HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Made by Monkeys

The Maytag Repairman Is Plenty Busy Now

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Maytag Repairman
apresher   1/25/2013 10:52:43 AM
NO RATINGS
It seems that designing to specific price points is generally resulting in more repair and maintenance issues with appliances.  But maybe that is only my specific experience.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Maytag Repairman
Charles Murray   1/25/2013 2:55:20 PM
NO RATINGS
Many years ago, there was truth behind the old "lonely repairman" commercials. Maytag products really were reliable. One year, Design News even gave Maytag its annual quality award, and the engineering team actually showed up with the "repairman" from the commercials. Over the years, though, it seems like that has changed. I hear a lot of complaints these days about Maytag products.

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Greg M. Jung   1/25/2013 11:21:51 PM
NO RATINGS
Does anyone know the details of why there was a suspected cultural shift away from quality at Maytag?  (change of ownership or managment? profitability issues?).  Many times a company with an older, respected brand will fall on hard times and the new owners or shareholders do not value the inherent quality policy that previously made their brand a house-hold name.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Tim   1/26/2013 7:35:26 PM
NO RATINGS
Another concept that the commercials showed was a manufacturer driven service department. When Sears only sold Kenmore appliances, Sears sold a lot of product based on servicing what they sold. You could rely on a Sears service tech showing up if you needed service. Now you seem to get random tech from companies that you haven't heard of.

DB_Wilson
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag Repairman
DB_Wilson   1/28/2013 9:55:52 AM
I worked on the old Maytag units when I was in high school.  I suspect that the profitability pressures got the designers to go to less expensive construction.  I expect the dryer construction of the bearing in back that supported the drum and it's contents was more expensive than having the front of the drum supported on the felt pads.  Labor and damage in production for the old heating element was likely greater than for the current heating element design.

The old Maytag  washers were service friendly.  Most problems that resulted in a tub full of water could be repaired from the front of the washer.  Had a belt break?  One could replace belts with a #2 phillips screwdriver, a 4x4 block of wool and a pry bar.  The screwsdriver was to remove two screws to open the front of the washer and the block and bar was to liftthe front a couple of inches to be able to reach under the machine to install new belts.  The motor and water pump were accessed in the same manner.  I repaired a water pump that had ingested a sock by removeing the front, removing the pump belt, clampingthe tub to pump hose to stop water from draining, removing hose from the pump, and pulling the sock out of the pump with needle nose pliers.  When reassembled, the machine worked fine for several more years.  I doubt any current machine is so service friendly. 

Ken E.
User Rank
Gold
I too am my own Maytag Repairman.
Ken E.   1/28/2013 10:36:19 AM
NO RATINGS
I got a Maytag washer dryer as part of my wifes 'dowry', over thirty years ago.  I continue to make occasional minor repairs (belts, ignitors, lint filters, etc.) but absolutely major-trouble free.  You guys are making me think I should never consider replacing them.

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
bob from maine   1/28/2013 10:42:56 AM
NO RATINGS
Who is at fault, really? When you shop for a washer or dryer are you looking for an "old clunky" machine with no sound insulation? You'll probably choose the brand new gee-whiz one touch membrane keypad, guaranteed wrinkle-free shirt drying, energy reduced, with many db of sound insulation. If you look closely, you will likely find that the innards are very similar, after all there are only 2 or 3 dryer manufacturers and everyone buys and rebrands from those sources and those manufacturers offer four or five sets of options which you can mix and match to meet your specific price goals. None of those options include a 25 year life expectancy with guaranteed parts availability. The commercial dryers you see in the laundromats are designed to run more or less continuously for their ten year life expectancy with minimal maintenance but they cost 3 or 4 thousand dollars each. When I was in the market for a new dryer I asked my local repairman which brand he recommended. His answer: Rebuild your 42 year old dryer, new timer, new bearings, new belt and idler pulley, put bearings in the motor and it'll last another 25 years. Sage advice I'd say.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Tool_maker   2/18/2013 1:34:08 PM
NO RATINGS
bob: You are saying what I have been saying for years, we as consumers have repeatedly demonstrated that we want all the bells and whistles and the bottom line better not increase. Why then are we surprised when we get fancy cheap junk?

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Nancy Golden   1/28/2013 10:44:47 AM
NO RATINGS
Unfortunately I think the concept of "service friendly" is sitting on the same dusty shelf as "quality," and not just at Maytag. Lower cost imports have forced many companies to abandon what were core mission statements that they were founded on, in order to survive the competition where consumers are more interested in lower prices than in quality and repair accessibility. 

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
tekochip   1/25/2013 3:54:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Up until `98 I had a 1967 Maytag dryer.  I got it in `79, I could still get parts for it, and the only thing it ever needed was a belt and an occasional bearing.  When I moved the house buyer demanded that the dryer stay with the house and that was the end of my Maytag.  The replacement dryer needs to be repaired every couple of years to replace the skid pads that he drum rides on because it doesn't use rollers.  It's an easy fix, but the Maytag certainly didn't have parts that were DESIGNED to wear out.


J. Williams
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
J. Williams   2/25/2013 5:45:40 PM
NO RATINGS
Yeah, me too.  My wife and I bought a Maytag washer and dryer set in 1989 for about $1,300.  (About one month's pay back then for me) We raised four children with these units.  Just this past year the washer finally broke when the upper bearing in the transmission unit dried out and seized.  I bought a new transmission and replaced the belts, but after doing a post-mortem on the 'dead' tranny, I could have just disassembled it, cleaned and lubricated the sleeve bearing and put it back into service.  I saved the old tranny just in case.

The dryer needed some rollers/bearings for the rear rollers and new glide bearings on the front of the drum a couple of years ago.  And just last year, I needed to replace the element in the heater unit.  That's it. 

For 22 years, we just (ab)used these things.  Unfortunately, now that Whirlpool owns the Maytag brand, they sullied the storied history of Maytag.  I will keep these gems going as long as I can get the few repair parts that I need.

When we moved into our current house about sixteen years ago, we replaced the icky dishwasher with a brand new fancy Maytag (Whirlpool plastic piece of crap) dishwasher to the tune of $800.  Within the year, I needed a new main control board.  A year later, the membrane touch panel switch board went Tango Uniform.  The plastic latch handle of the door broke.  It was prone to 'locking up' or 'freezing' and the only way to reset it was to go into the basement and flip the breaker.  The particulate filter on the pump housing failed so the dishes came out with chunks all over the place.  The adjustable racks require these water risers with little rubber flaps to 'shut off' the unused ports.  They don't seal or close sometimes so the sprayers get precious little water pressure.  Oh how I wish I had my old KitchenAid with the real enameled steel tub and old reliable clock timer switch assembly.   I should have taken it when we left our last house.  :-(

kid-jensen
User Rank
Silver
Re: Maytag Repairman
kid-jensen   2/27/2013 10:17:43 AM
NO RATINGS
Rolls Royce is synonimous the world over for high quality, long life and (justifyable) high price. It is first and foremost an Engineering company. Unfortunately, it followed many engineering-lead companies into bankruptcy. Just like Maytag. The fact that the Volksvagen group were so keen to buy them means there is still a place in worldwide manufacturing industry for good design and engineering, but the cost/performance balance has to be right. My boss told me on my first day of work that an Engineer is someone that can do for 50p what any fool can do for a pound. This is not cos-cutting, it's fundemantal to being a good engineer.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
William K.   3/11/2013 3:47:04 PM
NO RATINGS
I did have an old "Kitchen Aide" dishwasher that I purchased used for $100, and after only thirty years the timer drive motor failed and the replacement motor was not available except with the timer, for $50. So I replaced it with a more modern one, a "Whirlpool", and after one recall repair so far the only problem is that that cheap membrane switch panel is starting to peel off. But I did have to work on a similar unit for somebody else, and on that one the membrane switch failed and the processor failed. and with the price of that cheap membrane switch around a hundred dollars, and no assurance that the processor at $175 was not also bad, we wound up replacing the whole thing. The big advantage of the electronic controls is that they are cheaper to build than a mechanical timer, and that there does not need to be a repair team to service them because they can't be repaired because repair parts are not available.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Nancy Golden   1/25/2013 7:29:28 PM
NO RATINGS
Maytag is following the trend of "throw-away electronics." No one expects anything to last past 5 years anymore...I miss those old commercials but even more, I miss the concept of quality that was behind them.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Larry M   1/28/2013 9:31:23 AM
NO RATINGS
The only way you will get my 1984 Whirlpool washer and dryer from me is to rip them from my cold, dead hands.

I may have written a Sherlock Ohms post about repairing the washer for 37 cents. Great story!

 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Maytag Repairman
Charles Murray   1/28/2013 5:24:14 PM
NO RATINGS
I believe you, LarryM. Your 1984 Maytag appliances were purchased in Maytag's heyday. It's interesting to note that when I recently spoke to a gentleman who repairs appliances, he said that washers are expected to last no more than 10-12 years these days. 

Marvin McConoughey
User Rank
Iron
Re: Maytag Repairman
Marvin McConoughey   1/29/2013 11:49:28 PM
NO RATINGS
I completely endorse Mr. Murray's comments.  We built our house in the 80's and bought our Maytag washer and Maytag dryer about 1985, +/- a year. We still have the same units. They have served very well, required little maintenance, and perform well today.  That was the old Maytag company, which took pride in their products' durability.  Today's Whirlpool management is incompetent/incapable/unmotivated (take your pick) to turn out long-life, reliable, Maytag washers and dryers.  With more than a quarter century to research, develop, and manufacture even more reliable and longer lived products than we have enjoyed, they have instead resolutely gone backward.  But not because the top leaders are now lower paid than long ago.  Far from it.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Larry M   2/18/2013 4:57:17 PM
NO RATINGS
Charles Murray wrote " believe you, LarryM. Your 1984 Maytag appliances..."

Charles, these were actually Whirlpool units, not Maytags, but Whirlpool also had a deservedly good reputation in those days. Their customer service line was called the "Cool Line" (not hotline), and they would advise you on owner repairs. They actually put an engineer on the line to talk my late wife through a dryer belt replacement because she didn't want to wait until I got home.

Whirlpool's policy was to send you the complete washer and dryer service manuals at no charge upon request prior to the 80s. They ceased doing that around the time we got this set, but the washer contained a booklet hidden in the control panel which included a block diagram of the electronic controller and a wiring diagram, as well as the timing chart pasted to the back of the machine. These pieces, taken together, were enough to solve a pretty arcane problem for 37 cents.

Sadly Whirlpool no longer has the Cool Line and no longer provides service manuals--I don't even think you can get them if you are willing to pay. The call center people are actually pretty nasty.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Maytag Repairman
Charles Murray   2/20/2013 9:23:05 PM
NO RATINGS
Whenever I hear about nasty call center people, I'm amazed. I've got to believe that poor call center manners will eventually come back to bite the company, although it may take several years. I, for one, would be willing to pay extra for a product if I knew that the people on the help line were actually there to help.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Maytag Repairman
Ann R. Thryft   2/25/2013 1:43:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Chuck, I'm also amazed about the bad manners--and for that matter, very poor job skills--of call center staff. But I sure as heck will not pay more for good ones. To me, that implies that lousy service is OK and the norm. I wish there was a way to send financial pain back up the line to the company allowing these people to talk to me. Something similar to not tipping a waiter, for instance.

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Battar   1/28/2013 9:28:16 AM
NO RATINGS
Designing  to a price point is sometimes the only way to stay in a very competitive market.

I wonder how many applicances Maytag would sell if they designed for reliability, and the product came with the relevant pricetag.  (you are up against imports from Korea with 5% profit margins)

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
GTOlover   1/28/2013 9:54:53 AM
NO RATINGS
Having worked as a plastic supplier to the appliance industry, I can tell you that from about 1985 to 1995 that most of the appliances were moving rapidly to incorporate plastic into just about everything, including the main pumps, transmissions, and enclosures. The quality was still OK as these parts were manufactured in the USA. However, in the 90's and beyond we started to move the manufacturing to Mexico and Asia. Then I had to deal with many root cause analysis for field failures.It was a combination of manufacturing expertise (lack of knowledge) and continued path of designing for least cost.

As many point out, look for the older models and learn to fix these appliances on your own. I had to repair my Wirlpool washer recently, it cost me about $75 for a new control board. When my wife and I initially purchased this model she wanted the fancy touchscreen and bubble buttons. This is why the control board is expensive. Shortly after this, the motor starting making noise. Pricing a new motor at over $250 prompted me to simply buy a new unit. It pained me, but the economics eventually force you to succumb to the new product. This time I opted for a basic unit with knobs and real buttons. I still wonder if I should have pulled the motor and had it rebuilt for about half the cost of new?

Tom-R
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag Repairman
Tom-R   1/28/2013 3:29:09 PM
NO RATINGS
I think most appliances are becoming disposable items now. The cost of any repair, if it requires outside labor, is usually more than a new unit. Yes, it may be a 39 cent part, and a Sherlock doing it themselves can reap those savings. But the majority of customers need to go the repairman route. Repairmen in turn have had to adopt plug and play repair methods that replace entire components, in an effort to cost effective. I have noticed more and more people replacing items simply because they want a newer version. Not because it failed. So if customers are looking for short lifespans on style or features, and prefer costs lower than repairs, this trend only makes sense.

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
bobjengr   1/28/2013 5:31:47 PM
NO RATINGS
Tom-R, I agree completely with you on this one.  I retired from a Fortune 500 appliance company in 2005 and can tell you with no hesitation: "they don't make 'em like they use to".  I was personally told that 'excellents is very expensive--good enough is good enough'.  (Hate to put it this way but that's a direct quote.)  I saw over my 20 years with this company a degradation in quality as a result of two things; 1.) a demand for significant cost reductions and 2.) using components from LCCs (low cost countries).  When my youngest son was born, we bought a washer/dryer set.  When he graduated from college at the age of 25, I decided to replace both.  Error on my part.  In the past five years, I have had problems with the new models (now Whirlpool).  The days of obtaining long-lasting performance are definitely over.  It's a throw-away society, even for "white goods".

 

Tom-R
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag Repairman
Tom-R   1/28/2013 6:53:51 PM
NO RATINGS
I bought my last furnace, but I now see companies renting them as fully serviced units. If it fails they fix it, or replace it. The price seemed steep, but probably matches an extended warranty and personal loan. Maybe leasing appliances, like cars, will be the next market? I would work for those consumers wanting something new every few years, and probably those who want a lifetime warrant as well. It just isn't what we grew up with, but as I type this on a smart phone I just realized it will only last a few years before it is obsolete, and ready to be replaced. It's like an appliance that I'm leasing!

ab3a
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
ab3a   2/27/2013 1:07:58 PM
NO RATINGS
Tom-R, the downside to owning a cheap furnace is that if you are away from your house on travel for a few days and it fails while you are gone, you could have one unholy mess when you return.

Some things should not be bought cheaply.

 

Jake Brodsky

 

Tom-R
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag Repairman
Tom-R   2/27/2013 2:02:59 PM
NO RATINGS
Interesting point. I have a top end high efficiency variable speed furnace. I could now lease it, fully serviced. Two years ago I could only buy it, but I can get an extended warranty for another chunk of change. With the new one I have more concerns the expensive electronic controls will eventually go than I ever did with the old simple two speed unit. So, is it cheap? No, it was expensive. Is it reliable? We will see, but I hope it is. Or I'll wish I'd leased it. That is my point. At least this unit doesn't put the electronics directly below the condensate lines.

Marvin McConoughey
User Rank
Iron
Re: Maytag Repairman
Marvin McConoughey   1/30/2013 4:57:56 AM
NO RATINGS
I don't agree.  Rolls Royce has outlived Studebaker, Packard, and a hundred other brands by emphasizing quality.  At the other end of the price scale, Victorinex and its allied Wenger brand stay in business while building very high quality knives at modest prices.  It can be done, where leaders and managers respect their customers.

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
Battar   1/30/2013 5:16:19 AM
NO RATINGS
Marvin.

             Can you afford a Rolls Royce? Thought not. I wouldn't rate Victorinoxs price points "modest" either.

Marvin McConoughey
User Rank
Iron
Re: Maytag Repairman
Marvin McConoughey   1/30/2013 10:29:43 AM
NO RATINGS
Fourteen dollars for my Wenger with one-knife, a nail cleaner.  It is their basic knife.  No frills unless one counts a pull-out tweezer and toothpick as frills.  It is reliable, affordable, and well made.  As washers and dryers should be.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Repairman
OLD_CURMUDGEON   1/31/2013 8:59:07 AM
NO RATINGS
 

#1)  Isn't ROLLS ROYCE now part of the VOLSWAGEN family of companies?  So, I would NOT think that using a $100K to $150K priced vehicle IS necessarily a good analogy.

#2)  I have owned several VICTORINOX pocket knives in my life, and I would agree w/ the other blogger.  I don't think their price point is necessarily optimum.  In fact, purchasing one with only a few basic functions is somewhat pricey.

#3)  Is SPEED QUEEN still in business?  IF SO, why does one NEVER hear of them, OR see any advertising for their products? 

#4)  In the 1950s / 1960s/ 1970s /1980s, we had a HAMILTON gas dryer. It ran & ran & ran, and NEVER got a "checkup" or saw the repairman in all those years, until one day part of the gas ignitor system failed.  Unfortunately, HAMILTON had ceased operations, and this particular part was NOT available as a generic replacement.  We bit the bullet & purchased a replacement, BUT not without much wailing & gnashing of teeth, as the it was carted out of the basement.  I'd be willing to bet that the carcass served as a source of parts for other malfunctioning HAMILTON drtyers until it was picked to its bones.

 

jcbond_mi
User Rank
Gold
Maytag Appliances
jcbond_mi   1/28/2013 11:11:17 AM
NO RATINGS
While I was in college (1991-1995), I worked in appliances sales part time for a year.  We carried Whirlpool and Maytag, who were fierce rivals at the time.  Maytage was known for heavy duty construction - and a higher price tag.  What was interesting was that I had a talk with a Whirlpool rep about this.  She acknowledged the heavy duty construction, then said check the results of long-term testing in Consumer Reports.  And she was right - fewer problems over time with the Whirlpool products.  But both were good products.

Maytag went through financial difficulties and was eventually bought by Whirlpool, if I recall correctly.  And they don't appear to manufacture their own products anymore.  I'd guess Whirlpool would still be a good brand to buy, and they still manufacture in the US - although they probably outsource low-end products.

One company I find particularly disappointing is GE.  We moved into a home with all GE stainless steel appliances.  They've all had bizarre failures after moderate usage (IMO).  A freezer that just stops freezing every so often which leads to an impressive waterfall from the auto ice-maker.  A range top microwave that no longer works.  A dishwasher that washes much more poorly than our old one...

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag Appliances
GTOlover   1/28/2013 1:27:10 PM
NO RATINGS
Again, being a supplier to Whirlpool, some of the parts are made in Mexico and Asia and then assembled in the US. Careful how you believe "American" made. I should clarify that all the engineering support and manufacturing support continues to come from the US. So in that regard, we try to make sure that the parts made are of the highest quality as designed.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
Ann R. Thryft   1/28/2013 4:23:24 PM
NO RATINGS
I never buy the extended warranties--they're always a waste of money. Looks like Maytag is making them necessary again.



rickgtoc
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
rickgtoc   1/28/2013 5:18:03 PM
NO RATINGS
In general, I agree with you, but on big ticket appliances, I've been better off with the extended warranty.  Bought an LG Front Loader washer and matching dryer in early '04.  Expected good service from the pair, but with $1600+ sunk in the purchase, the mfr warranty seemed short.  We bought the 4 year service agreement. When the initial service agreement expired 4 years later, I re-upped.  We had enough problems in the first 4 years that we clearly saved money via the extended warranty  And we made money off the second term of the agreement.  I was disappointed that we couldn't renew it for a third term.  For most of this time, the washer & dryer have served a 2-person household, not a family with 4 kids.  One of the repair techs even complimented us for not using too much detergent and for not abusing the door seals.  Still, we've replaced main drive motors, a dryer drum, circuit boards, and solenoid valves, among other parts in both machines.  My superstitious side will slap me for writing this, but we're now a year past the last term of extended warranty and haven't had a problem.  I'm actually very surprised.  I do know that at the next significant problem we will probably be looking at replacement rather than repair.  

My first washer lasted 20 years without repair -- and then the tub bolt holes corroded out, and we commended its spirit to the recycle yard.  The dryer purchased at the same time was still running when we gave it away at almost 25 years of age, having had one belt replacement as the only repair that I can recall.

The new models seem to be throwaways.  It's just a bit expensive to toss $1000 at a new washer every couple of years.  I'll at least consider the extended warranty on any new washer we buy.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
Ann R. Thryft   1/31/2013 12:06:09 PM
NO RATINGS
rick, I've had the opposite kind of luck with extended warranties. Bought way too many of 'em I never needed, even on big-ticket items like washing machines. Sounds like you've had the kind of luck that makes them a necessity.

rickgtoc
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
rickgtoc   1/31/2013 1:05:29 PM
NO RATINGS
I have a nominal "rule" for those things now.  I made a mistake in buying a 4 yr extended warrranty on my first (and still only) plasma flat screen.  About $2800 a the time, I worried that I would have an early failure and be faced with a buy/repair decision.  What I neglected to consider is how fast prices would plummet on flat screens over the next 18 months.  And the plasma is now 6 years old and running without incident.

My rule now is pretty soft, but it generally goes like this:  If the device is likely to be superceded by newer cheaper models in the next few years, and/or the cost is $500 or less, and I wouldn't be terribly inconvenienced by a failure (or I might be able to fix it myself) -- NO EXTENDED WARRANTY.  So flat screen TV's, smart phones, laptop PC's under $600, home audio and appliances like vacuums don't rate an extended warranty.

A high end laptop PC ($1200+) on the other hand, would probably rate the warranty, but for no more than 3 years, and perhaps only 2.

I'll still probably buy one on the next washer we buy, because I don't expect its design to be obsolete in 5 years, and I don't expect replacement cost to decline by much over time.

Now cars are another matter.  I almost bought the maint. agreement for my last new vehicle, and then decided to cancel a couple of days later.  After all, one of my reasons for choosing that particular vehicle was low maintenance costs and high reliability.  And it hasn't disappointed me.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
Ann R. Thryft   1/31/2013 1:50:04 PM
NO RATINGS
rick, my rule is very similar, with the same cutoff amount (although that's a moving target). I learned the hard way, thankfully on small inexpensive consumer electronics. I also don't buy extended warranties on any white goods, even ones that cost more than $500. Good point about computers--they're a different animal.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
Charles Murray   1/31/2013 7:20:14 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree with your "soft rule" on all counts, rickgtoc. A lot of stores make their money on selling warranties for products that will be superceded by better, cheaper models in a few years. They know that in 3-4 years, most people won't want to repair the old product. I also agree about warranties on cars. Today's vehicles are much better than those of 30 years ago. I'll take my chances with them.

rickgtoc
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
rickgtoc   1/31/2013 1:05:29 PM
NO RATINGS
I have a nominal "rule" for those things now.  I made a mistake in buying a 4 yr extended warrranty on my first (and still only) plasma flat screen.  About $2800 a the time, I worried that I would have an early failure and be faced with a buy/repair decision.  What I neglected to consider is how fast prices would plummet on flat screens over the next 18 months.  And the plasma is now 6 years old and running without incident.

My rule now is pretty soft, but it generally goes like this:  If the device is likely to be superceded by newer cheaper models in the next few years, and/or the cost is $500 or less, and I wouldn't be terribly inconvenienced by a failure (or I might be able to fix it myself) -- NO EXTENDED WARRANTY.  So flat screen TV's, smart phones, laptop PC's under $600, home audio and appliances like vacuums don't rate an extended warranty.

A high end laptop PC ($1200+) on the other hand, would probably rate the warranty, but for no more than 3 years, and perhaps only 2.

I'll still probably buy one on the next washer we buy, because I don't expect its design to be obsolete in 5 years, and I don't expect replacement cost to decline by much over time.

Now cars are another matter.  I almost bought the maint. agreement for my last new vehicle, and then decided to cancel a couple of days later.  After all, one of my reasons for choosing that particular vehicle was low maintenance costs and high reliability.  And it hasn't disappointed me.

notarboca
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
notarboca   2/16/2013 11:01:13 AM
NO RATINGS
rickgtoc, I agree with you on extended warranties; my criteria is very much like yours.  On one occasion, however, I bought the extended warranty on 2 used vehicles I purchased in 2000.  I was glad I did-my wife's SUV battery gave out, the A/C went out, and finally the transmission.  My vehicle did the same, usually within 2 weeks of her failures.  Best investment I had made in a while on those warranties.  This is not a knock against Dodge (Ram 1500 and Durango), but I knew these vehicles had been rentals until I bought them at 18K miles. . .rode hard and put up wet, I suppose.  My truckis still running A-OK (fingers crossed).

notarboca
User Rank
Gold
Re: Maytag's bringing back the extended warranty
notarboca   2/16/2013 12:02:12 PM
NO RATINGS
rickgtoc, I agree with you on extended warranties; my criteria is very much like yours.  On one occasion, however, I bought the extended warranty on 2 used vehicles I purchased in 2000.  I was glad I did-my wife's SUV battery gave out, the A/C went out, and finally the transmission.  My vehicle did the same, usually within 2 weeks of her failures.  Best investment I had made in a while on those warranties.  This is not a knock against Dodge (Ram 1500 and Durango), but I knew these vehicles had been rentals until I bought them at 18K miles. . .rode hard and put up wet, I suppose.  My truck is still running A-OK (fingers crossed).

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Extended Warranties
apresher   1/28/2013 4:58:48 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, I generally don't buy extended warranties but hit the jackpot with a laptop a few years ago ($1300 gift card when they couldn't fix my Toshiba laptop due to parts obsolesence after three years of owning it) and $1,000 toward a new Sears treadmill for same reason (also more than five years old) for same reason.  But I think it was just luck because generally I don't go for them either.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Extended Warranties
Ann R. Thryft   2/1/2013 2:46:51 PM
NO RATINGS
Al, you did luck out. The only thing similar I've experienced is when Microsoft gave me a free replacement of the entire MS office package, back when it was even more hideously expensive (in relative dollars) than it is now, in recompense for a tech support screwup. Those were the days...

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Extended Warranties
Charles Murray   2/5/2013 5:47:02 PM
NO RATINGS
Getting full recompense on something as big as Office is impressive, Ann. With big products, you usually have to dig your heels in and be ready for a battle.  

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Extended Warranties
Ann R. Thryft   2/6/2013 2:51:02 PM
NO RATINGS
Chuck, I was completely amazed. It was retailing for somewhere between $400-600 at the time, which would be equivalent to probably twice that now in inflated dollars. This was during a short period when MS was actually trying to improve their notoriously bad telephone customer service. I think it was in the mid to late 90s, but don't quote me on that.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Extended Warranties
Charles Murray   2/7/2013 8:08:48 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm just curious, Ann: How long did you own the product before this all occurred?

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Extended Warranties
Ann R. Thryft   2/8/2013 11:46:48 AM
NO RATINGS
Chuck, not sure I remember after all this time. It was probably a few years, maybe 5 or so.



Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Extended Warranties
Cadman-LT   2/12/2013 10:03:16 AM
NO RATINGS
It's just the quality of workmanship has gone out the window. The cheaper the better.

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Extended Warranties
Cadman-LT   2/12/2013 10:04:54 AM
NO RATINGS
Oh yeah, and the more repairs you need the better...and the faster it breaks down the sooner you'll buy a new one...dumb logic imo. 

Digerati Ohm
User Rank
Silver
USA Quality
Digerati Ohm   2/12/2013 3:37:15 PM
Quality Whirlpool products used to be made in Evansville Indiana.  They pulled out of there so they could be produced "south of the border" for lower labor rates.  After they announced they would close the Evansville plant, but before they moved, there was all the drug lord problems "down there" so they decided instead to move to another location in the states.  I'm glad they stayed in the US, but think of all the experienced engineers and labors they kicked out the door.  Whirlpool's "quality" has been anything but since their plant closing and relocations.  I purchased a microwave from them (made in Mexico) and the transformer burned up within a year.  I, like some of the others in this posting, luckily found a replacement part on the web for much less than "factory service" was charging.  I guess what I'm saying is this...  I see on ABC news their little jabs about how we should be buying American products to support America.  I propose that if American products were worth a damn, we'd be buying them, but I refuse to buy a car that will last 100000 miles when I can buy a foreign car that will last 300000 miles.  Wake up America!

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Maytag
warren@fourward.com   1/28/2013 7:50:47 PM
NO RATINGS
I think I'll just buy my wife an old fashioned washboard. I wonder if I can get an extended warranty? (Don't tell my wife about this. I am thinking Valentines day present!)

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
The SAD part ......
OLD_CURMUDGEON   1/29/2013 1:11:19 PM
NO RATINGS
The saddest part of reading this, as well as other previous blogs devoted to modern home appliance woes, is  that EVEN IF the upper management of WHIRLPOOL, etal. read these on a daily/weekly/as-published basis, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING would be done to change the status quo.  I believe that many bloggers have hit the "nail on the head" in their analysis of the quality problems we all face when purchasing these items.  The competition IS fierce!  The drive for POSITIVE investor returns is immense, and we've become a "gadget" society in that whatever was "really cool" on Monday is passe by Friday.  Look at the iPhone for example ...... It was first introduced less than 10 years ago, but now we're on the 5th iteration.  Or, look at digital SLR cameras.  CANON, NIKON, & now SONY are trotting new models out w/ breathtaking speed!  Do we really need to advance capability at the breakneck speed that it is being forced down our throats.

In conclusion, it is VERY ironic to read about NASA engineers' latest investigations into "advanced" rocketry for the new effort at space travel.  It seems that they are re-looking at the rocket technology from the APOLLO era.  So, we are going BACK 50 years in advanced propulsion.  I, for one, find that very interesting, IF NOT humorous!!!!

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: The SAD part ......
Charles Murray   1/30/2013 6:37:32 PM
NO RATINGS
Ah, yes, the wonders of planned obsolescence...

CLMcDade
User Rank
Gold
Maytag repairman
CLMcDade   1/30/2013 2:37:04 PM
NO RATINGS
The first house i bought had a Maytag stacked washer/dryer unit.  the dryer leaked gas out of one of its components.  Had the component replaced 3 times and finally just got in the habit of turning the gas off and on when using the dryer.  The leak was slow enough not to be a hazard when doing this, but over time one could smell it.

I just remodeled a new house and asked a friend who "collects" washers what he would buy if he was going to buy new. (yes there are people who collect washers.  they have websites and even post videos of the wash cycles on Youtube.  Don't ask me.)  He pointed me to Speed Queen.  You may recognize the name from the quarter operated ones in dorms and apartments.

Made in the USA, heavy duty components and steel, and minimal electronics to go bad.  And they come in white, white and I think, white.  I asked the owner of the appliance store where i bought the washer and dryer if i should get the extended warranty.  he laughed and said i bought the only brand in his store that he recommended against buying the extended warranty as it was unneeded.

But buy before 2014 when the government's green requirements will force them to change the mechanical systems.  They are working on designing reliable replacements that will operate as well, but why take a chance? 

My girlfriend wasn't happy with the white exterior versus the sexy red sparkly finish on the Samsungs, but I told her to go look at the cars to see nice paint jobs.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Maytag repairman
Ann R. Thryft   2/5/2013 11:57:05 AM
NO RATINGS
Clinton, thanks for the info on SpeedQueen. My GE washer and dryer are still working fine, although we've had to do some minor repairs here and there. But they're both 12 years old and I know someday maybe soon I'll need to replace them. Red sparkly appliances? Wow. That sounds over the top. I'm not fond of white appliances either (my fridge is a black Kenmore), but since the white GE W&D are out in the utility room, at least I don't have to look at them often.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maytag repairman
Tool_maker   2/18/2013 2:15:46 PM
NO RATINGS
All appliances should be white. When I first got married, 1967, we bought coppertone kitchen appliances and an avacado washer. By the time we could afford a dryer, avacado was no longer in style so we got harvest gold. When the refrigerator died after 20 or so years we could still buy wierd colors, but none to match anything we had. Guess what, white is still available. Hooray for Speed Queen.

Oh yeah machine shop equipment should be gray, wood burning stoves black, and Kennedy tool boxes brown crinkle paint. There are other standards that should not be fooled with, but that will do for a start.

jwa
User Rank
Silver
Gripe session?
jwa   2/12/2013 3:43:20 PM
NO RATINGS
When did this column devolve to nothing more than a gripe session?  No analysis of a problem, no engineering insight, just a rant about dishwashers.  This is supposed to be an engineering-focused forum, not just one more place to whine online.

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Gripe session?
warren@fourward.com   2/12/2013 4:56:15 PM
I hear you griping...

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Gripe session?
bob from maine   2/22/2013 11:10:27 AM
NO RATINGS
Tried ignoring the "gripe" heading as long as I could. Virtually every poorly designed, under-engineered, latently defective component described in these hallowed pages was likely designed by an engineer. I submit that these discussions describe in one sense the essence of engineering. Make the best part to meet the design goals at a reasonable price. It appears we are the victims of our success. Plastic gears at a tenth the cost with a design lifetime of 80% of brass seems to make sense. Plastic window regulators work fine if the windows never freeze. These blogs do a pretty good job of showing how difficult it is to make that balance between the optimum part and the affordable price.

warren@fourward.com
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Gripe session?
warren@fourward.com   2/22/2013 12:30:52 PM
NO RATINGS
The toughest position an engineer has to take is when marketing says they want you to cut corners to just get the price down, and your name is on the product. You don't want to make garbage but it is out of your hands. So, the product works for a while, then it breaks. Then the readers of Design News comment on the lousy engineering, and that makes you cringe. It isn't always the fault of the engineer.

Keldawwg
User Rank
Gold
I think it's because engineers have a front seat to the show where the US gets flushed...
Keldawwg   2/12/2013 5:18:32 PM
Volkswagen Group sells passenger cars under the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat, Skoda and of course, Volkswagen nameplates... That's not too bad... The fact that Tata owns Jaguar and Land Rover is somewhat more disturbing...

Everything is becoming a throw away product... Has anyone here taken an iPod Touch apart? My kid broke the touchscreen twice... It's really not intended to be taken apart and put back together... And they are starting to make cars the same way... Automatic transmissions are now commonly sealed units that you can't check the fluid level or add fluid to it without special equipment... And very quickly many new cars can really only be diagnosed by the dealership... Stealership... You decide...

And the people that have the most of the latest gadgets that are really not serviceable seem to also be the ones that are so concerned with the environment and scold me because I still have a few incandescent lights in my house... What do you think is a bigger problem, throwing out a refrigerator that is 5 years old because it's not worth fixing, or having a 100 watt incandescent bulb where there is no good alternative...

The game now is to make products that will just make it past the warranty... Washers and dryers should easily make it past the manufacturers warranty and the extended warranties they sell. Good luck when something does break, though. I worked for Samsung, and I couldn't get parts for a co-workers washer that had a fairly minor problem... They just weren't available unless you paid the factory tech the big bucks to fix the little problems that inevitably crop up.

I have to hand it to Apple, though... Their products seem to be very well engineered and very high quality... But a Mac notebook costs about 4 times what an equivalently powered PC laptop costs... And the price differential for an iPod over any other music player is almost ridiculous... But they are better. I still have my iPod Mini, and I use it daily. The hard drive didn't fail, I just wanted more room so I took out the 4GB hard drive and replaced it with a 32GB compact flash. I have used that thing literally almost every day for 10 years or so, and it has yet to malfunction...

Whirlpool is almost all that's left of the American appliance companies... And they are not doing really well against the Koreans and the Europeans... Even Australia is starting to gain serious steam at appliance manufacturing... Fisher and Paykel refrigerators are pretty highly rated by buyers... And Breville makes outstanding small appliances...

I read a post by Jeff Immelt of GE titled "Why We're Betting On Manufacturing"

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130207143128-230929989-why-we-re-betting-on-manufacturing

This is from a guy who has shipped hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas... Any CEO or CFO can be lumped into the same category we used to joke about politicians... How can you tell when they're lying? When their lips are moving...

Arrrgggg!

 

 

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
I buy used
ChasChas   2/12/2013 5:23:46 PM
NO RATINGS
I buy used washers, dryers, and major appliances. More often than not, I get them for nothing.

I always have a spare of each in the garage. 

When one quits working, I simply change it out, discard it, and find another used spare for in the garage. (I will do minor repairs.)

On the average they last 2-3 years each. Some time I get luckier.

MackeyBloom
User Rank
Iron
It's Not Just Whirlpool
MackeyBloom   2/12/2013 5:58:06 PM
We remodeled our kitchen and selected a five burner GE stove - the kind with a large griddle plate in the middle.  We also purchased the Extended Warranty from the retailer, Best Buy.  The extended added 3 years onto the manufacturer's standard - 1 year if I remember correctly.

As with all modern gas stoves, this model used an ignitor and spark gap.  From a few months in, burners would not reliably ignite - we kept a box of matches nearby.

GE service sent a local repairman who spoke more Russian than English - but it's amazing how the F-word translates across boundaries!   He replaced the ignitor, the tubing, the spark points, the power cord, even the knobs.  He even tried an ignitor that looked more like an oil burner transformer, complete with ceramic insulators and weighing over 40 pounds.

The stove was designed as a sealed top and required that the entire top be hinged back to service - very carefully - as the designers at GE used aluminum tubing with minor S-bends in them.  The idea being that the bend would be the flexure point - only being aluminum, you can only flex it so much.

On his last (and I emphasize last) service call, he replaced half the tubing with items from his truck as they were showing pronounced cracking.  And wouldn't you know it, to show us of his acheivement and design prowess, as soon as turned the knob and the ignitor sparked, a huge flame rocketed out the side of the stove singing the countertop and cabinets.  

At the time, Best Buy has a Lemon Guarantee: that if something breaks down more than three times, you get full credit.  As this was the Fourth repair (and first fire) for the same problem, I called and demanded a new stove.  "Oh, No, Mr. Bloom.  It has to be for three DIFFERENT problems! Not three repairs of the same one!"

Like (heck)!  I filed a complaint with the California Department of Insurance (extended warranties, at least in California, are considered Insurance.  Within a week, I picked out a new stove at Best Buy's expense - a Whirlpool.  It's been 7 or 8 years now and it works just like it was brand new.

Here's to keeping the home fires burning - just in their proper place!

akwaman
User Rank
Gold
Re: It's Not Just Whirlpool
akwaman   2/13/2013 8:38:49 AM
Planned obsolescence is the cry of the modern manufacturer.  Gone are the days of making a good product, then making it better... or is it?  Someone so accurately mentioned Apple as having good quality products.  Yea... that is the American way, right?  Apparently, the American way of manufacturing and quality has 2 avenues to increase profits.

Make a good product, then when the public adopts it and you have a successful brand... you need to make MORE and MORE money, so...

1)  To make more money you start using cheaper parts to make your product, effectively getting an inferior product, and try to fool the public as long as you can.  Alternatively, you can make your product or quantity smaller and smaller in increments, maybe no one will notice.  Similarly, you replace your natural ingredients (like sugar) with some manufacturing (and dirt cheap) waste product like HFCS.

2)  You have cheaper slave labor build your product in another country (like APPLE), where you can pay you slaves almost nothing to build your product.  Additionally, you won't have to worry about factory working conditions, worker safety, harmful emissions, or government regulations.  Workers will never strike or sue you for the way they are treated or injured on the job.  Then you can sell your quality product for 4 times the price of everyone else's product, as if it actually cost you more to build. 

keschwab
User Rank
Iron
Re: It's Not Just Whirlpool
keschwab   2/13/2013 4:59:25 PM
NO RATINGS
Funny you mention sugar. My mom always bought ten pound bags. I don't bake nearly as much as she did, so I bought a five lb. bag. Just imagine my surprise to pull a 4 lb. bag out of my shopping bag when I got home.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: It's Not Just Whirlpool
tekochip   2/16/2013 9:59:21 AM
NO RATINGS
"it's amazing how the F-word translates across boundaries!"
 
Way off topic; I was at an airport in some foreign land, you know, I don't even remember where, other than a mixture of strange languages reverberated in the air.  In a washroom stall I glanced at some graffiti on the wall, also is a strange language, it read something like this:
 
da dada da dada da da
da dada da dada da da
da dada da da
da dada da da
da dada da dada da da
 
Oh my lord, it was a limerick!  I couldn't make out the word Nantucket anywhere in there, but it was a limerick, just the same.  I had no idea it was an international art form.


Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Re: It's Not Just Whirlpool
Tool_maker   2/18/2013 2:33:48 PM
NO RATINGS
As a matter of fact Limericks are a recognized form of poetry just like a sonnet or hyko (sp) is. There is a prescribed beat pattern and rhyme scheme. An alert reader will find an occassional Limerick in Shakespeare. The poems acquired their name from a town in England, Limerick where they were first recorded in print as songs sung in the local taverns.

When I was still teaching English I used to utilize a lesson plan based on limericks to teach students to write with an economy of words. They enjoyed it and were usually proud of their efforts. All of them had to be "CLEAN" and it did help teach them how to eliminate unnecessary verbage.

Ratsky
User Rank
Platinum
Whirlpool Fridge Problem
Ratsky   6/10/2013 9:35:34 AM
NO RATINGS
My 10-year old Whirlpool side-by-side (25 CF) started to fail a couple of days ago.  So many of the followers of this blog have given insight I thought I'd take a stab at aksing here.  The frezzer side seems fine, and hold cold quite well.  The refrigerator, however, started making a clicking sound (relay operating then dropping out is what it sounds like) at the top fo the compartrment directly above the controls.  Even at max cool setting, the refrigerator temp is now at 61F.  Given the near-total inaccessibility of the area in question: since this sounds like a control board failure, with a $150 service charge and maybe another $150 for the board, does anyone have an alternative suggesstion to repair this, or should I just get a new fridge?

SethDesmarais1
User Rank
Iron
2/5
SethDesmarais1   7/25/2013 4:39:59 PM
NO RATINGS
I purchased a Maytag electric dryer Bravo 300 Series in November 2009. December 2010, the main computer board went out and had to be replaced. move onto another brand. They do not stand by their defective products. First and last Maytag purchase.

refrigerator repair

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Made by Monkeys
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made by Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Design News Webinar Series
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  67


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service