Gadgets are broken. From your TV to your smartphone, nothing will last forever. The question is, when will it break, should I buy a new one or repair it? It’s not an easy answer, but there are ways to figure out which makes more sense.

The first step, always, is to make sure the device is actually broken. . Please make sure it is not a loose cable or some other minor flaw. Once you’ve figured out what’s wrong, it’s time to decide whether to replace or repair.

Rule of thumb: 50% formula

There is a popular rule of thumb for deciding whether you should fix your gadget or buy a new one. Find out the cost of repairing your broken device. If the cost of buying a new gadget exceeds 50 percent, then it is better to buy a new one.

DIY replace camera repair

Many people make a major mistake with this formula, so note that you must count against replacement purchase cost and not against the original cost of the device. Simply put, don’t compare the cost of repairs to what you paid for the gadget. Compare that to what you’d pay for a new gadget. If a repair costs more than 50 percent of buying a new gadget today, that’s important.

Consumer Reports also endorses this formula, whether you fix it yourself or take it to a service center. They also offer another piece of advice: «If an item has already broken once, a replacement might make more sense.»

When to Ignore the 50% Formula

Whatever the 50 percent formula is, it won’t apply all the time. Your circumstances may differ and therefore you need to evaluate this for yourself. My advice is to drop the 50 percent formula for any of the following scenarios.

DIY repair replace broken screen

  • Newer gadgets don’t offer the same features. As technology advances, some features are forgotten or discarded. A simple example would be the FM radio buttons on phones or removable batteries. If the new gadget doesn’t have a feature you desperately want, then the 50 percent formula doesn’t apply. Use the formula only to replace a gadget that is actually an acceptable replacement.
  • Your current gadget is perfect. The shapes and sizes of gadgets change frequently. If your speakers fit the shelf perfectly, or if your computer is just the right size, fixing it might be the best solution.
  • This is an expensive or luxurious gadget. The 50 percent formula works well for basic consumer gadgets. But don’t use the formula for luxury gadgets. If your expensive headphones are broken then don’t count on the 50 percent formula to decide whether to fix it or buy new cans. Big money decisions are subjective.

DIY or look for professionals?

If this is a problem that the company’s service center will fix, then you can probably also fix this problem yourself. DIY fixes aren’t always easy, and it’s best to do some research first.

diy repair replace woman fix tools

As a rule, self-repair is a good idea for any gadget that has removable parts. For example, you can try a DIY repair using a PC. Some parts of your phone can be repaired too, such as the free button.

But what about more complex issues like replacing a damaged mobile phone display? ? You can do it yourself, but you need to be sure that you won’t damage your phone in the process.

Also, the first time you do a DIY repair, you may have to factor in the cost of the tools. For example, smartphones need special tools to open and repair them.

Don’t be a hero: listen to the experts. Do research on DIY sites to fix something- as always popular iFixit . Find some forums.

Look out prices

Too often, the only factor we consider in these decisions is price. Money is not the only valuable thing here. You need to calculate the cost of other items.

do it yourself repair replace the motherboard

  • Time spent on repairs — you will spend your own time and effort researching whether to repair or replace, figuring out how to repair, and actually repairing the gadget. Don’t ignore it: that’s all the time you can spend elsewhere.
  • Time without a gadget How long will you be without access to this gadget? «Don’t use it» is the same as «wasting it». Calculate your waste.
  • sentimental value It’s not a shame to be attached to an inanimate thing. If it brings back memories or has some sentimental value to you, add it. A gift or legacy is far more valuable than its current market value.

Use the replacement or repair sheet

Jason Maxem, who blogs at The Art of Troubleshooting, has created an extensive worksheet for the question «Replace or Repair?». This is a nine-section guide that will help you evaluate everything and come to a logical decision.

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This is a good idea as it forces you to think rationally. The worksheet will ask for things like your needs and desires, repair estimate, can you repair it yourself, and so on. Print and complete everything.

The last sheet is especially helpful. It compares the various factors that go into any gadget and you can provide your estimates for replacement or repair. It also encourages you to take a look at used or refurbished gadgets. because replacement doesn’t always mean buying something new.

Download the table of replacements or repairs v4.

Which gadget breaks the most?

In your experience, which devices have been the most repairable? Headphones top my list, but I also know people who break their phones every two months.

What is your most broken gadget?

Image Credits: Abraksis/Shutterstock

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