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.