Repair An Appliance vs Buy New: 3 Steps To Help You Decide
I heard the noise at the exact time I saw the look on my wife’s face. I was exiting the laundry room and we both heard the squeak coming from the dryer I had just started. I dropped my head in disappointment, but I certainly wasn’t surprised. We built our home twelve years ago, and our dryer has operated the entire time without needing a single repair. Given the age of all of our appliances, we assume that repairs or replacements are in our future.
My wife instantly searched the internet to get an idea of how much the worst case scenario would cost. A new dryer can run between $400 and $1500. To buy a similar dryer of the same brand name as we have now, we’re looking at around $800.
My first instinct is to call an appliance repair person. While I want to get a working dryer for the least amount of money, I don’t want to get caught up in an endless cycle of repairs either. So how does a person know whether it’s economic to fix an appliance, or whether it’s time to get a new one?
Here are three steps that will help you make that decision:
Search The Internet
A quick online search revealed the most common cause of a squeaky dryer is a worn out drive belt or bearing. Both are very common repairs, neither signalling the end of the dryer’s life. There are even articles and YouTube videos to help the more adventurous perform these common repairs.
Call For a Rough Estimate
Call a repair person, describe the symptoms, and ask if they have a thought as to what it might be. You can then ask for a ballpark estimate as to what the cost would be to fix it. If their diagnosis differs from the internet, ask about that as well. While a repair person can’t tell for sure what is wrong with your appliance until they physically inspect it, this could give you a rough cost estimate to compare with the price of a new appliance.
Make The Decision
Consumer Reports suggests that one shouldn’t pay more than 50% of the cost of a new item on a repair. Weighing in on this decision should also be how much has been spent on previous repairs. Since this is our dryer’s first repair, I might be more likely to spend more than 50% on a common repair to extend it’s life and delay a major purchase. But if the repair person already knows where I live from previous service calls, it may be time to buy new.
I got a ballpark repair estimate of $250 to get the squeak out of my dryer. Funny thing happened, though. The next day I threw a load in the dryer, and it just quietly hummed along.
I’m sure the squeak will be back. But when it returns, I’ll call a repair person saving the purchase of a new dryer for another day.
How do you determine if you should have an item repaired vs buying new?
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.