How To Test A Dishwasher Pump Motor (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
Have you ever loaded the dishwasher and expected clean dishes only to discover that nothing happened? Well, your dishwasher may have a faulty pump motor. Whether it be looking for error codes or using a multimeter, let’s take a look at how you can identify a bad pump motor.

When you’re trying to get your dishes clean, nothing will get under your skin quite as bad as a dishwasher that doesn’t want to work. If you’ve already gone through a portion of the troubleshooting, chances are that you’re going to want to make sure that the dishwasher pump motor isn’t at fault. But, how do you test that motor out without making a serious mess?

Before you even think of testing anything, check to see if your dishwasher posts an error code relating to the pump motor. If not, check for symptoms of a bad pump motor. If you still need more evidence of a bad motor, use a hook volt multimeter to read the resistance of the motor. A good motor will only have 30 to 40 ohms of resistance.

Trying to manually test a dishwasher pump motor is not always necessary if you know what else you can look for. This guide will help you troubleshoot that dishwasher and hopefully figure out your next steps.

Related Content: Dishwasher Brands To Avoid | How To Lengthen A Dishwasher Drain Hose | Got Water In The Bottom Of The Dishwasher?

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Before You Begin: Is It Your Dishwasher Drain Pump Motor?

Testing your drain pump motor will involve physically taking out the drain pump, which is not exactly something you want to do unless it’s necessary. You can usually tell if your drain pump motor is the problem through other means, thankfully. If you notice these issues, you probably have a bad pump to blame:

  • Your dishwasher is draining slowly. This isn’t always a clear-cut sign, this is a good indicator that you might have a drain pump issue. To check this, run your dishwasher and see if water pooled at the bottom of the washer. If you notice a large puddle there, you probably have a pump motor problem.
  • When your dishwasher is draining, you hear a high-pitched whining noise.  The whining noise tends to be the sound of a dying motor or a jammed pump.
  • The error code that your washer keeps showing says “DP.” DP stands for “drain pump,” which means that the display that shows this is pretty certain it has something to do with your drain pump.
  • When you’re running cycles that involve draining away water, you start hearing strange noises. Not all pump motors will make a loud whine, even though that is the most common noise it’ll make. Some motors will make a loud, vibrating buzz when the drain isn’t working. Others may make even stranger noises.
  • There’s water pooling at the bottom of your washer. Do you open up the washer door, only to find some murky water at the bottom? You might have a bad pump motor to blame.

Should You Test Your Pump Motor?

If you have a suspicion that your pump is going bad, then you should test it to make sure that it’s the motor that’s gone bad. Otherwise, you might risk needlessly replacing a motor when you’re actually in need of removing a clog from the drain. Or worse, you might end up misdiagnosing something else that could actually damage your washer. No one wants to do that, right?

Can You DIY A Drain Pump Motor Test?

For the most part, testing your drain pump motor shouldn’t be a big issue. As long as you have the right tools for the job, the testing itself is fairly straightforward. This is appropriate for people who have beginner to intermediate DIY skills, and can hopefully save you some money in the process.

The better news is that you can also replace a drain pump motor on your own in most cases. So if you want to save money on calling a repairman, you absolutely can. There’s usually no reason to call one if your pump motor is the issue.

Diagnose Draining And Motor Problems In A Dishwasher

How To Test Your Pump Motor

To test your pump motor, you will need a voltmeter that can read resistance as well as a couple of tools to remove your dishwasher’s drain pump motor. We also strongly suggest getting a user’s manual to make sure that you are doing things right. To start your testing, follow these steps:

  • Do an empty wash run to see if there’s a strange sound coming from the drain pump. If you don’t know where the drain pump is, listen closer to the bottom of your dishwasher.
  • Turn off your washer and open up the door. You are going to need to access your washing machine’s drain pump.
  • Refer to your dishwasher’s owner’s manual to determine how you should remove your pump motor. In most dishwashers, this will include accessing the pump through the sump at the bottom of your dishwasher, near where the small black wire barriers are. To remove it, you will most likely have to twist it and lift upwards. Even so, it’s best to double-check.
  • Clean the area in and around the pump motor. If you have a clogged pump or just a bad drainage issue, this can help make things better. It also can help you figure out whether or not there are
  • If your pump motor is dirty, take a disinfecting wipe and clean it out. This can help ensure that you get a good reading from your meter. It also can help your motor run smoother if it tests out to be good.
  • Examine the drain pump motor. This isn’t really “testing” per se, but it still will help you diagnose what is going on. If you notice broken pieces or something that is clearly wrong with it, you already know it’s gone bad.
  • Clear out the drain pump’s plumbing. This will prevent you from misdiagnosing things, and also will help improve how well your washer runs. If your drain pump is working well, cleaning out the plumbing is going to be the fastest way to make sure that you get
  • Take your volt multimeter and use it to test the resistance. A good drain pump motor will only give 30 to 40ohms of resistance. If it has more or less, then it’s bad.

What Should You Do If Your Drain Pump Motor Has Gone Bad?

Unfortunately, a drain pump motor that’s gone bad can only be fixed via replacement. If yours went bad, you are going to have to get a drain motor pump that is made specifically for your dishwasher make and model and replace the one that you currently have. You should not use a dishwasher that has a bad drain motor pump.

How Much Does A Replacement Drain Pump Motor Cost?

The cost of a replacement drain pump motor will depend on the type of dishwasher that you get. On average, a drain pump motor will be between $30 to $220 for a full replacement in a non-commercial unit. If you choose to get a professional to replace it, you will also need to factor in a labor fee that will be between $50 to $120 on average.

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Related Questions

Why is my washer drain backed up?

In most cases where the drain pump is not an issue, the biggest concern is having a clog in your “P” trap. To make sure that this is not the case, clean out the plumbing that leads to your washer drain. This will most likely fix the problem. If it doesn’t, then go for a more solid approach by calling a repairman.

Is replacing my dishwasher worth it?

It all depends on what your issue is with the dishwasher. .If you have to replace something simple like a pump, or if you just need to remove a clog from the plumbing, it wouldn’t make sense to replace the dishwasher. If the problem is something much larger, such as having to repair or replace the entire computer system, then replacing your dishwasher is probably going to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Can Coca-Cola unclog my drains?

If you have a washing machine that has clogged drains, you might be able to use everyone’s favorite soda to unclog it. The soda is actually fairly caustic but isn’t harsh enough to harm any plumbing in your home or inside your washer. To use it, just take a large two-liter bottle and pour it down the drain. The acidity will work through everything.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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