The fable goes that the nice white-haired appliance guys are a dying breed and they’re way better than their outsourced, van-driving, retail store counterparts. But sometimes the local guy is just as bad as the guy in the store wearing the official colored shirt. When her Kenmore model 417 front-loading washer went bust-o, Jane discovered she was able to save $400 in repair costs by learning how to fix it herself from Youtube videos.
My front-loader washer broke. I reached in to get the laundry, and it was sopping wet. I fooled around with it and discovered that it was making a whirring noise when it should have been draining and going into spin cycle. I called Mr. Local Appliance Guy rather than Sears, thinking that MLAG (an older gentleman) would be more likely to give honest advice on the fix/trash decision. So MLAG opens up the washer, and after a while says “the pump’s not working, so that’s about $200, and spin is broken, so that’s probably another $200, so you probably want to think about a new washer”. I asked whether it seemed odd that two things which did not involve the same part of the machine broke at the same time, but he said that he siphoned out the water, so it should now go into spin, so the spin was broken…
After some time on the internet researching new washers (depressingly expensive), and consulting your friends at CR, I decided to google repairing my washer, just in case. And there it was – a YouTube video on how to replace the pump on my model of washer (an easy, but potentially damp process), plus lots of comments about how people found stuff in the pump, removed it, and now the washer works fine. And by the way, it won’t spin unless ALL the water is siphoned out, so somewhat unlikely that the spin is broken. So – I took out the pump and found a rusty, four inch long sewing needle jammed into the rotator thingy (we know where that came from, but that’s another story). Put pump back, washer is fine. The lesson for consumerists? MLAG is not always your best bet anymore, although he did diagnose the problem for $75, and he fixed my dryer a few years ago. Apparently it is not worth their time to research any specific repair, and maybe they see too many different machines to have enough data. However, the internet is your friend, if you are inclined to be a bit handy.
That’s great! Why pay for parts and repairs you don’t need when you can figure out how to fix it yourself, using the power of the internet knowledge base?
Here’s the video Jane used to fix her washer with her own hands: