Should You Repair or Replace Your Dishwasher?

By Erin Hynes | Aug. 03, 2023 9:44 am PST

If you’re not sure whether to repair or replace your broken dishwasher, consider the age of the appliance, usage, repair cost and the cost of installing a new dishwasher in your home. Most importantly, determine which option is most economically viable in the long run. After carefully considering all these factors, you can choose which option makes more sense for you.

Common Signs Your Dishwasher Needs Repairs

Before you begin considering the options of dishwasher repair or replacement, make sure the dishwasher problem isn’t actually a usage problem. Common dishwasher problems such food particles left on dishes could simply be the way you’re loading dishes. That hazy film left on your glasses could be a sign of hard water or from not using a rinse aid.

But while not all dishwasher problems indicate a malfunctioning dishwasher, there are some common signs. If your dishwasher experiences increasingly noisy operation, incomplete wash cycles, leaks through the dishwasher door, water left standing at the bottom of the tub, or a noticeable decrease in energy efficiency, it could be one or more components have failed.

Obvious damage like a burnt-out heating element, cracked spray arm or a buildup of rust on the dish racks should be repaired.

Other issues that may require repair include a failure to fill, unresponsive control panels or erratic display functions.

Key considerations for dishwasher repair

When undertaking dishwasher repair, several factors should be. First determine if there’s an active warranty. If so, a manufacturer’s warranty or service agreement may render the repair financially advantageous or even cost-free.

Also consider the age of the dishwasher. A newer dishwasher could warrant the cost of the repair, whereas an older dishwasher—especially one with a history of previous repairs—may not.

Equally important is the repair cost versus the cost of a replacement. If your dishwasher is at or past its estimated lifespan, you may want to replace instead of paying for a major repair.

DIY vs. Professional Repair

Performing DIY dishwasher repair for problems such clogs, worn gaskets, misaligned dish racks, faulty soap dispenser, or loose spray arm or hose connections can offer a cost-effective solution.

However, professional repair services bring expertise to diagnose complex problems. An appliance repair technician experienced in troubleshooting can easily identify other dishwasher issues that might be missed with a DIY repair. While DIY attempts may save money initially, professional repairs guarantee long-term reliability and safety, making the choice of professional appliance repair services more prudent and less of a hassle.

How Much Will It Cost to Fix My Dishwasher?

The average cost of a dishwasher repair is about $180, but the cost varies with the type of repair. While minor repairs such as replacing the water inlet valve, door latch or blown fuse typically cost below $150, repairs like replacing the electronic control board or pump assembly can bring the cost of repairs closer to $400.

Knowing how much a repair will cost can help you decide whether to repair or replace your dishwasher when it breaks down. The most accurate way to determine repair cost is to have a service technician visit your home, diagnose the dishwasher and give you an estimate of the repair. You’ll typically have to pay the repair tech a service fee of $130 to $150 to diagnose the dishwasher and give you the estimate of the repair.

If the repair estimate is less than $300 for labor plus replacement parts, then you’re likely better off making the repair.

If the repair is over $300, then you’ll likely need to consider your dishwasher’s age and replacement cost when making your repair/replace decision.

How Long Will My Dishwasher Last?

Knowing how long to expect your dishwasher to last can help you make a repair/replace decision.

According to Consumer Reports, the typical life span of a dishwasher is 10 years. Your dishwasher will last long if you have a service technician perform annual maintenance checks, where minor problems such as a worn door gasket or loose drain hose can be caught before it becomes a more expensive problem.

Your dishwasher, even an older model, will also last longer if you seldom use it. If you’re one who prefers washing dishes by hand, you dishwasher can last up to 20 years.

Estimate your dishwasher’s longevity based on usage and level of maintenance and care that you’ve given it.

How Much Does a New Dishwasher Cost?

The average cost of a new dishwasher is between $400 and $700. You can get a basic model for as low as $300 but you’ll likely need to raise your voice to be heard above dishwasher noise when it’s running. Consider dishwasher noise level when looking at new models. If you’re replacing a high-end model, you may have to spend more than $1500.

Shop online to find a model to replace your current dishwasher when figuring out replacement cost.

Remember to add delivery and installation costs to your replacement cost. These services can cost between $150 and $200 in many areas.

Keep in mind that a matching brand and model can sometimes be difficult to find. To keep your kitchen appliances matching each other, you may need to replace your refrigerator, stove and microwave when replacing the dishwasher. Consider these extra appliance costs when making your dishwasher repair/replace decision if you can’t find a matching dishwasher.

Determining dishwasher replacement cost will help you decide whether to repair or replace your dishwasher. If a major repair will cost nearly as much as the total cost of replacing your dishwasher, it’s probably not worth repairing and you’ll likely be better off buying a new dishwasher.

Consider all relevant factors—repair cost, age, usage and replacement cost—when making your dishwasher repair/replace decision. Unless your dishwasher is on its very last leg, you’ll often find that it’s more economical to repair it rather than replacing it.

H2: Sears Home Services Offers Expert Dishwasher Repair Services

If you’ve decided dishwasher repair is the way to go, schedule an appointment with a Sears Home Services technician. Our appliance repair experts have been serving homeowners for generations, and that’s experience you can trust.

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