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Dilemma: Do I fix or replace my broken appliance?

The question above is probably the single most important question we hear from our customers and friends. The answer to the question is needed quickly before the entire household falls into chaos, especially when a washer or refrigerator is involved.

Getting a service company out to evaluate the issue is of utmost importance, and time is of the essence. This is when you need a trusted and competent service provider. Abbott Appliance Service would like to offer our services to you. Obviously, as an appliance repair service we would like to just say “Oh go ahead and fix it, it’s a good machine, it will last another 10-15 years I’m sure”. Sorry, at Abbott Appliance Service you will never hear that statement from our technicians. That answer is self-serving, and not always in the best interest of our customers.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that go into evaluating a major appliance and maybe this will help you (the customer) decide whether or not it should be repaired or replaced.

  • Overall Condition; if the condition of the appliance aside from the repair issue is good to excellent according to the customer, and after the techs evaluation, only then will the appliance is a candidate for repair. The repair price must be reasonable and the customer must wish not to part with their “old reliable machine”. If the condition is fair to poor then it becomes a question of necessity. The customer may say “I just need it to get me through a period of time” which is also understandable. The customer must also understand it is impossible to determine when the next issue or problem may happen. So, there is a risk involved in all repairs, expensive and inexpensive.
  • Age of equipment; when repairing appliances that may be “a little long in the tooth” perhaps over ten (10-15) years old the question of parts availability arises. Many of the common type problems that we see day in and day out we have little issues getting parts. Some parts are still available for appliances 20-30 years old. However, some of the models from different years do not contain universal parts and some of these older parts the manufacturer has ceased making, and they become NLA (no longer available). These parts can be operational parts or cosmetic parts, and repairing the appliance may then become next to impossible. There are some services that rebuild some older parts but not every part is available.
  • Price of repair; of course the price of any repair is a major factor, but don’t let it be the trump card. Here is the reason: you may say “I’m only going to spend “x” dollars to fix this appliance. The repair cost is higher than you wanted to pay. Now you have to examine the replacement cost of the appliance and that could be substantial. The repair, albeit expensive, may give your appliance a few more good years of service at a fraction of the cost of new equipment.
  • Ease of replacement; many appliances have unique footprints, meaning there dimension’s HxDxW are not universal. Some appliances are built-in and custom fit. Many new appliances will not fit where the old appliance lived. These issues can cause major problems. A counter may need to be cut, or a cabinet moved, or the doors won’t close the old washer or dryer out of site. These issues will require at the very least, a very handy or skilled craftsmen to make the new appliance fit in the old appliances space. A skilled craftsmen, plumber, or electrician can cost much more than perhaps an expensive but common repair, something to think about.
  • Ease of repair; many common repairs can be made on the day of your service call. There are times though that parts need to be ordered. Some of these parts are not always stocked at local warehouses (a day or two away). Some may take 3-5 days shipping or even longer if the manufacturer is temporarily out of stock or (no ETA available).
  • Customer machine loyalty; this is the wild card. Many customers do not wish to change their appliance no matter what. They “love” their machines; some have even given them names. It takes some convincing that a 25 year old Maytag washer may not be able to be fixed. They are aware that the new machines are not as good and will not last as long. Eventually they come to the conclusion that it might be time to replace the appliance. But, it is not uncommon to make routine repairs even on really old machines.
    So, it’s not an easy decision to simply repair or just replace the appliance. We try to give the customer a very honest and complete evaluation of the appliance before making their decision. Appliances today are different from the appliances of the past. Many mechanical switches have been replaced with electronic devices and “mother boards” and many other new designs. Some of these innovations have made it easier for us to diagnose and repair the units but usually at a premium cost.

The best thing we do for the customer is to allow them to make an educated decision on repair vs replace. Once the decision is made, do not look back, to do so would be a waste of time and energy not to mention money.

The best thing you can do is just be prepared to make the decision to repair or replace and always at the very least: find out of your appliance is fixable and at what cost. “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please” – Mark Twain