An appliance breaks in your home and you wonder: Should you fix it, or just replace it? Well, it depends on the appliance, according to Consumer Reports' sub-publication ShopSmart.

As a general rule, once an appliance reaches its 3rd or 4th year, you don't repair it, you dump it.

Check out these timetables for fix-or-repair decisions about appliances

The advice that the magazine offers depends on whether you're talking about technology or appliances. So the following advice is recommended for technologies:



  • Full-size canister vacuum - repair up to 5 years
  • Clothes dryer - repair up to 4 years
  • Washing machine - repair up to 4 years
  • Fridge - repair up to 4 years
  • TV - repair up to 4 years
  • Dishwasher - repair up to 3 years
  • Camera - repair up to 3 years
  • Typical vacuum cleaner - repaired up to 3 years
  • Installed microwave - repair up to 2  years
  • Oven range - repair up to 2 years
  • Computer - repair up to 2 years


Now, I know many traditionalists will say, "My last so-and-so lasted 26 years. Why in the world would I dump it after 3 years?" The reason is because the cost of a repair today in many cases equals or exceeds the cost of buying a new unit.

Meanwhile, if you're talking about larger things like an HVAC unit, read my take on that here.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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