What do you do bin it or fix it?

  Cymro. 12:56 09 Jan 2019

BBC link

This item starts with something I think we can all agree with "It is frustrating: you buy a new appliance then just after the warranty runs out, it gives up the ghost. You can’t repair it and can’t find anyone else to at a decent price, so it joins the global mountain of junk". There have been comments on this Forum in the past but this is the first time I have come across climate change being used as an argument against buying new rather than repairing.

  Menzie 13:23 09 Jan 2019

I pretty much bin it, a lot of my possessions are covered under home insurance and in many cases rather than fix it insurance companies discard it and replace it instead.

Case in point I have a friend who at the time had a toddler. She whacked a clothes hanger across his then new 55" inch television set because she wanted to get a spider off the TV which had crawled on it. It was quite an impact as there was a mark on the picture from that point onwards. My friend called his home insurance company and rather than send someone to replace the panel they just replaced the set instead.

Refrigerators, washing machines and dryers are so cheap these days that there is no point getting a repair done on them unless you do it yourself. I'm not very handy so in many cases I just replace things.

  wee eddie 13:25 09 Jan 2019

Because of the efficiency of many Manufacturing Processes and often, the low cost of labour involved, the wage cost of making a repair to a single part, can frequently exceed the wage cost of making the whole item

  oresome 13:43 09 Jan 2019

Setting aside the climate issue for a moment, the fact is that manufacturers can produce items at a price which makes them uneconomical to repair.

Making items repairable, codifying and stocking the spare parts, producing the service manuals etc all adds to the cost which is borne by the consumer in one way or another.

On top of this, whilst manufactured goods have fallen in price in real terms through automation, labour costs have not, so that parts plus labour for a repair can come to a large percentage of the cost of a nice new gleaming product with a few more bells and whistles than the old one had.

Returning to the climate issue, manufacturers could make consumer items that are repairable, that are much better built, that lasted much longer and were much more expensive to produce and buy. We'd buy a lot less of them partly due to the high purchase cost, partly due to their longevity and partly because there'd be a lot more people out of work as the consumer boom for cheap manufactured goods stalled.

In summary it's a difficult problem for politicians to address.

  Forum Editor 17:12 09 Jan 2019

"Setting aside the climate issue for a moment, the fact is that manufacturers can produce items at a price which makes them uneconomical to repair."

Yes, and it's not only that. My own experience is that electrical and electronic items in particular are generally being made to a high standard - they last for a long time. When I've replaced a TV set it is because there was a better model, or an advance in the technology and not because anything was wrong with it. Fridges seem to go on forever, as do laptops.

Cars seem to last far longer than they used to before they need expensive repairs. That said, anything that has moving parts will inevitably need repairs, no matter how well it was made in the first place.

  qwbos 00:03 10 Jan 2019

That said, anything that has moving parts will inevitably need repairs, no matter how well it was made in the first place.

Sometimes, not so much how well as how. Prior to the advent of sealed drums with moulded in bearings, there were a range of faults that could be repaired at an economic cost. That's no longer the case, meaning more relatively young washing machines end up in a council tip, waiting for a trip to China or to landfill.

The driver behind these "improvements" was to reduce the amount of material used, but the end effect, in many cases, has led to shorter life, more washing machines produced and higher consumption of raw materials.

This article is old, but still relevant.

  oresome 09:16 10 Jan 2019

I've more than once in the past replaced the drum bearings on our washing machines.

I remember going to the stockist for the bearings and the assistant asking if I wanted the complete drum assembly or just the bearings. On replying just the bearings, she said their own engineers usually replaced the entire assembly as it was an easier and quicker repair to do on site.

The point being that long before the sealed assembly became common, the complete item was replaced for convenience anyway.

I don't know if our present machine has a sealed drum assembly or not but it's lasted several years without any repair, (a low cost Beko) and would simply be replaced now when it fails for other than a minor fault that I can easily rectify.

Thinking back I have never employed someone outside of a warranty to repair a household item. I either repair it myself or bin it and to be fair most items are reliable to the age where I want to change them anyway.

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