How much frailer are modern washers than older ones?

Sometimes, but not always.

True enough. My husband is a physicist by training and knows electronics a little better than the average layperson, and he didn’t make the attempt. I’ll suggest he try that first if another appliance goes bad.

This idea that they built stuff better in the past is purely confirmation bias. Every washer from the X0’s you see today has lasted a long time. People forget that this is one of the very few holdouts of a large population. The rest didn’t last remarkably long (in fact they were a bit crap).
Take cars as an example: Todays cars will routinely last 200k miles, with only a fraction of the maintenance older cars needed. Stuff is no longer designed to be taken apart and repaired because stuff is made so much better that a typical washer will never be taken apart, instead they just slowly die of old age as the motor, seals and bearings all start to give out around the same time.

I’ve worked on a lot of this stuff. Cars are far better than the cars I grew up working on. Though thank Engineering & Quality Control for that as today’s cars are really hard to work on compared to cars made in the 70s and before.

But a washer today, especially front loaders don’t last as long and are tougher to work on at the same time. So not conformational bias in this case.

Electric Stoves & Fridges also fall into this category.

Nitpick: That’s actually survival bias.

Based on my possibly-ill-informed observations, it seems like older washers (and other appliances) were a lot more likely to use common parts, so for example the water pump or the timer assembly might be used in a bunch of different models over a long span of time. In contrast, newer models seem to use parts specific to a particular model, and once that model is out of production, the parts are a lot harder to come by (which also translates to more expensive). As others have noted, parts availability and pricing play a huge role in whether to repair or replace.

As an aside: my favorite appliance store strongly discouraged looking at LG refrigerators, claiming that the parts are not well-stocked in the US and sometimes getting it repaired, even under warranty, means waiting on trans-Pacific shipping. Does anybody have any direct experience with that?

God help you.

I had an Asko washer and dryer. Compact units. The dryer was a condenser dryer, suitable for apartment use.

Endless breakdowns, leaks, repair calls and parts shortages later, we threw out the washer. We gave away the dryer, which was still functional.

We replaced them years ago with Bosch units. Still going strong, no problems at all.

I do not know about LG (I have a new top-loading washer of theirs that I love), but my daughter waited 4 months for replacement parts for their Samsung fridge and then ended up having to replace it anyway when the part did not fix the problem. Our local store worked well with her but once they had to deal with Samsung over warranty issue it was fraught.

As I said upthread, “Product quality is a constant tug of war between technological improvements that make things better and incessant cost-cutting that tends to make them worse. Sometimes one side wins, sometimes the other.”

Cars are a very poor comparison with washing machines because they’re very complex products that have benefited enormously from technological improvements and advances in materials. At the same time, safety mandates as well as emissions and fuel efficiency requirements, and consumer concerns about quality in a vigorously competitive environment, have mostly made it infeasible to produce cheap crap, so cars have become much better but also much more expensive. Consumer appliances have tended more towards the “cheaper and shoddier” end of things, where the drive for cost-cutting dominates, although of course there are exceptions (which are generally high cost).

In at least one state in Australian, repairing any electrical equipment isn’t legal at all unless you are a licensed electrician with an electrical repair certificate. And a licensed electrician with an electrical repair certificate is going to cost you as much as a small central heating furnace.

Furnace installation and repair is also a protected trade, because all trades are protected here. And it overlaps with gas plumbing, electrical connection, and carbon-monoxide safety regulations. The serviceman had a home-furnace servicing licence, but I don’t know if that is a license to do board repairs, even easy ones like track replacement.

Because of the overlap with plumbing and air-conditioning, I think he probably would have had the skills to solder in a track-replacement wire, so I was slightly surprised he didn’t consider that. Probably he doesn’t really know anything about electricity, and perhaps it wouldn’t have been legal anyway.

Wait. You mean when my dishwasher door latch broke, which is a unit integrated with various cutoff switches so that the dishwasher shuts off when the door is opened, I would have to hire one of these dudes to replace it? And that if I ordered the part and replaced it myself, as in fact I did, in about ten minutes, this would be illegal in some Australian states? :astonished:

If true, that sounds like utter nonsense promoted by trade unions with far too much political clout.

There are some grey areas, and the rules aren’t the same in every state. Some of the grey areas aren’t so much grey as murky untreated sewerage that nobody wants to look at. I’m not an expert, and most people would know even less than me.

You’ve described a replacement part, which might be different to a ‘repair’ if it came to court. And since nobody saw you do it, launching a prosecution would be difficult. And as regards common practice, it’s still not illegal to sell dishwasher door latches to anybody – even children.

Replacing a shower head with a low-flow water-saving shower head is handled by a specific exemption to the plumbing rules. On the face of it, replacing a shower head for any other reason is illegal unless you are a plumber. Message boards like the SDMB would be careful about allowing discussion of shower-head replacement. And the more they know about it, the more careful they would be. But that’s as far as it would go: it’s something you don’t discuss on the record.

I just read the Act and Regs for my state. The law is somewhat looser than what various highly self-interested electrician websites say, but is nonetheless very protectionist.

Interestingly, the legislation seems to exempt farmers. No doubt this is because farmers are immune to electrocution, no wait, farmers live in marginal electorates, no wait, farmers have powerful political lobby groups, no wait, farmers are well known for their careful ways farmers live a long way from towns and it would be expensive for them to to have to use electricians, unlike for the rest of us who can get electricians for pennies.

I don’t know about where you are, but in the US, there was a controversy over the ability of farmers to repair their own tractors and other equipment. (Google “right to repair”.) The manufacturers, like John Deere, argued that only authorized dealers should be able to access the copyrighted software that control the machines. The farmers argued that they don’t have time to wait for the dealer to make their way out to the farm so they should be able to maintain the equipment on their own. I’ve even heard of farmers buying older tractors because they’re cheaper and easier to maintain.

I’m familiar with the debate. As someone who likes repairing my own stuff, I’m very much on their side. The whole thing pisses me off. And it’s even worse than you say AIUI.

I saw a piece where a farmer was explaining that the dealer’s technician wouldn’t even come to him. He had to load his huge tractor on a low loader, get it shipped a considerable distance to the dealership, and then get it shipped back, all at his expense. And the tractor was riddled with sensors hooked back to the tractors “brain” which would record it if he undertook even ridiculously basic repairs or maintenance himself. Then if he took the tractor to the dealership they would discover he had conducted repairs himself, and that would technically cause him to lose warranty. It’s outrageous.

As someone who designs/supports controls for a lot of different machines I can also see the other side. People “repair” stuff and then never tell you what they did, operators, maintenance, etc. will lie, deny and never ever tell you what they did to get it into some impossible state. We are more and more moving towards machines turning themselves off if they detect an attempt to circumvent safety mechanisms.

Well that’s on them.

Miele washers are designed to last twenty years and employ transit bars, its a feature and not a sign of cheapness. All the manufactures update their models every few years, some weakness are fixed whist others appear with the new design.

I don’t have any direct experience with repair parts, but I absolutely love my LG stuff; though when I ordered my new washer and dryer (5+ years ago, now), it did take nearly a month to get them here. However, I have not had one single problem with them, and I’m not the kind of person that takes special care with things.

To be fair, no washer or dryer should have issues in their first 5 years.
Is it a front loading washer? If so the next 5 years is the time to watch out.
If top load, their still should be any issues until over 10 years old.