Fix Frigidaire Dishwasher Lights Flashing or Blinking & Not Starting Issue

If your Frigidaire dishwasher lights are flashing and it won’t start, you could have a real mess on your hands! There are several things that could be causing this, but I’ve got you covered with a few quick fixes to get your Frigidaire dishwasher up and running again.

When the lights on a Frigidaire dishwasher are flashing, it often indicates a malfunction within the unit. Common issues include problems with the door latch assembly, as a malfunctioning micro switch can cause the lights to blink. To diagnose, a multimeter can be used to test the switch for continuity, and if it lacks continuity, the switch or latch assembly may need replacement. Additionally, flashing lights can also signal errors related to water heating, water filling, or other functional issues, which may require checking the error codes in the user manual or consulting a professional.

In this article, I will guide you through some troubleshooting steps that you can take before calling a professional for help, and I will touch on some of the common mishaps that may have gotten you here in the first place.

Why Are the Lights on My Dishwasher Flashing and It’s Not Starting?

There could be several reasons why the lights on your dishwasher are flashing, and it won’t start. It could be an issue with the door, the heating element, the control panel, or even the drain pump. 

You can try solving the problem with one of the troubleshooting steps below before involving a professional. 

Reset the dishwasher

If your dishwasher won’t turn on, start by resting it. This could be a quick way to get it working again. 

To do this, start by finding the “Cancel” button. It will be located on the far right side of the control panel.

Once you’ve found it, hold it down for about three seconds. Wait another five minutes before turning it back on so that it gives it time to reset.  

After five minutes, try switching it on again. If this doesn’t work, you can try resetting it by switching off the circuit breaker and switching it back on. 

Check the display to see if this stopped the flashing lights on your dishwasher.

Try to enter error mode or service model

If resetting it didn’t work, the next thing you can try is to try and switch your dishwasher into error mode, also called service mode or diagnostic mode. This is a really helpful feature that Frigidaire dishwashers come with. It will basically run a test to identify what is wrong with your appliance and then display an error code telling you what it is. 

To put your dishwasher into error mode, first, turn your dishwasher off if it isn’t off already. Then, simultaneously press the “Hi-Temp Wash” button and the “Start” or “Cancel” button until the test begins. 

The lights on the front of your dishwasher will light up, indicating that you have entered the service mode. We will go over a few of the most common error codes that it may give you below. 

The dishwasher door could be open 

After you’ve tried resetting your dishwasher and running the service mode, double check to see if the door is completely closed. This may seem obvious, but it is sometimes easy to miss, and it is one of the quickest fixes to getting your dishwasher up and running again.

Check if the door is fully closed before attempting to fix any other issues.

If it’s open, inspect the door to make sure there is nothing getting in the way of it closing, like a dish sticking out or a piece of silverware that has gone astray. Don’t forget about the inside of the dishwasher. There might be something stuck in there too.

Remove any obstacles and make sure the door is closed tightly, and then press the start button to see if this has fixed the issue.

Door latch is faulty or damaged

Since the dishwasher won’t start unless the door is completely closed, it goes without saying that a broken latch would also impede it from properly working because if the latch is broken, the dishwasher door won’t close properly.

To test the door latch, open the door and listen for the sound of the lock clicking into place. Visually inspect both sides for any missing or damaged parts. Debris could also be blocking the latch mechanism.

First, remove any debris that may be in the way of the latch, and if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to replace the door latch. This is an easy switch out and can be done by removing the two screws on the inside of the door, removing the latch, and replacing it with the new one.

Malfunctioning heating element 

Dishwashers have an electric heating element that heats up the water and the washing liquid in order to kill bacteria on the dishes. If it is broken, it could cause a light to begin flashing on the control panel and will definitely not clean the dishes properly. 

To tell if the heating element is what is broken on your dishwasher, you can use a multimeter, an instrument used for measuring electrical quantities, to test for a continuous electrical path.

To do so, simply remove the heating element from the bottom of your dishwasher, and touch the positive and negative ends of the multimeter to each side of the heating element. 

If the multimeter gives a reading of less than 0.1 ohms, it indicates an open circuit meaning the heating element is defective, and it is time for a new one! They’re relatively inexpensive and easy to replace.

Problem with the control panel

If you still can’t figure out what’s causing the problem, take a closer look at the controls on the front panel. Look for signs that indicate whether the buttons work properly. 

Next, turn off the circuit breaker and unplug the appliance. Remove the cover plate, if necessary, and inspect the wires coming into the unit. Make sure each wire is securely attached to the terminal block. If you notice loose wires, replace them immediately.

You may also be able to tell that your control panel needs to be replaced if the buttons are getting hard to press. This can be a downfall to some Frigidaire models. In addition, the control panel should always be kept clean. Otherwise, it could cause it to break or malfunction.

A good rule of thumb is to only replace the control panel if you have to. You may be able to get away with replacing just the touchpad if it is available for your model, which we will talk about a bit more below.

Main control board could be the problem

Dishwashers often display error messages or warnings about internal problems. These errors aren’t always caused by malfunctioning parts inside the machine but rather by faulty wiring or other issues outside the unit. In most cases, replacing the control board will solve these issues.

Before attempting to replace the control board, first, be sure to turn off the power to your dishwasher by turning off the circuit breaker. 

To get started, open the door and remove the screws on the inside door panel that are holding the back of the door to the front. Loosen the door latch screws but leave them intact. Once you have the screws out, the outer door panel should pop right off. You can set that to the side for now.

Next, fully remove the door latch screws, and you will see the control panel cover. Remove the control panel to expose the control panel. Take a picture of the wires so that you know where each wire goes, and then disconnect them.

Then remove the old control board by removing the screws that are holding it down, and replace it with the new one. You will need to reconnect the wires and replace all of the screws to put your dishwasher back together. 

Turn the circuit breaker back on and see if this solves the issue!

Faulty Drain Pump

When your dishwasher finishes washing, the water flows down to the drain at the bottom of the dishwasher. It’s then sent out the drain hose that is attached to your sink. The drain pump is what creates the pressure to make that happen. 

So naturally, if it is broken or clogged, your dishwasher may not properly function, which will cause the lights to flash on the control panel. If you notice that your dishwasher isn’t draining the water properly, it is a sign that the drain pump may be broken and needs to be replaced.

You can also check the continuity of the drain pump using the same method as above to check the heating element. Make sure to turn off the circuit breaker before removing the pump to test it. 

Defective Touchpad 

The touchpad is on the front side of the control panel. As I mentioned above, if the touchpad is broken, it will cause flashing lights on the control panel and not allow you to start your dishwasher.

First, examine the touchpad and look for any visible signs of broken buttons. If the control panel display is lit up, but some of the buttons don’t respond when you press them, it is a sign that you need to replace your touchpad. 

If there is a problem with it, you’re going to have to replace the touchpad. Depending on your model, replacing the touchpad might require replacing just the keyboard or the entire control panel.

What Are Error Codes?

As I previously mentioned, you can run the diagnostic mode on your dishwasher, and the error code that it gives can possibly tell you what is wrong with it. 

You can check for a list of the error codes in your user manual. Some of the most common are:

  • PF – Power failure. To fix this, check the voltage going into the dishwasher or try resetting it.
  • HO – The water is not heating up enough/the temperature is too low. You may be able to quickly fix this by running hot water in your sink before running the dishwasher. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to look at the heating element.
  • LO – Low rinse aid. To fix this, refill the rinse aid dispenser.
  • CL – The door is open. If you are getting this error and the dishwasher door is closed, you may need to replace your control board.
  • i10 – Water supply is too low. Check the hose that supplies the water to the dishwasher for leaks and blockage.
  • i60 – Problem with the heating system. Check the heating element by following the steps above.

If you were able to fix the problem, pressing and holding the cancel button will clear the code.

Call a Pro? 

If you’ve gone through the list above and the problem persists, it may be time to call a professional. 

They can come to your house and service your dishwasher so that you can get back into the swing of things with a properly running appliance. 

Proper Maintenance

Now that you’ve seen all of the things that can cause a dishwasher to stop functioning properly, it probably seems like a good idea to try to prevent that in the first place.

Here are a couple of things you can do to keep your dishwasher running speedily for years to come.

Clean it! Cleaning the filter, the doors, and the seals will help keep it running like a dream. It will also help avoid some of the problems above, like a clogged drain or a door that won’t shut. It’s recommended to clean your dishwasher at least once a month.

Use it! Running your dishwasher at least once a week keeps the motors working properly. And since washing your dishes with a dishwasher helps save water, this is great for the environment too.

Average Lifespan of Dishwasher

Even if you do everything right, however, the average lifespan of a dishwasher is about 10-15 years. Of course, if you take care of it well, you can extend its life even longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Frigidaire dishwasher not starting?

There could be a number of reasons your Frigidaire dishwasher is not starting. Start by resetting it. If that doesn’t work, inspect the door, heating element, control panel and touchpad, drain pump, and control board to make sure they are all functioning properly. 

Why won’t my Frigidaire dishwasher start? (It does absolutely nothing on pushing the “Start” button) 

This is likely a problem caused by a faulty or broken control panel or touchpad. To replace the control panel, you will need to turn off the power to your dishwasher before disconnecting the old one.

Why are all three lights blinking on my Frigidaire dishwasher?

If your Frigidaire dishwashing machine is flashing its lights, check for any of these potential causes: an open or defective latch, a malfunctioning heater element, a faulty thermostat, or a faulty main circuit breaker.

How do you clear a Frigidaire dishwasher error code?

To clear a Frigidaire dishwasher error code, press and hold the “Cancel” button.

How do I run diagnostic mode on my Frigidaire dishwasher?

To put your dishwasher into error mode, first, turn your dishwasher off if it isn’t off already. Then, simultaneously press the “Hi-Temp Wash” button and the “Start” or “Cancel” button until the test begins.

How can I force a Frigidaire dishwasher to drain?

If your dishwasher is not draining, first check the drain pump. If it is not working properly, replace it. If it is not a problem of the drain pump, there may be a blockage in the drain tube. To get your dishwasher to drain properly, make sure to keep that tubing clear.


So to sum things up, if you have a Frigidaire dishwasher that won’t turn on or keeps blinking the lights on the front, chances are one of the things in this post will be the cause of it. Follow the troubleshooting steps to try and fix the problem yourself first, and if none of these solutions works, call a professional appliance repairman.