How to Make Your Tools, Gadgets and Appliances Last Forever
How many M.I.T. engineering Ph.D.s does it take to repair a dishwasher? In the case of a balky Maytag at Eric Wilhelm's house in Oakland, Calif., one doctorate sufficed. After a plastic wheel on the dishwasher's upper rack broke off of its assembly, Wilhelm faced a classic consumer conundrum. The same plastic part had broken and been replaced three times--and now the warranty had ended. Considering this history and Wilhelm's mounting frustration, repairing the 3-year-old appliance seemed marginally less logical than buying a new one.
But discarding the machine didn't feel right to Wilhelm, who is the co-founder and CEO of Instructables.com, a website that details DIY projects, from simple repairs to elaborate, artsy computer mods. Armed with a drill, a vise and a spare stainless-steel bolt, Wilhelm repaired the wheel and got his rack rolling again--and it hasn't broken since. "From a purely monetary standpoint, it probably made no sense for me to spend an hour and a half fixing a plastic wheel on my dishwasher," he says. "But I got an intangible reward--a satisfied feeling that I fixed something and didn't replace it."
Here's my Instructable on the dishwasher repair: Maytag Quiet Series 300 Dishwasher Wheel Repair Hack, and you'll probably be amused by my rockstar-esque photoshoot with the circular saw for this article.