Repair It or Replace It: Appliances -- Savings Experiment

Repair It or Replace It: Appliances
Repair It or Replace It: Appliances

When a major appliance breaks down, we're all faced with the same dilemma: Do you pay to have it repaired, or do you just buy a new one and replace it? Here are a few guidelines to help you make the right choice for your budget.

To start, always check the manufacturer's warranty before you do anything. This may seem obvious, but it's commonly overlooked. Read through the terms and conditions of your warranty in the owner's manual. If you don't have one, you can usually find the document online by searching under the make and model of your product. Most appliances should be covered between one and two years, but some of the more critical parts can sometimes be covered much longer, so it's definitely worth a look.

The next thing to do is make a call to the manufacturer's service department. Sometimes, the technician can help you troubleshoot the problem for free over the phone. If an in-home service call is needed, always remember to focus on how much the total appliance repair is going to cost you, not the service call price.

Some companies try to entice you with a low service call rate, only to overcharge when it comes to repair costs. Whenever possible, try to go with a business that will waive the service call cost if you choose to have them repair your item.

Still unsure of whether you should repair or replace? One last thing to consider is The 50 Percent Rule. If the cost of your repairs are going to be over 50 percent of the cost of buying a new product, don't do the repairs, especially if your item is more than 50 percent through its lifespan.

Dishwashers, microwaves, washers and air conditioners should last you about 9-10 years. Gas and electric ranges, refrigerators and dryers can last up to 13-15 years. So, if your appliance is already past the halfway point, replacing it might be the best way to save.

A broken appliance can be frustrating, but it doesn't always have to cost you an arm and a leg. Follow these guidelines to keep your household running without short-circuiting your budget!