Remember the ole’ Maytag days? That’s when Mom had her washer for 20+ years without ever having a single service call! During those days, the mantra for appliance manufacturers was to make their appliances last the longest. For the most part, they succeeded. Fast forward a few decades and the trend seems to be appliances simply don’t perform well after six years or so. There is a good reason for this, at least from a manufacturer’s point of view. With profits shrinking and expenses increasing, it doesn’t make fiscal sense to make a reasonably priced product such as an appliance that lasts 20 years. Instead, keeping the price reasonable while at the same time making a decent product is obviously the trend today.
After the typical one year manufacturer’s warranty, you’re left with having to pay out of pocket for all repairs. This is true unless you already have a service protection agreement (a topic for another article) that covers these expenses. Comparing repair costs from only a few short years ago, labor costs and parts prices are increasing year after year with no end in sight. It’s when the cost of the repair approaches or sometimes exceeds the price of a new unit, a decision must be made. When is the right time to replace your appliance?
Think dollars and sense
Of course, it’s always a bad time to replace an appliance. Facing the decision sooner rather than later will save you money. For example, if the cost of one repair exceeds more than 50% of the cost of the original purchase, it might be a signal to go shopping. Of course, if the unit costs $2000 and the repair is $1000, common sense should prevail here because at that price you still couldn’t replace the unit with an identical model, and you will save money by getting the full value of your original purchase. On the other hand, if your new washer cost you $600 and the repair is $300, you probably could replace it with a comparable, newer unit for close to the repair price. Units in this price range are frequently on sale and if you replace the unit, you will receive a full one year warranty.
Consider age before beauty
More often than not, people take care of their appliances. In fact, some of the older appliances still look like new. It’s the age of the appliance that comes into play when making a decision about replacement. Currently, the majority of appliances made today begin to experience downtime earlier due to various repair issues. The frequency of repairs increases as the unit ages, either through use or simple shelf life, or both. When the frequency of repairs starts to increase rapidly, it’s time to consider a new unit. It’s always better to shop early, before a major breakdown leaves you without your appliance working.