Are you old enough to remember that when shoe soles wore out, you’d take them to a repair shop and they’d put on a new sole? It wasn’t just shoes, you could get almost any appliance repaired whether it was a vacuum cleaner, washing machine, or even a toaster, either by taking it to a shop or having a repair guy come over. Clothes could wear like iron, with zippers and buttons replaced.
There was a time when automotive repairs were pretty affordable and almost any part of the car could be replaced. Often, you did it yourself, and it was made easier by the repair manual you could buy.
These days you’ll hear, “It’ll cost you less to buy a new one than to repair that old thing.” That doesn’t have to be the case. We all love a bargain, but sometimes you can become trapped in the cycle of buying cheap things that don’t last long. When you find out the item isn’t repairable, you have to buy another one, perpetuating the cycle. That cycle is not good be- cause landfills fill up, resources are wasted, jobs move away from American workers, and we’ve spent too much money.
A recent study showed that some women will buy an item of clothing, wear it only four to seven times, and throw it away. Men are guilty of buying low-cost jeans that only last a few months. It used to be when you bought Levis they lasted for years because of the thick US-made denim. Many folks are waking up to this, and switching to more expensive, but totally worth it, work clothes from companies such as Duluth Trading Company.
That’s the first step in getting out of the destructive rut—buy quality. But you also want to buy items you can re-
pair. How do you know what they are? The site ifixit.com not only rates common items by how repairable they are, but offers guides on how to fix things yourself, and even lists places where you can buy replacement parts. They rate cars, electronics, appliances and just about everything you can buy.
According to US News & World Report the top ‘easiest to repair’ vehicles are the 2007 to 2013 Chevrolet Silverado, 2008 to 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, and the 2001 to 2016 Honda Civic. The most expensive models to repair over ten years are: Chrysler Sebring at $17,100, BMW 328i at $15,600 and the Nissan Murano at $14,700. Compare that with the Toyota Prius at only $4,300!
YouTube is loaded with thousands of step-by-step guides to doing everything from hanging a picture to rebuilding an engine. I can sit in my recliner and hunt through how-to videos. When I find the right one, I go outside with the video on my smartphone and let it guide me through the repair.
Local mechanics, hardware stores and the big box stores can offer helpful advice and workshops, too.
Remember, even though buying cheap things and throwing them away might seem like a convenient choice, in the end it’s not good for our economy, the environment, and not good for your pocketbook. ●◊●