If your washing machine has quit doing its job, you’ve got two options: call for a repair or invest in a new machine. Bob Vandeveer of Good Shepherd Appliance Repair in Minneapolis, Minnesota coaches us on when to call in a repair pro, when to DIY and when to buy a new machine.
When to Fix: Small Parts
Deciding whether to repair your machine depends on the brand, the work, and the type of machine you have, according to Bob. Some of his most common calls for repair are for motor couplers, drain pumps and agitator cogs (cogs that work with the motor to create the machine’s stop/start motion).
“Motor couplers are around $125 for parts and labor,” says Bob. “Installing new agitator cogs is also around $125 for parts and labor. Repairing the drain pump (if I also change the motor) is around $150 – $160.”
When hiring a washing machine repair pro, read reviews carefully and look for someone who has experience with your brand.
When to Replace: Worn Out Bearings and Electronics
Replacing tub bearings on front loaders or top loader machines is expensive. “Bearings on front loaders seem to wear out sooner than top loaders because they’re on an angle,” says Bob. “Either way, replacing them takes a lot of labor.”
Worn-out motors and computer boards are other issues that may be better solved with a new machine. “When you consider that a lot of top loaders are only $399 or $499 new, it makes more sense to replace the machine.”
Don’t go over half the original cost of the machine in repairs. If you have a newer machine, it’s worth it to invest in repairs, but not if your machine is 10 years or older.
How to Avoid Issues
Don’t load the washing machine while the water is running, says Bob. “Wet clothes shrink down, so you’ll add more than you would if the clothes were dry, putting too much weight and strain on the machine.”
If you have power and your machine isn’t running, you can try unplugging a front loader for 15 minutes before plugging it back in. The electric board may reset itself for an easy fix. If not, you’ll need to call a pro.
When water leaks from the machine, make sure the water is actually coming from your unit, not the plumbing. If the plumbing is backed up (causing water to flow back out of the pipes and onto the floor), you’ll need to call a plumber, not an appliance repair pro.
Read more posts from our “Repair or Replace?” series here.