Should you Repair or Replace your Broken Appliances?

You’re worried the washing machine may be on its last spin cycle. It makes a horrible screeching sound and needs a lot of coaxing to make it all the way through a full cycle. Should you spend $319 to fix this inefficient appliance or replace it with a $999 new model that will use less electricity and water?

Deciding whether to repair or replace your broken appliance—especially when trying to discover which option will save money in the long run—can be challenging.

A microwave oven sitting on top of a wooden table

Consider these basic guidelines and suggestions to help you decide, based on costs for replacement and repairs and the advantages of new models.

If you cannot pay cash for the new replacement

You should get it repaired to buy yourself time to save up for the replacement. Even if the repairs will only keep this appliance going for a year or two, you’re far better off repairing and then saving for a new machine than to charge it and pay double-digit interest for the next three to five years.

MORE: An Awesome Way to Build a Cash Stash

If you have some cash but not enough

Consider replacing your clunker with a late-model, lightly used quality machine. Check sites like for late-model, well-cared-for used appliances. Spread the word to friends and neighbors. People are constantly relocating— creating situations where they need to sell perfectly lovely, near-new appliances.

If the appliance is eight years or older

Once an appliance becomes elderly, usually it makes sense to buy a new one. However, if you have a high-end, older appliance you may want to repair it provided it is not repair-prone.

If repairs are really expensive

If the repair bill is more than half the price of a new product, you should consider buying new rather than repairing it. But, here again, the deciding factor will be whether or not you will have to go into debt to buy new.

If the appliance is under warranty

Even if repairs will be only partially covered by a warranty or service contract, repairing is the way you should go. If it’s under warranty, call a factory-authorized repair shop. If not, an independent contractor is likely to offer better service at a lower cost.

The costs for diagnosing problems and making repairs on home appliances have gone up considerably in the last few years. This has made replacements with new models more common.

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A word to the wise

Home appliances have built-in obsolescence. By design, life expectancy has gone down slowly over the years. Take refrigerators for example. They used to last for 30 years or longer. They were specifically designed to do that! These days you’ll be lucky to get 10 years. And, that’s with excellent maintenance and timely repairs.

Anticipate so you are not caught off guard

Anticipate costs to repair and eventually replace major home appliances. Create a special account designated just for future appliance replacement. Setting aside a small amount of money every month will give you cash options to make wise decisions when the time comes.


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  1. Sandra Wilkins says:

    First, I’ve been following you since you first started, thank you for all the good tips and advice.
    Appliances, I had a roper (wanted the smallest I could find) washer and dryer, bought them when my grandson was born so they were 23 years old. The washer had been repaired once ($89) and when it needed repair again I decided that since it was so old I should get a new one – – biggest mistake I ever made. This machine is junk compared to the older one, I am so sorry. I still have the dryer but I am so sorry I did not repair the washer. What they make now is total junk compared to what I had. Doing laundry now is very frustrating. I’d buy my old one back if I could.

    • Patricia Goff says:

      I agree. The older ones are quality made. I will continue to repair them until they can not be repaired. My brother googles the repair or goes to a guy down the road that repairs washers and dryers and asks for his input. He shares his knowledge for free. My brother gets the parts from an appliance store and they share their 2 cents too so he usually gets it fixed pretty quickly. They also tell him if it isn’t worth fixing. I then buy a used appliance and we keep it running until it isn’t worth fixing. LOL These new ones are not quality made and they company told me the first and only time I bought a new one that they weren’t meant to last forever when I called them about it breaking down. It seems that 4 years is forever now.

  2. Robyn says:

    If you find a reliable repairman, they are worth knowing. Unfortunately, mine retired, and I have not found one as good. Jim made house calls for $25, and would tell me if an appliance was worth fixing. The bill usually came in under $200. Another problem is parts. My sister’s downstairs high end refrigerator/freezer was only 4 years old and the compressor went. But the parts come from China, and she was told they won’t come in any time soon (July at the earlies). Also, good luck finding a new freezer now.

  3. Gina Stevens says:

    When I sold my house, I left all my new appliances. I hated all of them. I did research before I bought them and none had the ease of use as my old ones and none worked as well.

  4. Jan Schal says:

    My husband has saved us hundreds of dollars by using YouTube videos to make repairs to our lawn mower, snow blower, and dryer. If you are at all handy, it pays to see if you can DIY before paying for repairs or a new item/appliance.

    • Patricia Goff says:

      He is a smart man. I was raised with the front loaders and I will never ever own one. I hated them growing up in the 70s and still hate them now.

  5. PatriotPeg says:

    i have a GE fridge , which is still working well, however the gasket is wearing away and torn. replacement gasket, less than $100. watch ya think?

  6. crabbyoldlady says:

    Remember the lonely Maytag repairman? It’s true! When I bought my house, the washer was an older one, but they said it worked perfectly. 20 years later, it still does. I would love a new washer with fancy cycles and no agitator, but why bother when I have a Maytag?

      • Ol ' Lonely's Daughter says:

        Lida, I see you’ve had problems with your newer “Maytags”. Actually, they are not really Maytags at all, they are Whirlpool (bought out several years ago). Sadly, the old dependable care Maytags of “Old Lonely’s” time are a thing of the past. For anyone who has an “oldie” like crabbyoldlady’s, my advice is hang onto them and keep them going as long as you possibly can.

  7. Terri L Dates says:

    A long time ago I was told to buy the cheapest washer & dryer that Sears sells. They’ve never needed repair, and they are still working in the old house when I move into a new one after 10 years or so. It’s been 9 years since I bought the last set, so I am not sure if Sears quality is the same.

  8. Carol Rowe says:

    I used to have a washing machine that had a wonderful spindle and finished a load of clothes in 30 minutes and they were clean . Now I have an energy efficient washer that takes up to an hour and a half and sometimes I have to run it twice just to get my clothes clean. The only reason I switched to the new one was that my husband built me a new home and we left all the old appliances in the old house , the worst decision I ever made.

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