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Access to the working parts of most dishwashers is through the front door of the unit. Many repairs can be made to the machine by simply opening the door and reaching into the various component parts, such as the sprayers, strainers, float switch, racks, and door latch.
To get to the control panel on the door, remove a series of retaining screws around the panel. These screws may be under molding trim strips, which usually snap onto the metal housing. Pry off the strips with a stiff-bladed putty knife or a screwdriver, or remove a setscrew that holds the molding.
The control knobs are friction-fit on shafts or are held by small setscrews in the base of the knobs. In some dishwashers, the entire front door panel must be removed to gain access to the control components. This panel is held to the door by a series of retaining screws, usually found around the edge on the inside back of the door.
On many models, once the control panel is removed the door panel can be removed by unscrewing a series of fasteners holding the door panel in place. Sometimes these retaining screws are covered by trim moldings, which must be pried or slipped off.
For access to the motor, pump, hoses, inlet valves, and other parts, remove the lower access panel. This can usually be done without removing the entire door. The panel may be held by retaining screws, or it may lift up and off metal hangers.
If the dishwasher is portable, tip the machine over on its back or side before removing the control door or lower access panels. This may give you a more comfortable working position.
Once you can get inside the dishwasher, knowing the major parts and how they function will help you assess the problem. We’ll review the main parts and how to check them in the next section.