more expensive parts) average costs might be $380-450.
How to Avoid Issues
Don’t overload it, says Deondre of Lee Appliance Repair and Installation, and when you first have a problem, look at your model number and do some online research to learn about your machine. There might be an easy DIY fix for your symptoms.
Don’t run a garbage disposal at the same time the dishwasher is running, urges Craig of We Can Fix That. The two share the same plumbing, so if they’re going at the same time, you are more apt to kick debris into the dishwasher discharge line and clog it.
A little preventative maintenance goes a long way. Have a pro come every two years, clean out your lines and any calcium deposits, and get you running clean again.
Read more from our “Repair or Replace?” series here.