Thread Number: 38114  /  Tag: Major Appliances
The Right to Repair Movement
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Post# 406049   2/27/2019 at 12:30 (496 days old) by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        


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Post# 406054 , Reply# 1   2/27/2019 at 15:44 (496 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
It's a crime.

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For example, look at the vacuum graveyards we've all gone through (well most...who'll admit have gone through) looking fr parts from cadavers.
Look at our 'vintage' machines.......lasting decades with proper service, (NOT just Hoovers), too.
I have a Maytag laundry set from 1992. I keep them running perfectly, and was told , by the repairman, to "Do everything you can to keep these".
And, I do.
Landfills are filling up at a devastating rate.

Post# 406057 , Reply# 2   2/27/2019 at 20:18 (496 days old) by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        
great posting

rivstg1's profile picture

of a interesting and pertinent article !  amen I say, let people repair them and keep them working w/o adding to landfills!!!

Post# 406060 , Reply# 3   2/27/2019 at 20:55 (496 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

This is one of the many reasons I keep using, restoring, and repairing (if needed) my old, durable stuff. As my new stuff breaks, it is replaced with old stuff. It is a shame to see such poor quality products being made today that cannot be repaired (even by a handy person).
As to the 5 'R's, reduce and reuse are the best options there are. Restore and repair are very good after that. Recycling is a great idea, but in reality it hurts to see the reality of its process. For that reason, my broke new stuff does to the landfill instead of hurting/poisoning people in far, poor, foreign lands.

Post# 406063 , Reply# 4   2/27/2019 at 21:27 (496 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        

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This is one movement I totally agree with! I have to wonder if the manufacturers who make disposable products even realize that their profit comes at the expense of the environmental damage to our Earth. While I understand the manufacturer's desire to make profit by having a consumer have to replace a product after a set number of years, the consumer should also have the right to keep their old product working - particularly if they really liked how it worked & they don't like the manufacturer's new design of that product. As long as the manufacturer still makes their profit, I don't see how it would hurt them to be forced to make parts for a certain number of years after the product's production ends.

Rob & John - I agree with you both on the value of buying vintage products whenever possible & using things that were well designed, last longer & work better. However, I think one has to remember that just because it's old does NOT mean it's a quality product. Like Tom Gasko pointed out in his thread "A Lewyt by any other name is a Shetland", that is a perfect example of one vintage product that was NOT good quality, was poorly designed, & didn't work well. I think most of us collectors would agree that a vintage Electrolux from the same period would be more desirable & more worth restoring & keeping fixed up then that Lewyt. So as much as it's a good idea, just be selective about what you keep & fix up.

A little fun fact that might interest some: In my province of Ontario, it's provincial law that the manufacturer of a product must maintain parts & service for that product for a period of 7 years after it has been discontinued. So we have already been on the right track all this time.


Post# 406064 , Reply# 5   2/27/2019 at 21:31 (496 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Some manufacturers even go so far as to claim that you don't actually own the products you buy with your hard-earned money but only license their use and thus have no right to repair them. Yet another reason to buy legacy appliances, made out of metal and without any self-destructing circuit boards. The best products are simple, durable and repairable.

Post# 406065 , Reply# 6   2/27/2019 at 21:35 (496 days old) by Oreck_XL (Brooklyn, New York 11211)        

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I really hope it does prompt manufacturers to produce longer lasting, user servicable appliances. Planned obsolescence is nothing new. A good example would be my 1976 Singer Golden Touch & Sew II 770. Singer put nylon gears into the machine which years ago would break if you sewed something heavy. Today they break from age. I want to cry when I think of all the old black head straight stitch Singers that were probably traded in and melted down because at the time Singer boasted this as the latest and greatest....

Post# 406073 , Reply# 7   2/27/2019 at 22:04 (495 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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The right to repair movement is nothing new, either. It's long been a legal topic in the automotive industry. Laws are already in place that require car makers to provide service information and software for updating car computers, etc. Which is really good.

That thing where some companies (Apple, Tesla) act like they own their product and the consumer is basically renting it, that's a huge pile of bs, and should be made illegal. If for no better reason than the consumer is paying their good money on a PURCHASE, not a lease agreement.

Planned obsolescence is bad, but it doesn't bother me nearly as much as when a product is clearly designed with the intention of not being repairable. (Admittedly, the two sometimes go hand-in-hand.) Polluting landfills is bad, but these companies don't seem to realize that when their product is not repairable (not even by them, as most of these companies provide service as well, that they make money off of), it just hurts their reputation and makes them lose in the long run. It's really a matter of corporate short-sightedness. Just look at Apple, reporting so many losses, and they blame their customers for not buying new phones. Maybe their customers are just sick of them.

Post# 406093 , Reply# 8   2/28/2019 at 14:39 (495 days old) by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        


Planned obsolescence is nothing new, either. The term was coined by industrial designer Brooks Stevens, noted for -- among many other things -- the design for the 1948 Modern Hygiene vacuum cleaner.


His definition for the term was "Instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary.


(See link.)

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Post# 406104 , Reply# 9   2/28/2019 at 18:21 (495 days old) by rugsucker (Elizabethton TN)        
Obsolete,maybe--Ready for dump,maybe not

Great information above.Brooks Stevens was also quite a car guy as well as working on the Hamilton dryer with door window,Evinrude outboard motors and MORE.
Unlike todays world of dumpster plastic and particleboard I can think of some trends(that weren't even called'Green')that extended the life of many consumer products--
--Appliance dealers and fix-it shops could offer many used but good as new items at a lower price.
--Often family or friends would welcome a quality used item.
--When the newest model car was added the old one could be kept for the wife to shop while the husband worked.
--Many families were ready for a 'vacation'house(usually small and often prefab or do-it-yourself weekend construction)that would take the items replaced with newer styles.
--The do it yourselfers not only increased tool sales at the hardware stores but would then do many repair jobs.
--General Motors,& others ran a lot of ads with the message that a good used car serviced and sold by a dealer was the next best thing to a new model.

Post# 406114 , Reply# 10   2/28/2019 at 21:44 (495 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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rugsucker, car companies still run ads about 'certified preowned' cars. They just change the words to make buying a used car easier to digest, I suppose. But maybe that's slowing down these days, idk.

Post# 406115 , Reply# 11   2/28/2019 at 21:45 (495 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Regarding your sewing machine, you can partially thank UL for getting plastic gears into them. A sacrificial link had to be introduced into many household products for safety, whether someone gets a body part in the mechanism, or a foreign object which could stall the motor and start a fire. Usually this would be one or two links, but later would turn into many if not all of them.

In the mid 90's, I remember the infamous Genie garage door opener ads which touted 'a solid steel shaft coupled to a 1/2HP motor to provide the ultimate...'
Well, the coupler was a weak plastic piece that usually broke when the limit switch failed. They are replaceable, but most people would need to hire that out at 150 bucks as they are a pain to replace.
The Kenmore direct drive washers have a such plastic coupler on their motors also. Kitchenaid mixers have a fiber gear, as most larger oscillating fan mechanisms.
It goes on and on. Some products will sell these sacrificial parts, where others just laugh at you.

Post# 406167 , Reply# 12   3/1/2019 at 18:22 (494 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
Here's the text from an email I received from The Repair Association ( today:

Right to Repair bills are moving rapidly. Missouri just filed their bill bring us up to 18 states so far plus a whole new effort in Canada. More are under consideration -- we're gathering steam.

Washington State passed R2R through Committee and could be one of the first to get to a vote. Hearings are being scheduled in GA, IL, MN over the next week, and more will follow. Let us know if you are interested in helping in any state -- we need as many volunteers as possible ready for hearings on very short notice.

We've also been in the mainstream news around the world. BBC Sounds Business Daily has just released a lengthy interview on radio including several of our members. Public Radio International has been following Right to Repair efforts in Canada.

Salon.Com has done a piece on Right to Repair that hit the top of Reddit shortly after it was released. Motherboard continues to offer exceptional coverage of all things Repair on a regular basis.

Post# 406191 , Reply# 13   3/1/2019 at 22:45 (493 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
Plastic couplings and nylon gears are a good thing! What you guys are talking about is having products designed to be repaired. Well, intentional 'weak points' are designed into products with the noble intention of sacrificing a small, inexpensive part in order to preserve the rest of the machine when something fails. It's far better, in my opinion, that a plastic coupler on a garage door opener would break, rather than let the motor keep running until it can't turn anymore and burn itself up!

Granted, yeah, those sacrificial parts are not always easily had, or easy to get to. But it's still a noble intention of the engineers who designed the thing. It's not their fault that the company doesn't want you to be able to get those parts.

Post# 406209 , Reply# 14   3/2/2019 at 10:14 (493 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Sacrificial Parts

human's profile picture
Yes, sacrificial parts are a pretty good concept in terms of protecting the product from further damage, except that manufacturers then turn that "design feature" to their advantage by prematurely discontinuing those sacrificial parts in order to force consumers into replacing the entire product. And consumers just blithely buy into that BS and cooperate with the scam because, hey, they're getting a new product with a few meaningless whiz-bang features thrown in that's going to fail on them in a very short time and have to be replaced because some small, sacrificial part has been strategically discontinued in order to force the consumer to replace the product yet again, and so it goes...

What the manufacturers are really doing is training consumers to regard products as disposable that not too long ago were considered durable goods. Durability is anathema to modern manufacturers because it robs them of revenue from consumers who are mindlessly running on the gerbil wheel of an accelerated replacement cycle.

Post# 406272 , Reply# 15   3/4/2019 at 00:36 (491 days old) by dartman (Portland OR)        

I fix EVERYTHING I own myself if possible. Car, TV, vacuums, washer and dryer etc.
When I got my 69 Dart in 79 I started hitting wrecking yards and swap meets for upgrade parts and anything odball or common but cheap I could find. I used to have a complete extra car at a buddies wrecking yard, spare hoods, grills, dash pads, starters, alternators, etc I buy parts for my washer, vacuum, and electronics on Amazon or eBay and fix as needed. No reason to toss it unless I want to upgrade and even then I hand it off to family or friends that can use it. I build my own computers too and haven't bought a pre built in years as I can get better parts cheaper new or used on my own and they are actually really easy to build these days. Everything is keyed so it only fits in the right place unlike when I started building my own.

Post# 406287 , Reply# 16   3/4/2019 at 15:39 (491 days old) by huskyvacs (Midwest)        

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It's amazing it took this long for people to catch on. Society is going back to the 1950's. I've been telling people this for years but they laugh at me like I'm an idiot or something for wasting money, when they get their instant gratification on buying a shiny new thing that breaks again a year later.

When I drug an old 1950's fridge out of an abandoned house to use in my garage, I had to go on eBay and shop and post want ads at farm flea markets and look for vintage refrigerant (can't use the modern stuff in the old compressor). I made the mistake of thinking I could hire someone to do it for me, but they would not even touch it once they seen it - or just hung up on me. I ended up having to learn how to do it myself, and also had to buy a PPE mask for safety in case I messed up. It was a successful job.

People don't understand all he work and mental agility it takes to repair things while they sit and balk about their college degree.

Post# 406298 , Reply# 17   3/4/2019 at 21:23 (491 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
"People don't understand all the work and mental agility it takes to repair things while they sit and balk about their college degree."

^ this. Street smarts vs. book smarts, once again.

Post# 406312 , Reply# 18   3/5/2019 at 06:44 (490 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        

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So they can actually pass laws to force manufacturers to stop planned obsolescence? I've said for years this makes ZERO sense to me for the government to enforce strict environmental rules - while at the same time manufacturers creating stuff that ends up in landfills in less than a decade - completely canceling out or doing more harm to the environment.... If that happened it would be amazing. But I don't think it will, unfortunately.

Post# 406320 , Reply# 19   3/5/2019 at 12:36 (490 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
Yes, they can pass laws to do that and the manufacturers will fight those laws in the courts and make huge campaign contributions to "business friendly" (aka Republican) politicians who will then feel obligated to repeal such laws to keep the campaign cash coming their way. Not trying to get political here, just relating reality.

Post# 406334 , Reply# 20   3/5/2019 at 17:59 (490 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
Yeah I remember seeing a story about

A farmer who had purchased a new John Deere tractor and it stopped leaving him stuck out in a field somewhere. Not easy to push your tractor back to the barn! He couldn't get the software J.D. as it wasn't available to the owners. He was used to maintaining his own equipment, always had. Long story short, he sold it and got his hands on an older tractor and said after the crap he went through with J.D. he was through with them. He felt betrayed. So how is this a good thing? Also when big box stores contract with well known brands and order up huge amounts of a product, say 50,000 hot water heaters ,but only if they can get them at a certain price point. If the deal goes down, the supplier most likely will have to cut quality or something just to stay within their margin. This is never a good thing for us, the consumer. Especially when it's a brand you've known and trusted and has always had a good product. Yet you can still get the quality your used to from a smaller dealer, you'll pay more to get what you thought you were getting at the big box stores. Someone placed two J.D. tractor mowers side by side, one from a dealer store and one from H.Depot and they looked the same at first. Closer inspection, one had a metal seat, the other plastic. The motors were from different manufacturers, on and on and the kicker is in this case the prices to the buyer weren't all that different, but the quality difference became very obvious.What a scam to the unsuspecting customer. Buyer beware. H.D. had to recall or their supplier had to recall thousands of h.water heaters. They hadn't even been inspected before shipping. They had been sourced out to another company in Mexico and others manufacturers with shady pasts. "Brand loyalty" doesn't mean to me what it did to past generations of buyers, it's not the same in many ways now.

Post# 406337 , Reply# 21   3/5/2019 at 19:45 (490 days old) by mark40511 (Lexington, KY)        
@ Human

mark40511's profile picture
Well, at least it might be possible. I mean, look at where we are with the appliances and energy star. I'm sure the companies tried to pay off business-friendly politicians with that but obviously, that didn't work.

Post# 407878 , Reply# 22   4/10/2019 at 14:49 (454 days old) by DE409 (MD)        

My car is pushing 20, my dryer 40, there is a garage full of spare parts for both, and I keep things going with my tools which have paid for themselves many times over. I joke that my house is where things go to live forever.

Post# 407893 , Reply# 23   4/10/2019 at 20:55 (454 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

DE409 - Glad I am not the only one that feels like that. My place is like a living museum...

Post# 407921 , Reply# 24   4/11/2019 at 07:38 (453 days old) by DE409 (MD)        

I took my parents' 20+ year old stove when they replaced it and kept it in the garage, and when my 6-year old stove's PC control board died, I rolled it in and swapped plugs and finished baking whatever my wife had started LOL. My wife hates it because she would like newer stuff but I can't justify buying this new stuff that's not as good and doesn't last half as long.

Soon as I have some cash flow I will do a big buy of parts for it against the day when they are unavailable. I did buy two thermostat assemblies as those are already discontinued and hard to find and that's the main oven part. Everything else is still out there for the most part. Even got a set of plastic knobs for the mechanical clock and timer when one cracked.

The best part is, I took the ASVAB in high school, and bombed out on the mechanical aptitude part, I'm talking like a 20th percentile score. Now I am the guy who can fix or diagnose almost anything. Weird how life takes you different places. At that time I had no experience and it just wasn't important to me.

Post# 407959 , Reply# 25   4/12/2019 at 08:51 (452 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
I hear you. I have my parents' 25+ year old Lady Kenmore stove, one of the first ones with the glass top. They replaced it when--guess what--the control board (aka self-destruct mechanism) failed. I had it repaired under my home warranty for $100. The board was NLA, so they had to send it off to be rebuilt by hand. When the technician re-installed it, he said it should last at least another 25 years and that he'd trust the hand rebuilt board more than a new one.

Keeping old stoves going is something of a family tradition. My great grandparents bought one of the first electric stoves in Greenville, S.C. back in the 1920s. It came from the local power company and included a lifetime service contract. Every time one of the open coil clay burners went out, they'd come and replace it. The stove was still operational when my great, great aunt died in 1970. It was the last stove of its kind still in use in Greenville and by that time, the power company had brought their entire remaining supply of original style burners to the house. When those ran out, they retrofitted the stove to use modern style burners.

Post# 407966 , Reply# 26   4/12/2019 at 14:15 (452 days old) by DE409 (MD)        

That is an epic owning of the lifetime service contract BTW. Kudos to your family for that!

Post# 408090 , Reply# 27   4/14/2019 at 19:12 (450 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
I've noticed that the new Bissell vacuums are harder to repair than previous generations. They even have filters that are inaccessible unless you take the whole thing apart. Once those filters clog up, the motor does and into the trash it goes. It's a truly despicable waste of a limited resource.

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