Say your dishwasher still works—just not as well as you remember it working in the past. Sometimes, your dishwasher just needs some quick maintenance to get back into top shape.
For example, a dip in your dishwasher’s cleaning performance could simply be from a clogged filter, or food and mineral buildup somewhere else in the dishwasher. Those are easy problems to fix, no tools required. We’ve got plenty of other advice on more tips on keeping your dishwasher running well.
If your issue seems to be more complex, start by checking if you’re entitled to free service under the terms of your product warranty (usually for the first year of ownership), or perhaps under a product recall or class-action settlement.
The first step is to find your dishwasher’s model number. It’s typically printed on a sticker somewhere along the side of the dishwasher door, and will almost always be a mess of seemingly random numbers and letters. Next, punch that into Google with “recall” or “warranty” and you should get the info you need.
Generally, if your appliance is under warranty, get in touch directly with the manufacturer to make a claim. But some appliance dealers have in-house service teams, so if you bought your dishwasher from one of these retailers, contact them first.
If you aren’t entitled to free service, try to diagnose your dishwasher’s woes on your own. You might learn that you can easily fix the problem by yourself or at least get a sense of how difficult and expensive the fix might be.
Many appliances have a diagnostic mode. Certain LG and Samsung appliances (including dishwashers), for example, have an easy-to-use self-diagnosis feature that can send troubleshooting instructions to a smartphone app. Most brands have a diagnostic mode meant specifically for repair technicians, but you can often access it yourself with timed button presses. Search for it on Google or YouTube by typing in the brand and model number of your dishwasher along with the words ”diagnostic mode.” The most reliable posts generally rise to the top of your search results.
Most dishwasher product manuals (and brand web pages) also have a troubleshooting section that might give you some clues. Customer service might be able to point you to a helpful site or video online, or guide you over the phone or an online chat directly, though some are more helpful than others.
Whatever the issue turns out to be, you’ll likely save more money by fixing it on your own. Repair Clinic is a good place to start, because they carry spare parts for loads of dishwashers and have tons of useful tutorials, vetted by experienced technicians.
Still, some tasks are better left to the pros, “including pump repair and any electronic controls,” says Larry Ciufo, CR’s head of dishwasher testing. In this case, you’ll probably save money by choosing an independent repair shop. Here are the average repair costs for each type of technician, according to CR’s member surveys. (To get an idea of average repair costs in your local area, you can check sites like Angi or Home Advisor.)
- Independent tech: $165
- Appliance retailer: $173
- Manufacturer: $198