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DIY Appliance Repair – How I saved my washing machine and $400

For about a month, my washing machine has been acting up.  It will stop between cycles, not drain when it’s supposed to, things like that.  It still does the job.  It just has a few quirks.  The easy fix has been opening the lid and slamming it shut whenever it stops working.  That would usually get it to kick back on.  Kind of like when you used to whack the side of the TV to get a clear picture.  Finally last week, the trick stopped working.  I had a washer full of clothes and water, and no idea how to fix it.

If you’ve ever opened a washer, you’ve seen the little “stick” on the lid, which hits a switch on the rim of the machine.  That’s the switch that makes the machine stay on while the lid is shut, or turn off if the lid is open. I stuck my head inside and realized that was the problem. The reason the lid needed to be slammed was that the switch was falling apart and was no longer in the proper position.

So I fiddled with it enough to make it through that load of laundry.  That was a relief.  After that, I went in for further inspection.

*Word of caution: Before fiddling with any electrical appliance, make sure the power is disconnected.  Sparks may or may not have flown from my washer at some point during this endeavor.

As I inspected the switch, pieces of plastic and metal literally fell off of it.  I quickly realized that this thing had seen its last load of laundry.

My first thought was: “Crap, this thing is old.  I need to buy a new washer.”

Then I thought: “Wait, let me take down the model number and see if I can find this part for sale online.”

Sure enough, there it was.  I first found it on an appliance part website for about $30.00.

That sure beats $400.00+ for a brand new washer. After some more searching I found the same part on Amazon.com for just $10.00.  Boom.  Bought it.  It arrived just in time, as the laundry was piling up.

I even found an instructional video showing me how to install it.  It was relatively simple.

So here I am today with  $390.00 saved in the pocket of my now clean pants.

Today’s lessons…

  1. Don’t give up on your older appliances without thinking about fixing them first.
  2. If they can be fixed, look into doing it yourself.
  3. Don’t try it if it’s a complicated job. You might just cause more problems.  Call a professional for a quote.
  4. Always have extra underpants.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Andi

Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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