• Jim

Should you replace or repair your broken appliances?

Updated: May 20, 2021

Your washing machine is broken again for what feels like the hundredth time. Should you have it repaired once again or accept defeat and replace it with a new one? If you’re going back and forth over what you should do, this could feel more like an expensive guess than an informed decision. We’ve compiled a list of considerations to help you make the best choice for your home. Find out what you should do with your broken appliances.

"They don't make them like they used to!"

There’s a common misconception around appliances breaking faster these days. Recent consumer reports found that appliances aren’t breaking any sooner than they were 10 years ago. The difference is that when they break, they really break. More than ever before, we rely heavily on our appliances to get us through the day. Just think how annoyed you would be to find your coffee machine broken on a busy Monday morning.

Because we use appliances more and rely on them to perform daily tasks, we’re more upset and inconvenienced when they do break down. This is why we often exclaim, “They don’t make them like they used to!” While this statement is true to an extent, it doesn’t necessarily reflect a change in quality. 50 years ago we didn’t have coffee machines with computers in them, which means that the parts were simpler and easier to make and repair. If you can make peace with this concept then you’re ready to start making some decisions.

Rule of Thumb

You’ve probably heard of the rule of thumb when it comes to appliance repair. Experts say that you shouldn’t spend more than 50% of the cost of a new product repairing an old one. But how well does this hold up across all appliances and all scenarios? To figure out what you should do with your broken appliance, take the following factors into consideration.

Considerations to Make

Before you can make your final decision, there are many things to consider. Go through this list and think about your current broken appliance. Keep in mind that every appliance and situation will be different, so you may not always come out with the same answer based on these considerations.

Cost Compared to Lifespan

Cost is easily the biggest factor that will sway your decision as to whether you should replace or repair your appliance. Think long term when it comes to this. Consider the costs associated with continually repairing the appliance versus its remaining lifespan.

For example, if you have a 10-year-old dishwasher that breaks down at least twice a year, you’re probably better off replacing it. This is because the average lifespan of a dishwasher is 12 years and you’ll actually save more money in the long run when you compare the cost of 4 repairs to the cost of a new dishwasher. If your brand new fridge has an issue, you’re better off repairing it now to increase its overall lifespan.

Cost of Repairs

If you’re considering repairing your appliance, you need to factor in the costs associated with the repair. Should the cost of repairing your appliance be very low, then you should consider repairing it. While this seems simple enough, you will also have to factor in how often you will have to pay for repairs. The problem with constantly repairing an item is that the costs start to add up. If you’re paying $50 every time your microwave breaks, after 4 repairs you could have purchased a new one for that price. While a repair may be small and inexpensive, think about how often you will have to keep getting it repaired and what those costs will be.

Cost of Downtime

While your appliance is broken you will not be able to use it. You need to consider the impact this is going to have on your everyday life. If your washing machine is broken, you’ll have to factor in the time and money spent taking your clothes to a laundromat. A simple repair will take at least a day and more complicated repairs could see your appliance out of commission for a week or more. Is it more cost effective for you to buy a new appliance knowing your life will be back to normal sooner? Or should you hold out for your original appliance to be fixed? Factor in the costs and inconveniences while making your decision.

Age and Efficiency

Unlike a fine wine, our appliances only get worse with age. Often the older the appliance is, the more extensive the repairs will be. Frequent and extensive repairs mean a bigger cost to you. Keep in mind that over time, each repair will return less and less on your investment. If you have an older appliance, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer model because of the advancements made in its technology. Not only will the newer model be less likely to break down, but it will also come with all the new bells and whistles your 15-year-old model doesn’t have.


You should never overlook the safety of your appliance when considering whether to replace or repair it. You can maintain your appliances as much as possible, but they will still wear down as they age. Be sure to thoroughly inspect your appliance for any safety issues as you make your final decision. You do not want to put yourself or your household at risk in an attempt to save some money. If your appliance still meets safety standards and the cost of repairing is lower than replacing, repair it.

The decision whether to replace or repair an appliance comes down to what is more cost effective and convenient for your life. Remember to compare the cost of constant repairs against the cost of buying new, and factor in the age of your appliance. Once you have an idea of the costs involved and the impact your choice will have on your daily life, you can go ahead and make your final decision.

Jessica Greaves| 28 September 2018

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