Extra Warranties for Major Appliances – Are They Worth the Money?

I recall the first time I purchased a major appliance and was asked if I’d like to buy an extra warranty. I couldn’t understand why the store was pushing extra warranties. The warranty would extend the manufacturer warranty another one, two, or three years, depending on which plan I chose, but I wondered why the major appliance I purchased needed an extra warranty. This happened about twenty years ago, and it was then I realized the quality of major appliances was definitely declining.

In years past extra warranties weren’t offered, and they really weren’t necessary. The major appliances purchased by my parents and grandparents lasted for decades, and warranties were never an issue. Although I was concerned about the quality of the major appliance I had just purchased, I didn’t want to spend more on extra warranties that I shouldn’t need in the first place.

Remember When?

If you’re over the age of 35, you probably remember when major appliances lasted for decades. A refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer could be expected to last twenty years plus. Major appliance manufacturers eventually discovered that people weren’t replacing these items as quickly as they’d like, and they stopped designing them to last for decades on end. Now a major appliance such as a dishwasher might last five years – if you’re lucky. The working components of major appliances are no longer manufactured to last. Although major appliances aren’t cheap in price, unfortunately many have become cheaper in quality and engineering.


I purchased a new home in 1999, and a new dishwasher was included with the home. It wasn’t the highest priced dishwasher available, but it should have lasted longer than three years. When motor in the dishwasher died an early death, I replaced it with a model that again wasn’t the most expensive, but it wasn’t the cheapest either. After just two years, the racks started rusting away, and before long it was necessary to replace them. The racks obviously weren’t designed to last since they were manufactured using metal that rusts, and extra warranties wouldn’t have covered these parts.

You’d think that dishwasher racks would be relatively inexpensive, but I had to spend over $100 to replace them. Manufacturers could design dishwasher racks using heat-resistant plastic or another material that doesn’t rust, but instead they design parts that regularly come in contact with water using the cheapest materials available. Does this make sense? Of course it does. Manufacturers want consumers to either replace the racks or invest in a new dishwasher when the racks begin to rust and fall apart. The fragments of rusting metal could damage the motor, and this would necessitate replacement. Designing the racks using metal that rusts ensures another sale.

Harvest Gold and Avocado Green Appliances

Remember the avocado green and harvest gold appliances of the 70’s? Most of us would like to forget these dated colors, but amazingly, many who don’t mind the look of outdated appliances still own them, and they’re outlasting appliances purchased decades later. Why do you think a refrigerator that was purchased in 1975 is still running, but a refrigerator purchased in 1995 had to be replaced within ten years? The refrigerator designed in 1975 was obviously made using quality materials, and the refrigerator designed in 1995 was designed with replacement in mind.

Of course appliances manufactured in the nineties came with the option of additional warranties, but was the likelihood these appliances would fail within the first two or three years? Warranty dealers aren’t in the business of selling warranties to help consumers. They’re in it for the money, and they have a pretty good idea when the working components of appliances will begin to fail. Buying extra warranties can provide peace of mind, but more than likely you’ll never use them. It’s more likely your major appliance will fail after the warranties expire.

What Do You Think?

Did you purchase a dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, or another major appliance that had to be repaired or replaced long before problems should have occurred? Would one, two, or three year appliance warranties have saved money in the long run? Leave a brief comment below, or submit an article detailing your experience to Associated Content, the People’s Media Company.

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