Picking up Nickels

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Washing machine: repair or replace?

A couple of weeks ago our 10+ year old Speed Queen washing machine started leaking water during the spin cycle. After taking a closer look, it appeared that the leak was caused by a failing tub seal and as an added bonus the frayed drive belt looked like it was ready to fail sooner rather than later. Doing some online research, I figured it would cost about $130 for a replacement belt and seal kit. While that wasn't an outrageous price to pay, it was further compounded by the fact that once I removed the wash tub I couldn't figure out how to get at the seal without damaging other parts:

Since this was an old appliance and a relatively inexpensive self-repair didn't seem feasible, we just decided to break down and buy a new washer. Not knowing where to start, we consulted the washing machine review in the February 2009 issue of Consumer Reports (yes, in spite of this) to try to find a suitable replacement. The scary part was that we were able to find horrible online reviews for just about all of the top-rated models. In time our growing pile of dirty clothes helped motivate us to decide to go with a GE WCVH6800J front loader washer (the Consumer Reports #2 rated front loader) with a MSRP of $899:

Looking around for the best price, we found that this washer would cost us approximately $800 at big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears. We followed up by checking out a local family-owned appliance store that we've done business with before, and found that they were charging about $700 for the same machine. Even better, they were offering a $100 mail in rebate through the NECO Alliance (apparently an appliance buying group) that our research had not even turned up. Sold!

We did decide to use some of these savings to buy a three year extended manufacturer's warranty from GE for $99. In spite of my general aversion to them, we pulled the trigger because of the number of washing machine repair horror stories we found online while researching this purchase. In the end, icluding sales tax, delivery/removal charges, and the rebate, our out the door cost came out to be a little more than $750, which was about $85 less than what the washer plus sales tax (and the standard one year warranty) would have cost us at Home Depot.


  • little brand called Danby. I scred the last one and they have not been stocked since. With a 10% coupon i was able to get this little front loader for about 280.00 it is going on 5 years and no problems...I kinda wish they would carry them again as less than 3-400 sounds about right for a FL washer IMHO!!!
    good luck with your GE!!!

    By Blogger billtmore, at 5/21/09, 7:00 AM  

  • gosh.... I should have proofed my comment...what I said was in 03-04 home depot carried a little brand called Danby and that I scored the last one they ever carried locally.(discontinued)

    By Blogger billtmore, at 5/21/09, 7:03 AM  

  • Wow, never heard of Danby appliances. And I thought a new Speed Queen was hard to track down... :)

    By Blogger Frugal Frugalson, at 5/21/09, 11:10 AM  

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