A Tale of Two Repairs

In the last six months I have had the pleasure with my washing machine and dishwasher both having issues. I’m a person who enjoys tinkering and problem solving which meant I met this challenge with both excitement and dread. My wife on the other hand was not necessarily as thrilled with the prospect of a machine needing repair or replacement and the associated costs.

The excitement for me was in learning something new and troubleshooting an issue. The dread was the cost of the repair versus buying new debate that waged. Where did I turn in a time such as this to solve the problem? It was a combination of YouTube, a local appliance repair store, and my father.

The first step in solving any issue is determining the issue and the symptoms. In the situation of the washing machine the machine would fill with water, go through the cycle, and drain. It would not how other spin or agitate which left the clothes soaking wet. This provided enough information that I could begin a search on the Internet for resolution of the issue. I had a guess as to the issue based upon listening to the machine but I needed evidence and validation in order to confirm the issue.

One possible issue could have been a bad switch and clogged line. This switch and line tell the system when it is time to turn off the water and move to the next stage. Through testing we confirmed this not to be the issue. The next possible issue could have been that the motor needed reset after a power surge. This involved turning the power off, back on, and lifting the lid rapidly five times in thirty seconds. This did not resolve the issue.

In talking with my father we both thought that the issue was the motor had gone bad (washing machine is 12 years old). In talking with the local appliance store they thought the same thing but they wanted me to check one more uncommon item. This is where having a local and honest store is an attribute to a town. The motor cost $300 and a new belt was another $30. They could have sold me a new motor and belt right then and there but there was a chance it wouldn’t have solved the issue.

My washing machine includes a wire that has a built in fuse which could have gone bad. They recommended cutting the fuse out and splicing the wire back together and see if it worked. We went home and tried this but it didn’t work. This meant that the next step in the troubleshooting process was a replacement of the motor.

The instructions provided for both the removal and installation of the motor were slim. I was able to locate a YouTube video the detailed this process with ease (it is always easier in the video). My father in law came over and helped put the belt on and the washer was repaired.

I tell this story in order to demonstrate how technology and human interaction must coexist in the world today. In the few hours I spent searching online trying to resolve the issue no resource had mentioned the fuse. The fuse could have saved me $350 and a few hours of work. It was through an experienced person in the field which mentioned the fuse as a courtesy when he could have sold me parts for $350 on my first visit. Life and the skills we learn are a series of experiences which all add value. We must learn to embrace technology but not quickly cast away the local store or the person with multiple years of experience.

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