How Long Should A Washing Machine Last? (the truth)

Go back a few years and the life expectancy of a washing machine was between 10 to 13 years. Nowadays there’s a strong likelihood of a washing machine breaking down after around 6 years. So what’s changed? And is it all washing machines? That’s what we’re going to discover in this article, the whys and the wherefores of the lifespan of a washing machine.

Why Has The Lifespan Of The Average Washing Machine Lowered?

Back when the life expectancy of a washing machine was 13 years or more, they were built to last. They were robust machines that could withstand the rigours of washing a family of four’s clothes week in and week out. Also repair costs were cheaper as parts were cheaper and the relative technical information was freely available for repairers.

It’s a different story nowadays with some machines needing repairs after as little as just 18 months or so. 

As for washing machine technicians, they’re having a difficult time of it. It’s more difficult to get replacement parts and the cost of spare parts on newer models is far dearer than they are for older models. Added to which it’s far more difficult to obtain technical support from the manufacturers.

It might be possible to repair a washing machine a few times but there will come a point when it will be cheaper to replace it with a new machine than repair it. Having said that, there are still many older washing machines that have been used regularly for upwards of 15 years.

So What’s Changed?

Washing machine manufacturers do whatever they can to bring production costs down which often includes using cheaper components. Added to which many of the parts that used to be replaceable are now made in such a way that the whole unit has to be replaced instead of just a single component. These units often cost more to replace than it would cost to buy another budget machine.

How Many Washes Can You Expect Before Your Machine Breaks Down?

According to the latest research, the average person in Britain does approximately 135 washes per year. Which in turn would imply that a couple would do 270 washes per year and a family of four, 540 washes per year. Now, many of the cheaper machines are designed to perform a few hundred wash cycles which makes it easier to understand why they have such a short life expectancy compared to the washing machine of yesteryear.

It’s not easy to find out just how many cycles a particular machine is designed to undertake. All the manufacturers will highlight is spin speeds, drum size and energy efficiency.

Washing Machine

Is It Possible To Lengthen The Life Of A Washing Machine?

In many cases it is possible to lengthen the life of your existing washing machine. There are several factors that have an effect on the lifespan of your washing machine. Things like;

  • How often you use your machine
    Using the machine to wash one or two items every day will shorten its lifespan. All washing machines have a limited number of wash cycles before they break down. Make sure to fill yours to the load limit (or as close to as possible).
  • The weight of the wash loads
    If you exceed the recommended load weight in your machine it is likely to put excessive pressure on the drum’s bearings which can cause serious damage. Likewise, only washing one or two items will still count to your overall wash cycles and all machines have a limited amount of wash cycles.
  • How much detergent is used
  • Using more detergent than is necessary won’t wash your clothes any better. In fact there is evidence to suggest that it will make the clothes less likely to get clean as the excess detergent will coat the clothes and prevent the dirt etc from being washed away.
  • The way the machine is installed
    If the washing machine is not level it can damage internal parts due to excessive vibration and in some cases friction as parts rub on the metal casing. Levelling a washing machine is simple, just use the adjustable feet at the base of the machine.

It’s also important to give your washing machine a hot wash once a month to prevent any bacterial buildup. In fact manufacturers recommend this but still, the majority of machines being sold are cold fill only and are designed for use with biological washing powder which only works at cooler temperatures.

It’s also very important to get any defect you notice, no matter how small, checked by a professional washing machine engineer as soon as possible. We know how easy it is to keep using the machine if it’s still working even if it is making an excessive amount of noise, but that could cause an even bigger problem.

Are There Any Washing Machines That Have Longer Lifespans?

Depending on how often you use your machine, it could be past it within two years (based on one wash every day). Sadly that’s not just budget washing machines, the same is true of many of the mid priced models. Sure, they offer extra programs and spin speeds, but many are built in a similar way to the budget models.

If you want a washing machine that lasts for an incredibly long time, you’ll need to go for a Miele washing machine as the manufacturers claim it’s tested to last for 20 years. Plus with Miele washing machines you get a warranty of between 2 to 10 years (depending on the model). Other manufacturers are not so generous with their warranties, with many only offering 12 months warranty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 7 years good for a washing machine?

In today’s market, 7 years is very good for a washing machine (depending on the make) as many are only covered by warranty for 1 to 2 years.

Is it worth repairing a washing machine?

It is worth repairing a washing machine if it will cost less than buying a new one and it’s expected to last for a few more years.

Is it worth fixing a 10 year old washing machine?

Whether it’s worth fixing a 10 year old washing machine depends on the cost of the repair and whether the machine will last for as long as the cost of the repair. In most cases it works out better to replace older washing machines than repairing them.

How long should a new washing machine last?

The majority of new washing machines have 1 to 2 years warranties which implies the manufacturer doesn’t expect the machine to last much longer than that. There are some manufacturers that give up to 10 year warranties but their washing machines tend to be the higher priced models.

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