When it Comes to Appliances, Better to Fix or Replace?

While the cost of repairs go up, the costs for new appliances, in many cases, is dropping

By Kim Vatis
|  Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010  |  Updated 6:45 PM CDT
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While the cost of repairs go up, the costs for new appliances, in many cases, is dropping.

While the cost of repairs go up, the costs for new appliances, in many cases, is dropping.

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While the cost of repairs go up, the costs for new appliances, in many cases, is dropping.  But how do you know when the price is right for repairs or replacements?

"You don’t know if you put $200 in your refrigerator that’s broken [if] you're going to have to actually replace it two years later," says asks Tamara Seiter, a mother of five in a 35-year-old home.

But most experts agree -- whether they fix appliance or sell them -- if the repair will costs half the price of a new one or more, just get a replacement.  For example, if it's $300 to fix a dishwasher, compared to $500 for a new one, get the new one.

"If it’s beat up, if its old, if it’s fallen apart or rusted out, don’t even waste your time," said Charlie Preiss from Box Appliance.

But do note the delivery, installation and disposal fees that go along with a replacement of an older model.  

Clothes dryers are often worth fixing, same with minor stove repairs, but when it comes to your microwave forget it!

"Just to buy a glass tray for a microwave is about as much as some new microwaves cost," said Karen Erickson, another appliance dealer.

Here are some other suggestions:

If you can fix your washing machine for under $100, do it.  But if it’s showing signs of rust, it could be time for a change.

Clothes dryers are often worth fixing too, as well as minor problems with your stove. Consumer Reports recently polled it’s members on the topic.  Their advice:

"If your appliance is eight or more years old, usually it makes sense to buy a new one. If you have a favorite high-end, older appliance, you may want to repair it. Consider replacing a newer model if it has been repair-prone. But skip any repair that costs more than half the price of a new product."

For those out-of-warranty products more than three years old, it may not pay to repair them unless you've bought a pricey, high-end model. In the end, it’s still a judgment call.

$MART MONEY:  Navigating the Road to Financial Freedom

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