Everyday Cheapskate: 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.
Here are some 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 charging the cost of a new one and paying double-digit interest for the next three to five years.
IF YOU HAVE SOME CASH BUT NOT ENOUGH
Consider replacing your clunker with a quality late-model, lightly used machine. Check sites like Craigslist.org 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 8 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 prone to repairs.
IF REPAIRS ARE REALLY EXPENSIVE
If the repair bill is more than half the price of a new product, you should consider buying a new one rather than repairing. But, again, the deciding factor will be whether or not you will have to go into debt to buy new.