Dishwasher on the Blink: Repair or Replace?

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    LESLIE: Pat in Nebraska is on the line with a dishwasher on the blink. What’s going on?

    PAT: Hi. Yes. Our dishwasher is on the blink, literally. It doesn’t seem to work anymore. And as I look at it, on the menu screen across the top, it’s blinking but doesn’t work when I hit the start button or cancel or open the door or shut it. Can’t get it to work anymore.

    TOM: How old is the dishwasher on the blink, Pat?

    PAT: I’d say about five years old.

    TOM: That’s a shame.

    LESLIE: It’s not that old.

    PAT: Yes. We’ve gone through 4 of them since we’ve owned this house, in about 20 years.

    TOM: Yeah. Wow.

    PAT: Really amazed.

    TOM: Yeah. And I’m sure a little annoyed, too.

    PAT: My husband shut the power off and turned it back on and it still doesn’t seem to work. So, we opened and shut the door, everything. So we think it’s – I went online and there’s something about some kind of a board that can – like a motherboard or something.

    TOM: Yeah. So that’s what I was thinking. It’s a failure of the control circuit and there’s a lot of electronic products in these newer appliances. And the question, of course, is: repair or replace? And at five years old, you’re kind of right at that sort of balance point. You might be able to repair the dishwasher on the blink. The question is: is it going to be worth a couple hundred bucks to you to do that or would you rather take the 200 bucks and put it towards a new unit?

    PAT: That’s what we weren’t sure. So that’s why we thought we’d give you a call.

    TOM: I think if it was me, I’d probably not repair it only because what do you hope to get out of that? Eight years? Nine years? Having somebody come out to your house and fix anything these days is a couple hundred bucks minimum. So it would end up being a third of the cost of a new unit. You could find a decent dishwasher for 500 or 600 bucks. And you could find a basic one for even less.

    PAT: So how much do you think the part would cost if …

    TOM: We don’t know that that’s the part, you know? You have to have a service person diagnose the dishwasher on the blink. But if you just wanted to satisfy your curiosity, there’s lots of websites online that sell appliance parts. And I’m sure you could find it. But the issue is that it’s a call to the service man to come out and diagnose it and that costs some money. And then a call – and then he has to come back after the part comes in. It’s not the kind of thing where they can keep these parts on the truck anymore, you know what I mean?

    PAT: Uh-huh. So, well, we were wanting your expert opinion. We kind of were leaning that way, anyway.

    TOM: I tell you what, if it was older, it would be a lot easier decision. I do agree that it’s still middle-aged. But I still don’t think it’s probably worth you putting the money into it.

    PAT: Yes. Alright. Well, I guess we’ll go shopping for a new dishwasher.

    TOM: Good luck with that project.

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