Whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump test (step by step)

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If your whirlpool dishwasher won’t clean dishes properly anymore, a common culprit is the circulation pump. 

But it can also be due to anything else (think using too much detergent, water pressure problems, low water temperature, a defective inlet valve, etc.).

The thing is, you don’t want to make the mistake of replacing the circulation pump when the fault is elsewhere.

So, how can you tell if your whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump is bad?

The answer is there is a sure way: Performing a whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump test.

If you have not done this in the past, below is how to perform a whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump test:


Whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump test (step by step)

Tools you need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Pair of pliers
  • Multimeter


  1. Unplug the dishwasher.
  2. Pull it out.
  3. Lay it on its side.
  4. Remove the dishwasher’s base plate (use your screwdriver to remove its holding screws first).
  5. Disconnect anti-flood switch connectors (and any other connector that will be on your way to the circulation pump) and set them aside.
  6. Locate the motor.
  7. You can now see the clamps (on the hoses hooking to the circulation pump)- remove them with the help of your pliers.
  8. Next, un-couple the ground wire (to the pump) and disconnect the necessary connectors.
  9. Finally, remove the screw retaining the circulation pump- it is on the outer side of the pump.
  10. Take the motor out.
  11. Next, remove the hoses (again with your pliers) connecting to the circulation pump.
  12. Now take the pump out.

Running the test – steps

  1. Select your multimeter to the ohms setting.
  2. Now measure the resistance on the part’s terminals – simply touch the probes on the terminals and check the reading.

If the pump is fine, you generally want a reading of more than 100 OHMS (otherwise it needs to be replaced).

We have added a link YouTube Video demonstrating the above steps at the end of the article so watch it once you finish reading.

Quick Note: Also be sure to check if the motor is seized- simply insert the screwdriver into the motor’s spindle slot and trying to rotate it (it should spin freely otherwise you need to replace it as well).


What are the symptoms that a whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump is dead?

There are some telltale symptoms for a bad dishwasher circulation pump that you may look out for even as you consider doing a whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump test.

Here are a few signs:

  1. Your Whirlpool dishwasher stops the “washing” cycle and on checking, you notice no water is getting “pumped” during the cycle.
  2. The wash arm(s) are not spinning – if the dishwasher circulation pump is clogged, it won’t put out sufficient pressure to rotate the arms.
  3. If the wash motor is good (you can run the diagnostics feature to check if the wash motor is working) and the drain pump works but no water sprays in your dishwasher after filling up, then probably you are looking at a troubled circulation pump.

What if the wash motor is not working (you can know this from the diagnostics or if you do not notice it spinning but the appliance is filling with water)

Here the fix may be as easy as cleaning the motor propeller.

It could be clogged and it typically works perfectly once unclogged (this normally needs you to take the motor apart and clean everything out).


Whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump troubleshooting- What else can you try?

Before you think of buying a new wash pump, there could be easier ways to repair your old one.

Below are other whirlpool circulation pump repair tips:

Is the pump motor making a humming sound (and won’t work)?

If yes, perhaps the impeller is again stuck on something.


Remove the sprayer (in the bottom) then simply connect a hose to your kitchen faucet.

You want to push water down the hole where the sprayer was attached.

Once you do that, you may notice some debris get rinsed out of the pump – and this could have been the issue.

Once it is unstuck, it should work properly again.

The good news about these pumps is that the motor they use is not easily damaged when it gets stuck.


How can I avoid this problem in the future?

Try to keep the screens and filters squeaky clean to prevent this problem from occurring again in the future.

Still on whirlpool circulation pump repair, keep the following in mind:

The pump impeller can be stuck for a different reason- the buildup of mineral deposits especially if you live in an area with very hard water.

In this case, the remedy is usually to remove the pump and soak the inlet in vinegar for a few hours.

Just note that if the pump is very stiff, you can use a flat head screwdriver to try and spin it (it should come off).

Once you soak the inlet to your pump in vinegar (CLR can be a better alternative, if available) for like two hours, try to see if the impeller will start to turn much more easily (the resistance should be noticeably less).

You then reinstall it – and please note you may need new 1-1/2 inch hose clamps here- and check if it will start working as new again.


Whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump replacement – what is the recommended replacement part?

First, it must be said that while it is possible to replace the pump and not replace the motor, it is super easy to change out the combined whirlpool dishwasher pump and motor assembly (also, the motor sometimes burns out).

If this is what you wish to do, you can check if this will work for your unit (there is a list on Amazon indicating the model that it fits so check first).

Now, on the installation, 95% of the job will involve removing the floor cover plates, disconnecting the water supply, disconnecting the drain hose, disconnecting the power, adjusting the legs up, unscrewing the attachment screws, pulling the dishwasher out, and then doing the reverse.

In other words, changing the pump assembly takes a few minutes.

Quick Note: Search for a good how-to video (there are tons of them) on YouTube and watch it before proceeding with the whirlpool dishwasher circulation pump replacement. It will make life much easier for you.



Remember the circulation pump simply sucks up water that comes into the tub so as to send it to spray arms to clean your dishes.

The water will obviously go through several filters and return to the pump (for a fresh cycle).

That is why the washer will not clean dishes properly if it is faulty.

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