To Repair or not to Repair …. That is the question!

microwave ovenHow can you truly save money on appliance repairs? Work out if it is worth doing in the first place

Answer the following questions before you even call the service agent

  1. How old is your appliance?
  2. How often has it been used?
  3. Is it a well known brand?
  4. Did you buy the top of the range or the bottom?

Golden Rule: any appliance that is over 10 years old is very difficult to justify and here’s why:

Washing machines / dryers / fridges / dishwashers / / air conditioners / microwaves are all designed to last about 7-10 years. If you have a family and use them heavily (4 or more times a week) then 5-7 years is the norm.

Now I know people will be jumping up and down saying that they bought the most expensive so-and-so brand in the world and they are supposed to last 20 years. Well they might be right. I own a dryer that is now over 25 years old but that does not mean it is worth fixing when it does eventually break for three very good reasons:

  1. Very expensive brands usually have very expensive parts, fewer appliance repair agents who can fix them and as such are very, very expensive to repair.
  2. Replacing a part in a 10 year old machine may well be the start of a very long and painfully expensive journey. Let’s say your washing machine repair calls for a new motor. Once installed, the brand new motor is surrounded by parts that are all 10 years old. So whilst the new motor runs fine the old pump and gear box may not be so good.
  3. If one of the parts has broken after 10 years there is a reasonable expectation that other parts will be worn to the same extent. Logic says that most of the parts in any machine will be designed to last for a similar amount of time. Let’s face it there is not much point in building a motor to last 10 years and a pump that lasts 20!

Repair Rules

statue confusedThe basic ‘rules of thumb’ so you don’t waste money:

  1. Before you ring the appliance repair agent jump on the Internet and find out what a new appliance will cost you. You may be surprised! Manufacturers can and do ‘quit’ stock when new appliances are coming in. If you know where to look you can really get a bargain. For $20 we will find you a bargain. Even if you decide to not to buy from our suggested supplier you can use the price we give to you to negotiate with you preferred retailer.
  2. If the machine is over 10 years old don’t bother unless it was a very expensive appliance. Even then when you do get a quote, ask for a worst case scenario regarding what other parts could go and what they would cost to replace? Once you have spent a few hundred dollars it is not easy to say no to spending a few hundred more if the appliance breaks a second time. Pretty soon you are like a ‘dog chasing a very expensive tail’.
  3. 7-10 years old have it looked at if it is a good brand and a higher end model at the time when it was bought. Even good companies sometimes produce ‘cheapies’ now and again.
  4. If it has been used more by a family then a life span of 5-7 years is more often than not likely. Again have it looked at but get an opinion on possible problems down the track.
  5. Under 5 years it is usually worth repairing these appliances. That said be very careful of the cheap brands ‘no name brands’. Many are not worth repairing because the price of their parts is so expensive. You can literally by a new one for less so if you bought a cheap appliance then ask for an estimate on some common parts before you even book a service call.
  6. If the cost of the appliance repairs is more than half the price of a new machine just remember a new machine comes with a 12 month warranty. When it comes to a repair only the parts replaced come with any warranty. If a secondary problem arises and a new part is required you will have to pay for at least the labor and parts required to fit the new parts.
  7. With high end quality brands or relatively new machines (i.e. < 5years old) it is always worth getting an expert opinion. You may be the 1 in 10 who simply has a broken switvch whcih only costs $15 to replace.

Warranties: READ THE FINE PRINT! This catches so many people out because they think they are covered. Manufactures commonly offer ‘parts only’ warranties. More times than not things like gearboxes in washing machines are covered but motors and seals are not. Labour is also not covered.

The problem is that whilst you can just replace the gearbox when the machine starts leaking because those 5 year old seals were not replaced there is another couple of hundred dollars in labour to strip the machine down again to get at the seals. So even though the manufacturer gives you the gear box the additional parts and labour can be in excess of $700 on a big washing machine.

Again grill the technician after they have had a good look at the machine.

DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THIS THINKING YOUR WARRANTY WILL COVER YOU!