Our 12 year old washing machine recently broke - it stopped spinning. When we had it repaired several years ago, the repair man had showed me the $14 part that had broken and said that it commonly breaks (of course labor was over $100).
I decided to check online and found videos on several repairs, figuring it was worth finding out if the problem was a $14 part I could replace myself before spending all my savings on a new washer. There are some great step-by-step YouTube videos out there!
I put my laptop next to the washer and hit pause as I did every step. It was amazingly easy to check the motor-coupling, the clutch/belt, and make sure the pump was clear - anyone could do it and I felt like a real Ms. Fix-It.
Unfortunately none of these turned out to be the problem and I wasn't able to fix my washer. As it was 12 years old, we decided to replace it with a new energy efficient model ($500 after several rebates). At least I knew I'd tried everything I could and wouldn't hesitate to try my own repairs in the future - not only that, but after I mentioned I'd "checked the motor coupling", etc. to the salesman, I was treated like I knew my stuff - and I did! They didn't even try to get me to buy the extended warranty :)
You can always get an estimate first, our appliance repair man is always helpful, as he has worked on my washer and fridge twice each. The last time for each, he said he wouldn't recommend more than 2 repairs, then get a new or good used replacement. I always figured as long as the repairs didn't go over half the cost of a new comparable machine, it was okay.
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