ST. LOUIS — Ever notice that the old stove or washing machine you're holding on to is still going strong while your brand-new, shiny appliances are in for yet another repair?
They sure don’t make them like they used to, but Consumer Reports said there are reasons for that.
Appliances today have sensors and circuit boards that control and monitor functions. For example, a dishwasher can sense whether it needs to run longer, and a dryer will stop when the clothes are dry. All those electronics can introduce reliability problems that weren’t common 30 years ago. And that makes fixing them more complex, too.
According to CR’s 2018 surveys, some 15 to 40 percent of major appliances will develop problems or break within the first five years, depending on the product.
And a 2016 CR survey found that only about 60 percent of appliance repairs were completed on the first service visit!
This is the first year that Consumer Reports has looked at average predicted reliability to compare brands across a range of major appliances. And some brands are far more reliable than others.
So if you’re looking to outfit your kitchen or laundry room with appliances from a single brand, you’ll do well if you consider Miele, LG, Thermador, and Bosch.
When it comes to brands that didn’t do well, Viking ranks last among the 24 in the survey. None of its major appliances earned more than a Fair rating for predicted reliability. And you’ll want to be careful when considering Electrolux, Samsung, Jenn-Air, and Dacor. While they do have some products that score at least Good for reliability, each has multiple appliance categories that earn a reliability rating of Poor.
Should you buy an extended warranty? CR says you have to consider how likely the appliance is to break during the period the warranty covers, and whether the warranty would cost more than a repair. Consumer Reports’ latest refrigerator survey found that in general, the average cost of an extended warranty is equal to the average repair cost, about $160. Less than 1 percent in CR’s survey got stuck with a repair bill of $500 or more.