Laundry Equipment: Fix or Replace a Broken Product?

According to the customer watchdog group Consumer Reports, deciding whether to fix or replace a broken appliance can be a difficult process. This is because either one may be the best decision, but this depends on the specific situation. Therefore, Consumer Reports performed a massive survey of almost 30,000 consumers in order to help consumers decide between fixing and repairing their appliance.

Fix vs. Replace
First, research shows that products are actually breaking less because they are more durable. However, most laundry equipment products come with standard warranties that range from five to 10 years. If the laundry equipment breaks, a warranty-authorized repair may be necessary. The technician will probably come out to the home, but their recommended repairs will most likely be very expensive. Experts say that consumers should not spend over 50 of the original cost of the equipment on repairs. Additionally, if the washer or dryer have already been repaired, a replacement will make more sense. Keep in mind that warranties generally don’t improve the level of consumer satisfaction. This is because most products break after the covered warranty period.

Research by Consumer Products shows that only 15 percent of surveyed consumers had products repaired while under warranty. Conversely, approximately 10 percent of surveyed consumers were under an extended warranty or service contract. These consumers are actually more likely to have experienced incorrect repairs the first time. Be advised that research clearly shows that extended warranties primarily benefit the company, not the consumer. This is because modern equipment is designed to efficiently run until the warranty ends. For example, the repair rate for washers is only 22 percent, while the repair rate for dryers is 13 percent.

To Repair or Not to Repair
Repairing a washing machine makes sense, but only if it is inexpensive and still in warranty. If the same problem keeps occurring, purchasing a new model makes sense. Bear in mind that every new equipment model will mean better engineering, efficiency and long-run cost savings. Nevertheless, consumers who use independent repair shops are typically more satisfied with the level of service and quality compared with those who use the manufacturer’s service. The repairs will also generally cost less at a local repair shop, especially for large appliances. Finally, some consumers even try to do the repairs themselves. Anyone with basic mechanical and analytical skills will most likely be able to successfully complete minor repairs. This is partially because the Internet and YouTube are full of helpful DIY videos that provide individuals step-by-step instructions.

Looking back, it clearly makes sense to repair laundry equipment, but only if the repairs are minor. Anything that will cost over half of the original price of the equipment should necessitate the consumer to buy a new replacement model.