Where to Find Your Model Number
Buying Parts – Online, or Local?
When looking for parts, it helps a TON if you can find a model number. So IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, find the nameplate. It’s usually found inside the door. It may also be fastened to the top edge of the door itself.
If you cannot find the nameplate, check the owner’s manual, or the original papers that came with your dishwasher when it was new. They should contain the model number somewhere.
On most newer dishwashers, there is a repair or disassembly paper folded up in a baggie, and stored taped to the back of the dishwasher or under the kickplate. If you have one of these, it will contain a model number.
In any case, and especially if you have absolutely NO information about your model number anywhere, MAKE SURE YOU BRING THE OLD PART TO THE PARTS STORE WITH YOU. Sometimes they can match it up by looks or by part number.
Buying Dishwasher Repair Parts
Should you buy online, or locally? I probably don’t need to tell you the trade-offs…time versus money.
It really boils down to what you’re working on, and how quickly you need it working again. If you were working on a melting freezer and you were losing $300 worth of steaks, you would certainly want to buy locally. If you are replacing common parts on a big-name-brand dishwasher (so-called “fast movers”) EVERYBODY will stock them. If you’re working on a lesser-brand dishwasher, or on some esoteric parts, you may have to order online.
Whether you buy online or locally, find yourself a good appliance parts dealer. You can find them in the yellow pages or in a simple online search. And whether you’re buying parts online or locally, I am a big fan of supporting excellent customer service, which, in the parts business, means free repair advice.
Some parts houses may offer service, too, especially in small towns. If you decide to buy locally, call one of the locals and ask if they are a dishwasher repair service, or if they sell parts, or both. Ask them if they offer free advice with the parts they sell (Occasionally, stores that offer both parts and service will not want to give you advice.) Often the parts counter men are ex-technicians who got tired of the pressures of in-home service. They can be your best friends. However, you don’t want to badger them with too many questions, so know your basics BEFORE you start asking questions.
If they offer service, be careful! They may try to talk you out of even trying to fix your own dishwasher. They’ll tell you it’s too complicated, then in the same breath “guide” you to their service department. Who are you gonna believe, me or them? Not all service and parts places are this way, though, so if this is the case, you have to go with your gut.
There are a few repairs that I believe are too complex for a DIYer. Electronic controls, for example.
Wanna know a secret? For professionals, an awful lot of diagnosis is done by guessing; ESPECIALLY with electronic components. It’s just simply much faster and easier to change out a circuit board and see if the machine works, than it is to try to figure out what component of that board has failed.
Unfortunately, circuit boards are not cheap. And being electrical parts, they are usually not returnable. Meaning that if you didn’t guess correctly, you just ate a hundred-dollar circuit board, and your machine still has the same problem that needs fixing.
If you’re a professional technician, that’s not a problem. You can just yank the circuit board back out. and use it on the next one of these machines that you see.
However, if you’re a DIY’er, it’s a BIG problem. You have no interest in owning a hundred-dollar circuit board that you don’t need, and can’t return.
So I know this will be controversial, and you will SELDOM hear me say this, but my PRACTICAL advice is this: if you have a problem that you think you’ve traced to the electronic controls in a machine, call a professional service technician to fix it. Since they can get a volume discount on the part, it will PROBABLY end up costing you not much more than trying to do it yourself.