Replace or Repair

When a big-ticket item breaks, it’s often hard to decide whether to buy a new one or repair it. Here are some tips to help you with that decision:

1. Appliances. A general rule of thumb is to replace an appliance if the cost to repair it is more than half of the replacement cost. Check out your weekly store ads so you have an idea of what new appliances cost – especially if your appliances are reaching the end of their life expectancy:

Refrigerator or freezer: 14-17 years

Electric Range: 17 years

Dishwashers: 10 years

Washers: 13 years

Dryers: 14 years

Gas water heater: 11-13 years


2. Furniture. When upholstered furniture becomes stained, worn or ripped, recovering it is an option – but not an inexpensive one, when you add up the cost of fabric and labor. Reupholstering is usually recommended only when it’s a solid, well-built piece of furniture. Better yet, take an upholstery class and do it yourself!

3. Computers and other electronics. Computers are designed to be more upgradeable these days, so try adding memory and updating software before buying a new one. With smaller electronics, such as phones or mp3 players, prices keep dropping and features keep getting upgraded, so the rule of thumb is to repair it only when the repair costs 25 percent or less of the new purchase price.

4. Cars. Only a qualified mechanic whom you trust can determine if it’s worth repairing an older car. He or she should be able to help you estimate the amount of work needed to keep it safe and reliable. Buyers often overlook the automatic depreciation when you drive a new car off the lot, plus the higher cost of insurance and, in some states, registration for a new car.

Finally, when replacing a large household appliance or electronic equipment, check with your local sanitation department or recycling businesses about?ways to keep the item out of a landfill. You might be surprised who wants to reuse or recycle your old junk!

What have you replaced recently, and how did you reach that decision? – Please Comment


  1. Renae says

    Our washer died awhile ago. I called to see what a repair would be and it was not worth it. My new washer is twice as large as my previous free one. I had no idea! It is just a bottom of the line model, but it cut my washer loads. That is a boon! 🙂

    I will, however, be ordering a replacement part for my hand-me-down Kitchen Pro. The yellowed plastic has too many memories of making cookies with my mom to dispose of and the part is only $10. That is much cheaper than a new mixer, blender, food processor, or meat grinder all of which are on this one appliance.


  2. Hadias says

    The microwave that I have is pretty old. It’s actually second hand.

    It’s about the size of a 20 inch T.V. and is very spacious inside.I paid $25.00 for it. My MIL got it at a yardsale but she already had one.

    I really tend to think long and hard about replacing products and always try and find the best economical solution.


  3. Anonymous says

    I didn’t realize microwaves had come down so much in price! We bought one soon after we were married (it was gently used…the couple was moving out of the country & couldn’t take anything large with them) for $100. On the other hand, this was nearly 23 years ago, so the benefit to us has far outweighed the cost, if taken over time. It has no fancy buttons or settings on it, but it sure gets the job done!



  4. Rain says

    We recently replace our microwave. It was not repairable and it cose us only about $60 for a nice and slightly lareger one. Money well spent!


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