Kitchenaid dishwasher drain pump test (step by step)

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Water drainage problems in Kitchenaid dishwashers are sometimes due to a defective drain pump (Remember that a good sign of a non-functional pump is broken/missing fins).

But you do not want to replace the drain pump only to find that the problem was actually something else (The culprit can be a piece of glass in the fan of the pump, a burnt out motor, clogging in the hose somewhere, etc.).

That being so, how can you tell that the problem is the drain pump specifically?

Well, the easiest way is to perform a drain pump test.

And the good news is that the test does not take long..

Below is how to perform Kitchenaid dishwasher drain pump test (step by step)…


Kitchenaid dishwasher drain pump test (step by step)

Tools needed

To perform Kitchenaid dishwasher drain pump test, you will need the following:

  • A screwdriver.
  • A multimeter.


What the test entails

First, you will need to disassemble the appliance to access the drain pump (it is typically located just behind the machine’s lower access panel).

Once you gain access to the pump, you will proceed to remove it.

All that remains at this point is to carry out the test.

Follow the complete step-by-step guide below to run the test:


Step 1: Disconnect power

It goes without saying that you must disconnect power from the device before starting


Step 2: Lay the dishwasher on the side and remove the base plate

Lay the dishwasher on its side and remove the base plate – remember the pump is found on the underside of the machine in most Kitchenaid dishwashers.

Needless to say, you will use the screwdriver to remove the screws securing the plate.


Step 3: Remove the pump

Locate and disconnect any connector that could block you from getting the dishwasher pump out.

Now remove the drain pump.

Summary of the steps to remove the potentially dying pump on Kitchenaid dishwasher

  1. Cut power to the machine.
  2. Pull the dishwasher out.
  3. Flip it on its side.
  4. Unscrew the small bolts to remove the bottom kickplate.
  5. Unplug the two wire connector.
  6. Grab the pump’s body.
  7. Lastly, while holding the pump’s body rotate it (like make a quarter twist)- the pump should come off.


Step 4: Running the Kitchenaid dishwasher drain pump test

After you have removed the pump, grab your multimeter (ensure it is on Rx1 mode) and touch the drain pump terminals (with the probes).

Here you will be testing for continuity- and you want to have zero continuity (or nearly zero).

The final test will need you to touch one probe to your dishwasher’s bare metal frame while the other lead remains on a terminal.

Again you don’t want to get any continuity.

If the pump passes these tests, then it is in good shape meaning the cause of the drainage problem is something else (replace the pump with this one if it fails any of the tests).


Alternative test

There is another way of testing the drain dump, if for some reason you are not satisfied with the results from the above test.

And it is rather simple- you test the drain pump by checking the resistance depending on what your Kitchenaid dishwasher wiring schematic specifies at specific contacts (on the pump).

If you find none, then the drain pump must be replaced to fix the drainage fault.


So, what else should I test?

As mentioned earlier, if your pump passed the continuity test, then it is safe to conclude that the problem lies elsewhere.

Below is what else you should check if your Kitchenaid dishwasher drainage issues persist:


1. Impeller motor

Usually, there is an impeller motor in the drain pump to help force water through drain hose and it might be to blame.

To test the motor, try to give it proper electricity and check if the impeller motor will spin.

You can give the motor electricity by attaching power cords that you have modified properly–plugged into an outlet-  to the motor leads.

If it doesn’t spin, the motor is likely bad and you must replace/repair it.


2. Impeller housing

If it spins, you should turn your attention to the impeller housing.

You see, if there is something foreign wedged in there- for example, a small glass/ceramic chip- the impeller could be jamming or having difficulties turning, leading to drainage issues.

Of course, removing the obstructing object(s) should restore your dishwasher to its normal operating condition.


3. The check valve

Keep in mind that the check valve could also become stuck (it is usually part of drain hose and is found within that rubber elbow connecting to the pump’s housing) so check that as well.


4. Drain hose (for clogging)

A lot of people begin troubleshooting drainage issues by checking for and clearing any clogging along the drain hose.

If you have not done that (and everything else looks fine),  take off the drain hose and blow inside to see if it is blocked. 

You should remove any obstructions in the line (obstructions in the line are a common cause of check valve blockage) and test if it will start draining again.

In addition, you should check if there are any obstructions to both the input and output (of the pump) and clear them too.


5. Try a reset

While it sounds incredible, it is true that sometimes only a reset is needed to make the dishwasher drain correctly again.

Here is how to do this reset:

  • Take off the machine’s front panel (not the whole door).
  • Disconnect the circuit board.
  • Wait a few moments and reconnect the circuit board.
  • Put the panel back on.

Now try to run a cycle and see of the problem has been solved.

Quick Note: Another way of resetting the circuit board is by alternately pressing “high temp scrub” and “heat dry buttons” 5 times in some models.


If your Kitchenaid dishwasher won’t drain properly, there could be several culprits.

Use the above test to confirm if the culprit is indeed, the drain pump- you don’t want to purchase a replacement pump only to find that the issue was due to something else.



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