How much frailer are modern washers than older ones?

Some circuit boards are given a “conformal coat” (like a varnish coat) to prevent short circuits from the growth of “tin whiskers”.

https://nepp.nasa.gov/WHISKER/background/index.htm

Sounds like the old Ma Bell model of renting your telephone. And since they were on the hook (pun intended) for repairs, they made their telephones rock-solid sturdy.

Washing machine parts are given a conformal coat (or potted) to prevent corrosion by wet spray containing dissolved oxidizers.

There was a time when bright-tin-coating was common, and then there was a later time when people considered returning to bright-tin-coating. Although the linked document was last updated 2019, it actually dates from the previous decade when American suppliers were moving to alternatives to tin/lead solder. EU ROHS came into effect in 2006.