How To Repair Kitchenaid Dishwasher

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A dishwasher is a fantastic appliance when working properly. It helps save you the time and energy of washing your dishes without cluttering up the kitchen sink and is a practical addition to any modern kitchen. However, it needs to work correctly to ensure you save time and energy.

There is a number of moving parts within all of these appliances including KitchenAid dishwasher models. When you combine water and electricity, it could be a recipe for disaster. Due to this, there is always the possibility of your KitchenAid dishwasher failing on you. If you discover the top rack on the dishwasher fails on you it is important to know how to correct it. 

Knowing how the appliance works and how to correct it allows you to save money over paying to have a plumber come in, and it saves you time as you can do it yourself without scheduling any kind of external service. As problems with the top rack are well documented, fixing the KitchenAid dishwasher isn't all that difficult.

What Is A KitchenAid Dishwasher Top Rack?

dishes and utensils in the  kitchenaid dishwasher

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KitchenAid is one of the top manufacturers of kitchen appliances for the home. If you have a KitchenAid dishwasher, it is usually made up of two different compartments.

There is the bottom rack, which sits on the base of the appliance and rolls out onto the lid when you open it up. The second is the top rack. This is held by metal arms that pull out as you pull the rack out. As you place dishes onto the top rack, it weighs down on these arms.

While designed to hold up weight, over time the arms may start to buckle. If you leave dishes, especially larger dishes (such as heavy pans and crock pots) in the top rack it will increase the possibility of it breaking.

If you do experience a problem with the KitchenAid dishwasher top rack, it likely is from a weight problem. There are clips within the dishwasher that are made from plastic. These may snap and break off due to the weight of the dishes. Should the clip snap or break, it will cause the entire rack to fall.

What Can Go Wrong With The KitchenAid Top Rack?

The biggest problem with the KitchenAid dishwasher top rack is it is made out of plastic (at least the connecting parts are made from plastic). While this prevents the development of rust, it is relatively lightweight and thin plastic. This means you are more susceptible to the plastic pulling apart.

If the top rack was also made completely out of plastic, this might not be an issue. However, it isn't, and it is a major culprit to what causes the top rack to sway and buckle off its hinges. Sadly, it is cheaply made, and that is what causes the problems.

If you are looking at buying a new dishwasher, it is important to look at the connecting material on the appliance. Look to see if it is made out of plastic or if it is made of metal. If it is plastic, you should avoid it and look for metal connectors. The top rack rolls out and has to hold up a lot of weight.

Therefore, it should be made of a material that will hold up against this weight. Light plastic is not a desirable material in this case as the KitchenAid dishwasher top rack indicates. Should you experience this kind of issue though you will need to replace it on your current model.

Fortunately, it is easy enough to replace (even though it is frustrating that you likely will need to replace this after owning it for just a short time).

Dealing With KitchenAid Dishwasher Top Rack Issues

man pulling dishwasher

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If the rollers on the KitchenAid dishwasher have broken, or if the top rack isn't opening all the way because the weight of the rack has caused the connectors to break, you are able to perform the repair on your own. To start, you'll need to order the replacement parts for your KitchenAid dishwasher top rack.

Take note of the exact model of dishwasher you currently use. Once you have the model look up the model's "rack adjuster assembly." You'll be able to find parts listed on Amazon. You can also perform a Google Shopping search for the parts to see if you can find a better price. It will only cost you a few dollars so it's not expensive to buy one.

When you buy the rack adjuster assembly, you may be left with some spare replacement parts, but that's not a bad thing. Because the parts are made so cheaply having a few extras sitting around can be very useful. This way you'll have everything you need in case you need to make future repairs.

Begin The Correction

Once you have the parts, you need to pull the rack out. On the arm rails that pull out the sides of the dishwasher, you'll find plastic keeping clips. Flip these clips open and you'll be able to pull the entire rack off. Look at the lower portion of the roller assembly.

You'll find three clips on the lower portion of the assembly. It is a plastic clip that has the middle portion cut out and a plastic grove pushed into it from the rack itself. You can push this grove down and then pull at the plastic clip. This disconnects the clip from the rack and allows the assembly to snap off.

You'll need to do this for the three lower clips that hold the roller assembly together. In some cases, the plastic assembly might be too tight for you to squeeze the clip off. The middle clip is often especially difficult due to the angle and the other plastic around it.

Should you find your fingers are not able to fit around the plastic clip you can pull out a flathead screwdriver and push down on the clip in order to force it to release (don't push too hard otherwise you'll snap the plastic and you'll need to replace this part as well from the assembly pack you receive in the mail).

Now you have completely released the housing, look at the tabs at the top of the compartment door. You'll see several pins located at the bottom of this. Here, you'll most likely need to use a screwdriver because your fingers will not be able to fit. Pry the pins out of the clear portion of the body using the flathead screwdriver. Once out, you can then pull the door off.

Remove Damaged Parts

Now, remove the damaged parts you'll find. It might be the clips or it might be some of the pins. It varies which is why it is good that you purchased the entire assembly kit. Take the gray plastic compartment that fits along the rear of the dishwasher rack and insert the blue clamp.

This needs to fit tightly as the blue clamp has a spring and it needs to correctly fit into the roller assembly. If it's just sitting on the top of the assembly, it will not remain closed and you'll have the same problem again. Once the blue spring is back in place, you now need to place everything back together. This is straightforward and you need to follow the reverse order.


Close the dark gray assembly and insert the pins back into place to lock the door down. Now, place the clips back along the side of the dark gray assembly to secure it into position. You can now slide the rack back onto the roller bars.

When you have it back on the roller bars clamp down and close the blue clips on the edges of the roller parts. This will secure everything back into position and you'll be able to use the appliance again.

Avoid Future Damage

One of the best ways to avoid future problems with the top rack of your KitchenAid dishwasher is to avoid placing heavy items on the top of the rack. Place the heavier pots on the bottom rack and only use the top for lighter cups and plastic material.

This way, you'll reduce the amount of weight that is on the rack and cut down the chance of the rack failing on you again. You need to try to empty the dishwasher as quickly as possible to reduce the strain placed on the cheaper plastic parts of the top rack.


plates and utensils

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If your dishwasher fails on you, it turns into a waste of space. That's exactly why you need to do everything in your power to maintain it. When you combine electricity with water, there is always the possibility of something bad happening. This includes issues with the top rack. Should this happen, it is critical for you to know how to fix the KitchenAid dishwasher top rack problem.

By taking advantage of these suggestions and instructions on how to repair the appliance, you'll avoid costly repairs performed by professionals by performing the repair on your own. It also saves you the stress of having to wait around for a professional to come out to fix the appliance.