How much frailer are modern washers than older ones?

Don’t forget about external influences like regulatory requirements(efficiency, etc…), that introduce other forces into play that may reduce longevity. An older machine may have heavier parts, or a larger motor or something that is inefficient, but that also lasts longer. Or it may be controlled in a way that’s less prone to failure under the relatively uncontrolled and variable environments of people’s wash areas, than the present-day circuit boards. But that may also translate into inefficiency as a result.

I just HAD to talk about it…

This weekend (holiday weekend, of course) my washer stopped, flashing an LE error code. Tried resetting it and whatnot, but no luck; ordered a new rotor position sensor, hoping that is the problem.

Confirmation bias, maybe - but our experience has been that appliances DO NOT last as long as they used to.

Our first place, a townhouse built in 1988, had a dishwasher that was running well enough but died in early 2001 - so, 13 years.

We moved to a new-to-us house in 2002 (built in 1995). Had to replace that dishwasher within 2-3 years. So, maybe 10 years. That replacement lasted until 2016 - so, maybe 11 years. ITS replacement is now 5.5 years old and has had two major repairs - the first of which was covered under the extended warranty we purchased, but the second one happened a few months after that expired. Had we paid out of pocket for that first repair, we’d have spent basically enough to replace the whole unit in two repairs.

We’re on our third washer and third dryer in this house - while the units at my in-laws’ condo in Florida are easily 20+ years old.

The big issue, in my mind, is that modern-day appliances have massive amounts of electronic components (control boards etc.), and THOSE are what fails and are insanely expensive to replace.

I think some companies like Speed Queen still make washers with mechanical controls. That might be an option if you want a more easily serviceable one.

I deeply regret replacing my kitchenaid washer/dryer. Purchased in 1989. It never stopped working.

I figured it was 25 years old and should be replaced. Little did I know that today’s Maytag is cheap crap compared to what they sold in 1990.

I bought the Maytag bravo xl washer and dryer. It doesn’t get really dirty clothes clean. My pants get dirty working in the yard and flowerbeds. I have to hand wash in a laundry sink and then put in the washer.

13 dollars and 15 minutes of my time, running great again. Think I might order a couple more of those sensors just to keep in a drawer somewhere.

The parts that fail on the control boards are usually relays which are just electrically controlled switches. Even if you got a washer with mechanical controls it would still have switches and they would still fail. Switches are unreliable. The difference was that they may have been cheaper to replace.

Really the big difference is that repairpeople have become expensive, while whitegoods have become cheap. Also, part of the way they have become cheap is the modularisation of components (eg consolidating everything onto a PCB) but that means when a component fails it gets replaced entirely which is expensive.

You’re on to something there. Had a whirlpool dishwasher that needed a new water valve (cheap and easy fix)…then the main pump went out (kinda sorta cheap…SURPRISINGLY easy to replace…like nearly no tools needed).

Well, whaddaya know, running without water, the heating element apparently went…$75…

Huh…threw a thermometer in there and it’s not heating the water…troubleshot that the heating relay isn’t engaging…I’m handy with a soldering iron and it’s a $6 relay…

Motherf…it’s still not really cleaning well. Guess I’ll go shopping for a new one…went to the store and said ‘hey, we buy stuff from you…did we buy that last dishwasher from you?’

Yup. 4 years ago.

But what are you going to do? The other stores have the same products, at the same prices.

So. Found a Miele we liked (throw more and more money at the problem until you buy enough quality to last.) Dishwasher in Mid-COVID economics is 7-12 weeks out…maybe.

Bought the next model up and it’s a significantly different beast from the Whirlpool (with, for 4 times the price, it oughta be.) I am UNCOMFORTABLY in love with this thing, and the cleanliness of the resulting dishes.

I think the other issue is: We’re a family of 4, we run a dishwasher slightly more than daily. (4 * 365 - call it 1500 cycles)…the kids leave home and we run the same dishwasher twice a week? It’ll last 14 years.

Bosch is supposed to be similar in quality.

That’s the one that has now failed twice in 5 years.

I love ours - or used to. It has that third rack, which is where we put all the cutlery. It’s so quiet you literally cannot tell that it’s running unless you stand in front of it and look to see if the little red light is on. Although the rack tines are a joke (if you put a plate in each one, there’s no way water could get in to clean the stuff), it does a good jon.

But at that price point, the thing ought to have lasted more than 2 years before failing catastrophically for the first time.

Oh - and repairs are a joke. You call them and read them the error code if you got one (this last one, no code). They MAIL YOU the parts. If you’re lucky, those are what is needed. The first time, we got 2 parts. The repair guy said “Oh, I think it’s part 1, I’ll replace that and take part 2 with me”.

It failed immediately. As in, he should have replaced part 2 (which was the one the code suggested anyway).

So we called - and they did not have the part anymore. Not sure if it got lost in his on-truck inventory or what; we had called within an hour of his visit, so they had not had time to return it. This led to another week+ delay when they shipped the part again and got him back out.

At least that part worked. When we’d been fighting for our Kenmore washer for 3+ months, they tried thing after thing and ordered a new control board. He came. He installed. And was about to bolt out the door when I suggested that maybe he should see if it TURNED ON. Nope. We had a dud. We were looking at another 2+ weeks to get a replacement part; I called the company and raised hell. Weirdly, they found one within 24 hours.

Of course, Sears was one repair visit from having to replace the entire thing (and had already had to compensate us for laundromat fees) so maybe they were motivated.

It died again a year or so later. My husband was gung ho to try to fix it - same way he fixed the over-the-stove microwave, the previous dishwasher, and the dryer. 300+ dollars on parts each time. Appliance had to be replaced each time when the repair failed. Each time, the wasted parts were something like half the cost of a replacement unit. More, in the case of the over-the-stove microwave.

Which is another frustration. Even when the repair seems straightforward (and my spouse is not a stupid person, and actually knows electronics) they are so rarely user-serviceable. He actually DID fix the washer that came with the house - an older, less-shmancy model, when a repair person could not. Some problem with it not sensing it was about to overflow, and much mopping.

But he is not allowed to attempt repairs on these appliances anymore.

We’re having a new cooktop installed tomorrow. Wish us luck! Its predecessor was a traditional ceramic-coil electric one, the sort you cannot get any more, and I sort of wished it would die because I coveted an induction unit - but that thing lasted 25 years before the 2 largest burners finally failed. We’ve waited most of a year for it (ordered in December) and I hope it lasts at least 2-3 years…

‘Cycle’ = one load of wash? Or does each wash cycle, rinse cycle, spin cycle count as one cycle?

One entire wash load, from beginning to end, all washes and rinses included.

I found a stat on the interwebs saying Meile was better than Bosh with a 1-st year repair rate of 8% vs Bosch’s 11-12%

It’s not the brand, or really so much the price that bugs the sh*t out of me, its the week delay where you need to hand wash/hit the laundromat/live in a hot house/find space for 24 cu.ft. of food while you wait for a tech to come out that may or may not actually fix the problem.

What does it cost to buy it once and forget it? I’ll pay it fer chrissakes!

We just went through a bit of an ordeal with our “new” (less than 5 yr old) LG refrigerator. It slowly stopped cooling below 45 degrees (including the freezer). Didn’t do due diligence which would have told me that there was a class action suit against LG for this shoddy technology (a new type of compressor that is really quiet but not long-lived). Got jerked around with repairs, first totally on us; then only the parts were included under warranty The repair guy told us to press LG about it. Finally got them to agree to reimburse us for labor, but as yet haven’t seen the money.
Needless to say when this one dies it will not be replaced with another LG model.

My parents have been in their home for over fifty years and I think they still rent the water heater (electric 40-gallon tank-type) from the electric utility (what used to be called United Illuminating). My father has always been really frugal so I assume the math works for him. Periodically, they’ve replaced the water heater with newer models.

Anyhow, I’m wondering if the idea of renting a washer/dryer would appeal to people, especially those frustrated by newer ones that seem to break down frequently. So if it stops working, you call them, they come and either fix it or replace it with a working unit (not necessarily the same model).

I think some auto manufacturers are moving to this business model for some willing customers. I’ve heard of some business models that allow you to change from one car model to another periodically, or that will provide a car for you when you’re out of town (instead of renting from Hertz, Avis or the like).

Yep, we had the exact same problem with our LG compressor as well on a brand new $2800 refrigerator. Luckily we were still under warranty so they had to fix it but man was that repairman an ass. I’m pretty sure they get paid by the visit so he stretched it out for three weeks. First he forgot the parts, then it was the wrong part, then the refrigerator was leaking and he thought it might be dangerous. Finally they fixed it only to have it break again six months later (bad soldering). They fixed it pretty quickly this time but we were still out several hundred dollars worth of food.

More on point to the OP though, this last weekend, our 11 year old LG washer finally died. As Princhester said, it was one of the capacitors that exploded (love that smell) but the motherboard has some coating so you can’t replace individual components. Instead, we would of had to replace the entire module for $300 and maybe we’d get another year or two out of it before the motor died or the rust ate all the way through. After spending hours poring over every washer out there, we decided to go with another LG because they all suck in one way or another and at least the LG worked well for a decade.

Come to think of it, our solar battery is also dead (the solar company guy said he’s seeing a tsunami of failures) and guess who it’s made by. Yep, Life’s Good indeed.

Interesting fact I just learned was that LG used to be named GoldStar which was the absolute cheapest, bottom of the barrel manufacturer around. They changed their name to LG to move upscale but, kind of like that quote in Poltergeist, they moved the name, but they didn’t move the quality.

Actually I think the LG brand came about when Goldstar and Lucky (both Korean brands) merged.

I never hear of Lucky, but Goldstar was terrible. Really terrible.

According to Wikipedia, the company was always called Lucky Goldstar (there was no merger). Their products were branded as just Goldstar in the US, and some products branded as Lucky in Korea, until they changed the name to LG.

ETA – I should have read the whole article before posting. There was a merger in 1983 that formed Lucky-Goldstar. But they continued branding their products as Goldstar and Lucky, and didn’t start using the LG brand until much later.

Xcel Energy does something like that… HomeSmart

It’s more an extended warranty than a rental.

We have kids. We bought a BIG fridge for the food the kids eat…You have to find space for that food while waiting for the repair guy to show. Well, a percentage of it. Turns out we had a lot of condiments and they survived a few days without refrigeration.