Our 7 years old GE Profile front load washer finally died on Saturday night. Everything was working fine until the last two loads when it starts to make loud knocking noise during the spin cycle. At first I thought it was a load balance issue but the noise persists. The official death was marked by the shredded plastic pieces it spewed out on the final spin. When we removed the wet clothes from the machine, it was clear that the stainless steel drum had broken off its axis and is just sitting inside the plastic outer tub.
My family and I talked about the broken washer to see if we want to repair it or buy a new one. Since none of us are that handy and we also had a prior bad experience with appliance repair, we decided to buy a new washer. At first, we were tempted to drive to Sears and just pick out a new washer; however, my desire to do some online research won out and we didn’t go.
I tried Google search for “best washers and dryers” but didn’t get any good result. In the end, I decided to spend $5.95 on a monthly subscription to ConsumerReports.org. The site reported the LG WM0642HW as “Recommended” and Frigidaire Gallery GLTF2940FS as “Best Buy”. I tried Google Product Search to find the best price, but Sears was the only recognizable name (I had a problem with fraudulent online merchant before so I was wary about buying from an unknown merchant). Fortunately, ConsumerReports.org also have a “Compare Prices” feature, which recommends a couple of online merchants.
After reading several reviews on the merchants, I finally settled on Rainbow Appliance. Next, I headed to Ebates to see if Rainbow Appliance is part of the network — jackpot…3% discount via Ebates. My next stop was RetailMeNot.com — double jackpot with a $25 off coupon code. In the end, I bought the LG WM0642H[W] for $874 (free shipping). The purchase was made on my cash back reward card, which is good for another 1% cash back.
Update: This article was written in 2008. If I have to do this again today, I’d just check Amazon.com first to get a general idea of what’s available, get a baseline price, and see the reviews. After I identify the specific model, then I’ll price shop and check out Ebates and search for coupon codes.
I did some more research and found this interesting blog article with YouTube video about why Kenmore Front Load Washers Fail. It appears that my GE was made by Frigidaire, which is also sold under the Kenmore brand. Here’s the video:
It seems that there are three, possibly intentional, design flaws.
All in all, this repair could cost over $600 in parts, plus time and/or labor for the repairman. I think I made the right choice to simply buy a new machine. The parts I needed to repair the old machine would cost more than half what I spent originally, and it could cost more than a new machine! On top of that, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be successful at repairing the darn thing.
Have you ever run into a similar situation before? What did you decide to do and were you satisfied with the outcome?