Repairing your washing machine is a bargain

Perhaps you’ve experienced this.  You’re going about a typical day at home.  You’re catching up on some homework (or housework), playing with the kids, or spending time with your roommates or significant other.

Then, you hear this banging in the next room that is enough to wake the dead.  Your clothes washer is in rebellion, it’s mad as all get-out, and it’s not going to take it anymore.  So you give it some attention:  You push on it a bunch of different ways during the spin cycle to try to calm it down.  But over time, this gets harder to do, and you’re getting a sinking feeling that it could fail any day now.

It would just have been a matter of time

Our clothes washer — which we got used from a guy whose wife wanted an upgrade — had been getting noisier and noisier on the spin cycle for a couple of months.  Fortunately, my wife is a very handy person, and her father, from whom she received much of her handiness, was available to help.  (If it were me, I would have gotten in quickly over my head.)

I’ll point out here, though:  Taking apart a working appliance does involve the risk that it won’t work again.  The washer was still functional at this point.  It still worked.  We just got a feeling that it wouldn’t work for much longer.  Nonetheless, taking something apart that’s working turns it into a bunch of pieces that no longer function the way they did.  There’s always a chance that taking the thing apart will damage something beyond repair.

There are good reasons for fixing rather than buying new

The (relatively small) risk of being without a working washing machine was worth it for us.  Among them:

  • We bought the machine used in the first place.  We bought the set for $400 a few years ago.  We would have been hard-pressed today to find any washing machine for that little, and ours was name-brand.  Basically, we still had a lot of “wiggle room” in repair allowance before it started to get silly to repair it.
  • For major appliances, older usually means better.  Federal mandates take their toll on performance.  It’s a bit like taking a Ford Mustang and making it run with one spark plug.  Or putting a brick under the accelerator pedal so that you can only push it down a quarter inch.  They’re forced to be so energy-efficient that they don’t work.  Older models had fewer restrictions, so they tended to work better.
  • Free online tutorials have gotten really good.  The Internet has everything.  My wife and father-in-law found YouTube videos from RepairClinic and ApplianceAssistant that had great tear-down and build-up videos for our model of washing machine.  They even had warnings throughout when the parts were heavy!  After watching parts of these videos, even I felt like I might have had a sporting chance getting the thing apart and back together.

The final bonus to all of this was that the cause of the rattling we were seeing was easily, and inexpensively, fixed.  The mounting frame for the leveling legs had gotten bent, and this was almost torquing one of the legs off.  The replacements were $6.  SCORE!

Have you battled your appliances and won?  Share your victories in the comments!


John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize the good deals in life.

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