When/How To Repair Vs. Replace Broken Tech & Appliances

When/How To Repair Vs. Replace Broken Tech & Appliances

Jason Yang
Sep 9, 2011

It used to be electronics and appliances were so ridiculously expensive that when something went haywire you headed to the repairman and spent a small fortune to fix the darn thing. As technology shot through the roof, prices went the opposite direction. So how do you know when to fix or ditch that broken tech or appliance that's hardly a few years old?


Consider a brand new 50" flat screen TV can be had for perhaps $500 when years ago that would have been several thousand. We once brought a $3,000 DLP (now worth perhaps a quarter of that price, if even) with a black band showing on the screen to a repair shop and it took them 2 months and $1,000 in wrong parts to come back and tell us, "this isn't worth fixing." Not to advocate wasting money and tossing TVs left and right, but chances are it really isn't worth fixing. Some smaller repairs (like an interior component on our Pioneer Kuro plasma that went bad 6 months into ownership) was an easy enough repair - $250 under warranty (which we had to fight for since the set wasn't bought at an "authorized reseller"). If you can get a free estimate then by all means to do so, but if the cost to repair is close to the price of a new set, you should at least consider buying a new one with a warranty. That repair may be warrantied for a very short period of time, but you're sinking an awful lot of money into an old set that have no more warranty after that.

Remote Control

Not much to this one. Take the opportunity of a broken remote to consolidate into a fancy new universal remote!

Cell Phone

If you're stuck in a two-year contract with an expensive subsidized phone (the iPhone, let's say), your options to simply replace the phone might be limited due to the expense of said phone. Some repairs such as replacing a broken screen aren't too terrible to tackle on your own, but if you drowned it in a pool and it won't dry out well then you may be SOL.


If you're computer savvy enough to swap out components then by all means replace that broken video card or fan. If your screen's cracked we recommend replacing the monitor as those can be much more trouble than it's worth to repair. A little research can go a long way though as sometimes you can find common issues that are readily repairable.

Computer Peripherals

More likely than not it's much simpler to just replace broken peripherals such as a computer mouse, webcam, DVD burner, etc. Especially with so many online retailers battling it out for your dollars, pricing have gotten insanely low.