To Fix, Or Not To Fix?

“Having someone do certain things for you is like getting someone to chew your food for you.  It might be easier to swallow but it loses all its flavor… And you want the flavor!”

-Ze Frank

Fix it or toss it?

Before we dive into the good stuff we need to figure out if it is worth fixing.  Being there are some moments when you should just say the heck with it and rush to the store, we are not about that unless there is a reason other than it’s just broken!  On the contrary if you can save money and have the sense of accomplishment, why not fix it yourself! I have heard different thoughts on fixing vs tossing and have also seen mathematical formulas to calculate this.  Although this may work, I am not a math genius and do not want to pull out a calculator and punch in an algorithm to figure this out.  So, here is my thinking on to fix a product.

Parts Cost

With this in mind, the rule of thumb I use is when the cost of the part is less than 40% of the value of the item new I fix it myself.  Why not 50%?   Time!  Nevertheless, when factoring in the amount of time to fix something also plays a role.  For example, a new rear main seal on an Audi Q7 cost is near $40.  Cheap right?   The problem becomes the 40 plus hours of labor and pulling out the engine to get to it!  So, if you’re not a mechanic with the tools and knowledge with a strong desire for punishment you would take this to the shop!  The bottom line is that if its going to take days to fix something that has minimal value it my not be worth the time.

Product Age

Moreover, when considering if you should fix it, it is important to think about the age of the product.  If it has realistically reached the end of its lifecycle and the cost to fix is near the 40% percent mark it may be time to recycle it.  I say this only because this is the point that other parts may also start to break and that will push your costs higher and not be worth the time, effort and cost to complete.

In summary, for DIY the good news is its already broken.  At the very least give it try and see what you can do, you can’t fix anything unless you try! 

Fix it if it can be fixed, build if you can!

-Steve

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